Nov
03
2016

THE CRUZE LEAVES SMILES FOR MILES

Cruze Hatchback

FIVE-DOOR ADDS A SPORTY OPTION TO THE CHEVY FAMILY

By Michael Accardi, AutoGuide.com – In the perpetual renaissance city of Detroit, Chevrolet has introduced a car it hopes will spark a five-door renaissance in North America: the 2017 Cruze Hatchback.

This marks the first time North American shoppers are offered the Cruze in multiple body shapes, and Chevrolet is hoping the hatch’s 47.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, coupled with the brand’s commitment to connectivity, will help introduce the Cruze to a new set of buyers.

The Mexican-made five-door gives the Cruze lineup a functional and sporty-ish choice that the brand hopes will appeal to a more male, more affluent and more urban-centered user base than the sedan.

Further aiding Chevy’s drum for new drivers is the addition of a 1.6-liter diesel engine in 2017, which will be available at multiple price points across the Cruze family in the hopes of courting spurned Volkswagen TDI lovers.

Premier shoppers can go one further and opt for the Driver Confidence II Package, which adds IntelliBeam automatic highbeam control, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist.

The 153-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder carries over from the sedan, as does its 106.3-in wheelbase, the biggest change – besides its new found booty – is an eight-inch shorter overall length, which conspires to change everything.

Inside, the new hatchback posts its most significant gains over the four-door in carrying capacity, dwarfing its sibling by almost double with the seats up, and triple with the seats down.  I was told the sedan and hatch actually share rear doors, as evidenced in the modest headspace gains, but the five-door does add a feeling of airiness along with improved rearward visibility.

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback isn’t a car that will make memories in and of itself, but instead, it’s a tool that Chevy hopes will offer shoppers the freedom to make new memories wherever the road may take them.

No, it’s not a Focus RS, Civic Type R, or even a VW GTI, but that doesn’t mean the 2017 Cruze hatch doesn’t have plenty of smiles-per-miles potential.  It’s just a different type of smile, one that doesn’t come from the visceral thrill of driving, but from the warm and fuzzy memories of a time well had.