Upon the release of Shake It Up, "Cruiser" was singled out for praise. The Bangor Daily News, in an otherwise unenthusiastic review of Shake It Up, cited "Cruiser" as a source of "real excitement".AllMusic reviewer Greg Prato describes the song as "rocking" and a highlight of the album.
In addition to appearing on the album, "Cruiser" was released as the B-side of the single "Shake It Up". "Cruiser" was also included in the 1995 Cars compilation Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology. Prato describes the song as a highlight of the anthology.
Live versions of the song appeared in the VHS release The Cars Live 1984–1985 and the CD/DVD release The Cars Unlocked.