DETROIT, MI – General Motors CEO, Mary Barra revealed the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze to the world's automotive media tonight at Detroit's legendary Fillmore Theatre, following a day-long deep-dive into the brand's technology, design and commitment to connectivity.
The Cruze highlights Chevrolet's accomplishments in all those areas. It's longer, lower and lighter, as well as better performing, more efficient and more connected than its predecessor – and many of its competitors.
In 2014, the Cruze was Canada's fifth-best selling car, behind the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda3 but ahead of the Volkswagen Jetta and Ford Focus. It's the third-best selling compact in the U.S. behind the Corolla and Civic.
But on a world-wide basis, it's Chevrolet's best-selling model with more than 3.5-million sold, so it's a very important car. And GM is treating it as such.
All-new architecture and powertrain
The second-generation Cruze is built on an all-new architecture and it introduces an all-new line of small Ecotec engines in North America. The standard powerplant is a turbocharged and direct injected 1.4-litre four-cylinder with a power output of 153 horsepower – up 11% from that of its predecessor. Its torque output of 177 lb-ft is 20% greater than that of the current 1.4-litre turbo.
The new 1.4-litre turbo is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or optionally with a new Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic, which is smaller and lighter but just as strong as the larger version it replaces.
A new, 1.6-litre clean diesel engine, already proven in Europe and other global markets, will also be offered in North America but not until 2017.
The new 1.4 turbo's performance, combined with a mass reduction of more than 110 kg and an aerodynamic drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.29, which GM says is best-in-class, supports an estimated fuel consumption of just 5.9 L/100 km on the highway. It also enables acceleration from 0-to-97 km/h (60 mph) in about eight seconds.
Also key to the Cruze's overall efficiency is a standard start/stop feature that automatically shuts down the engine when the car comes to a stop under certain driving conditions, such as a stoplight. The engine automatically restarts when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake.
Chevrolet DNA with its own interpretation
One look at the new Cruze and it couldn't be mistaken for anything but a Chevrolet. It is clearly derived from the same design DNA as the recently revealed Chevrolet Malibu and Volt sedans as well as the more distantly related Spark, Bolt and Camaro.
While the DNA is common, however, it is interpreted in different ways so each model has a look of its own and an argument can be made that the Cruze may be the most attractive of the lot.
More than 300 wind tunnel tests were said to be a big factor in making the Cruze one of the sleekest cars in the class, in both appearance and reality,
Dimensionally, it is 68 mm longer and nearly 25 mm lower than the current model, with a 15 mm stretch in wheelbase, giving it a longer and leaner appearance that is emphasized by a faster windshield rake and a faster-sloping rear profile. The rear profile culminates in a standard integral rear spoiler that also adds to the car’s aero efficiency.
LT and Premier models feature premium forward lighting systems, including projector-beam headlamps and LED signature daytime running lamps.
Roomier, more-connected passenger space
Inside, the new Cruze is roomier, especially in the rear seat, which includes more rear legroom and 51 mm more rear knee room –giving it an advantage over its Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra competitors.
There’s also more visual spaciousness, emanating from a flowing instrument panel that blends near-seamlessly into the front door panels.
The instrument panel emphasizes human-technology interactions through the prominent, standard MyLink screen in the “centre stack” and details such as compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and wireless phone charging.
Heated cloth seats are standard in Canada and premium features available include heated rear leather seats and wireless phone charging.
Cruze’s all-new Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system is said to provide simple and intuitive use of smartphones in the vehicle. It integrates certain phone functions onto the Cruze’s 7-inch-diagonal colour touchscreen, allowing them to call up music, navigation apps and more via compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more.
Each system builds off select features smartphone users rely on most, with many controlled via voice commands accessible through a button on the steering wheel.
Complementing MyLink, to enhance Cruze’s connectivity, is available OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
The 2016 Cruze will continue to be built at Lordstown, Ohio and it is scheduled to go on sale early in 2016. Although Chevrolet will not confirm the rumour, some dealers who have seen the product plans suggest a hatchback is also scheduled to be added to the lineup – a move likely to be welcomed in Canada if it happens.