New Chevy Cruze big­ger, roomier, more pow­er­ful


Five years ago, Gen­eral Mo­tors re­vealed an all-new com­pact car in the U.S. that was de­signed to en­ter a mar­ket that GM ig­nored for decades.

The Chevro­let Cruze ac­com­plished its mis­sion. It helped lead GM out of bank­ruptcy and so­lid­i­fied a place in the global mar­ket, rack­ing up 3.5 mil­lion sales.

But five years is a long time in this busi­ness, and the pedes­tri­an­look­ing Cruze was lapped by com­peti­tors.

En­ter the 2016 Cruze, due in show­rooms next spring. The new one ap­pears to ad­dress the faults of the old one: Noisy, un­der­pow­ered en­gine, cramped back seat even for kids and some­what bland looks.

Chevro­let says the new Cruze is sleeker and more aero­dy­namic look­ing, and longer yet lighter. It’s as many as 250 pounds lighter, although the weight wasn’t re­leased. Gone is an an­cient base en­gine. A stan­dard new tur­bocharged mo­tor is more pow­er­ful, qui­eter and more ef­fi­cient.

“We re­tained all the at­tributes that made the orig­i­nal Cruze a hit around the globe and built on them to make this car more so­phis­ti­cated, more fun,” said Alan Batey, GM’s North Amer­i­can pres­i­dent.

The Cruze comes out in the spring when ga­so­line prices are still pro­jected to be low. That’s putting a hurt on com­pact-car sales at the mo­ment. The seg­ment is down 2 per­cent through May while to­tal auto sales are up 4.5 per­cent. Cruze sales through May are down 12 per­cent com­pared with a year ago. Peo­ple now are choos­ing small and over cars.

Still, GM knows that some­day gas prices will go back up and the mar­ket will shift. And the new Cruze will help the com­pany be ready.

Here are the high­lights of the 2016 ver­sion:

More space so peo­ple can sit com­fort­ably in the back seat. Two inches more of rear knee room. More lux­u­ri­ous, softer fea­tures. Re­designed in­stru­ment panel that

large SUVs Chevy says is lean and mus­cu­lar look­ing. Chevro­let’s MyLink in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is stan­dard with 7-inch touch screen that’s com­pat­i­ble with Ap­ple CarPlay and Google’s An­droid Auto. More in­tu­itive cup holder po­si­tion­ing.

Sleek de­sign with lower wind drag than cur­rent model. Chevy says it re­sem­bles the 2016 Mal­ibu and the 2015 Im­pala. The dis­tance be­tween the wheels is an inch longer than the old model, and the car is 2.7 inches longer. It’s also an inch lower. Lighter high­strength steel and use of alu­minum, plus a lighter en­gine, helped the car shed up to 250 pounds.

Gone is the old 1.8-liter four­cylin­der base en­gine, re­placed by an all-new 153-horse­power 1.4-liter alu­minum-block turbo four. Six-speed man­ual is stan­dard and six-speed au­to­matic is avail­able. Chevy ex­pects a seg­ment-best zero to 60 time of eight sec­onds. Diesel model com­ing in 2017.

GM says the lower weight, stop­start tech­nol­ogy that halts the en­gine at red lights, and a more ef­fi­cient en­gine will get the reg­u­lar Cruze to 40 mpg on the high­way. Old base model got only 35 mpg high­way, but an Eco ver­sion with au­to­matic trans­mis­sion got 39.


Mary Barra, Gen­eral Mo­tors chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, in­tro­duces the 2016 Chevro­let Cruze in Detroit, Wed­nes­day, June 24.

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