The second-generation Chevy Cruze sedan is out. Beginning this fall, a hatchback variant will finally be offered in the US market.
It almost seems like eons have passed since the Chevrolet Cobalt and the earlier Cavalier represented the bow tie brand’s compact offering. Since 2011 it has been all Cruze, a far superior model to any previous small Chevrolet car.
The second-generation Cruze sedan is now in place and should help Chevrolet compete in a market dominated by the Toyota Corolla and Honda’s Civic. Other strong players include the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda 3, and the Hyundai Elantra.
Detroit Auto Show Preview
In a segment with few hatchbacks, the Cruze has fit right in. However, Chevrolet sees market potential and will add a hatchback body style in time for the 2017 model year. That model was unwrapped days ahead of the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Here’s what we know about the Cruze hatchback:
1. From Europe, with love. The Cruze hatchback is not a new body style. Since the Cruze’s introduction the hatchback design has been sold in other markets, particularly in Europe, where it is nearly as popular as the sedan.
2. The sedan and hatchback are the same length between the wheels. Some manufacturers offer hatchbacks and sedans based on differing wheelbase lengths. Typically, the hatchback is shorter, but GM would have none of that. Instead, both body styles sit on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, providing generous rear seat legroom and 47.3 cubic feet of storage capacity when the rear seat is folded.
3. The design differences are subtle. From the front, the sedan and hatchback are alike. From the sides, the hatchback has a more rakish roof line. Each body style has a unique rear fascia.
4. Turbo is standard. One thing Chevrolet won’t do is have the two body styles share complete trim levels. Instead, the hatchback will be available in just two trims when it goes on sale in the fall — LT and Premier. Thus, all models will be powered by a 1.4-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine, the same one used in corresponding sedan versions.
5. Get your tech on. New cars continue to offer the latest technologies and the Cruze hatchback is no exception. The available 4G LTE Wi-Fi will allow for connectivity of up to seven devices. Furthermore, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support will be possible through the hatchback’s Chevrolet MyLink display.
6. And then there is safety. Like the sedan, the Cruze hatchback gets 10 standard airbags, including knee air bags up front. GM’s OnStar technology will also provide automatic notification in the event of an accident. You can also order up lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, and rear park assist. A Teen Driver feature is designed to promote safe driving by novice drivers.
Some Like it Hot
How important is the Chevrolet Cruze to GM? Since it rolled out in 2008, more than 3.5 million of them have been sold. Further, 35 percent of Cruze owners are new to Chevrolet, a product GM says has helped grow Chevrolet’s market share.
As for bringing the Cruze hatchback to the market, timing may be everything. Said Alan Batey, president, General Motors North America and Global Chevrolet.“With 9 percent market growth in small hatchbacks last year, it’s the perfect time to bring the Cruze Hatch to America.” It also corrects a decision made in GM’s pre-bankruptcy days to keep the hatchback out of the market, one that the company realizes was wrong.
If you’re in Detroit during the NAIAS, the Cruze hatchback and other Chevrolet products will be on display throughout out the show’s week-plus long run.
Photos copyright GM Corp.