Chevrolet say that the new model will be offered in more than 40 global markets but will go on sale first in North America in early 2016 with five variants to be offered then – L, LS, LT, Premier, with an optional RS package.
First up, the new car uses General Motors latest D2XX compact car platform which uses about 8% hot-stamped/high-strength steels, contributing to an approximately 27% stiffer body structure and weighs 24kg lighter than the current Cruze. Strategic use of aluminium in the suspension system also helps optimise weight and handling characteristics.
The new platform also adopts a longer wheelbase of 2,700mm, 15mm more than the previous model, allowing for a larger rear legroom of 917mm. Chevrolet say that there is 51mm more rear knee room – more than its competitors, the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. In terms of overall dimensions, the new car measures 4,666mm in length, 1,795mm in width, and 1,458mm in height, 68mm longer and 25mm shorter than the current model.
Powering the new car is a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 153hp @ 5,600 rpm and 240Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, paired to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The engine features direct injection, start/stop technology, and an aluminium cylinder block and head for weight saving. Performance-wise, the Cruze will get from 0-100 km/h in 8 seconds.
Combined, the new turbo engine and leaner platform contribute to weight savings amounting to 113kg.
Moving on to the design, the sleek look is an attribute of the car’s 0.29 drag coefficient. The front fascia reveals slim swept back headlamp units with the LT and Premier models using a more premium lighting setup – projector-beam headlamps and LED daytime lights. Elsewhere, the front bumper’s dual-port grille design rests in between the headlamps and redesigned fog lamps (with chrome surrounds). Wheel sizes range from 15 to 18 inches with four-wheel disc brakes fitted.
The car shown here is the Premier model with the optional RS package that adds on unique grilles, front and rear fascias, fog lamps, front splitter, rocker panels, rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels.
Inside, Chevrolet’s all-new MyLink infotainment system features a seven-inch touchscreen with multiple media inputs. An uplevel MyLink unit with an eight-inch touchscreen and navigation is available as well with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Additional connectivity comes from the OnStar 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Cruze’s safety package includes an impressive 10 air bags with an expanded range of crash-avoidance technologies, including Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert.