By Lesley Wimbush, Driving - Any way you look at it, the Cruze has been a success for Chevrolet and General Motors, with over 3.5 million sales, since its 2008 inception. Sold in more than 115 countries around the world, the Cruze has been instrumental in bringing in customers, since 35 per cent of buyers are new to the brand.
"Cruze is the global face of Chevrolet," said Alan Batey, Senior Vice President Global Chevrolet, at the Detroit event.
Unveiled in Detroit today, the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze is larger, yet more streamlined, shedding 250 pounds over the outgoing model. Now 68 millimetres longer in length and 25 mm lower, the Cruze appears longer and leaner. The extra length adds spaciousness to the interior and more rear legroom.
Inside, the Cruze now projects a more thoroughly modern, and sophisticated atmosphere featuring more soft touch surfaces, premium touches like available rear heated seats, wireless phone charging and a 4.2-inch high-res driver information display between the gauges. There's a full suite of safety systems including Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision alert.
Replacing the current 1.8-litre base engine is a new 1.5-litre four-cylinder Ecotec with either a six-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. An all-new 1.4-litre Ecotec turbo-four is also available. Engineered with extensive use of aluminum and low-friction materials, the new engine is extremely lightweight and efficient and shares no common parts with the 1.4L found in the outgoing Cruze.
I's rated at 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, and comes with either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. An automatic start/stop system is also standard. GM predicts that this engine should have a fuel consumption rating of 5.9 L/100 km with the automatic transmission.
A 1.5L diesel engine, nick-named the "Flusterdiesel" (whisper) which is already in use in Europe will also be available. Transmission choices will be the six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
The Cruze will be one of the first Chevrolets to feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (Corvette will be the first). The connectivity features have been adapted to work within Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, not replace it. "It's an 'and', not an 'instead' situation," said Phil Abram, GM Global Connected Consumer's chief infotainment officer.
The Cruze will be able to connect up to seven different devices when equipped with available 4G LTE Wi-Fi.
"The 2016 Cruze has as many features as the Mercedes-Benz C Class at half the price," said GM CEO Mary Barra.
The 2016 Cruze will be offered in more than 40 markets worldwide, beginning with North America. It's scheduled to arrive during the first quarter of 2016, with the diesel models following later that year.