One thing this particular writer could not get over is how half-assed the styling of the Cruze has looked for the duration of its existence. Back in 2010, Chevy dropped the curtain on a Cruze hatchback (that was offered as a Europe-only model). We’re pleased to report that the new model looks nothing like that eyesore. The new Cruze and Cruze Hatchback feature styling more in line with the redesigned Chevy volt. It is sharp, angular and pretty attractive.
The Great Migration
For a long time, American automakers sold a completely different portfolio of models in Europe and elsewhere. Those models seemed more refined, and appeared to those watching like some form of automotive forbidden fruit. In recent years, Ford has caved with its One Ford plan, bringing European models here. The Cruze Hatchback was once a Euro-only model, but now we get this more utilitarian version of the very fetching redesigned Cruze.
Growing Size for a Growing Market
Chevrolet was quick to point out that the hatchback market grew nine percent last year. Chevy also says that its market share for hatchbacks grew 3.6 percent, and that 35 percent of Cruze owners are first-time Chevy buyers. This is all to say that Chevy finally has a serious case for a hatchback, and the buyer gets the benefit of a cargo area that is 42 cubic feet large with the rear seat folded. Meanwhile the trunk of the current Cruze sedan has only 15 cubic feet of cargo space.
Despite this growth, the Cruze Hatchback is 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor, and yet is supposedly stiffer than the outgoing model. That should result in a car that feels more solid when driving, and thus feels more downright European. This is a long way for a brand that until 2010 sold the unlovable and potentially hazardous Cobalt.
The Cruze Hatchback comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4, sending power to the front wheels. It makes 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. No word is mentioned of the transmission, but for reference, the previous model offered both 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions. You can expect an automatic, but perhaps the manual will continue to go the way of the Dodo.
High Tech Hatch
The Cruze Hatchback will come equipped with some of the latest in-car infotainment and high tech safety features. It will be available with Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto. It will also have the latest version of Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system. As safety features go, the Cruze Hatchback will be available with lane keeping assist, rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot warning. Chevy claims the Cruze Hatchback has more safety tech than the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.
Pricing and Availability
The Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback will go on sale in fall of this year. Pricing has not yet been divulged, though for reference, a Cruze LT sedan starts at $21,995 and a Premium starts at $23,995. Expect each one of those trims to carry a bit of a premium if you opt for the hatchback model. We should know more when the Cruze Hatchback appears at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show next week.