Chevy Announces Hatchback Version of Cruze
We’ve got some good news for those who have been hoping for a Chevrolet Cruze hatchback to hit American soil. John Stapleton, the General Motors North America Chief Financial Officer, took the stage at the Citi 2015 Industrials Conference in Boston recently, and he confirmed to investors that the vehicle will soon be in development (although the release date and model year have yet to be determined).
This is a big development for the hatchback market, where the Cruze will join a variety of already-available and soon-to-be-available cars. Of course, considering the success of the Cruze, we should expect Chevy’s newest creation to jump to the top of the class. Before you head out to your local Chevy dealer in Lexington, Kentucky, see why you may want to hold off on making a purchase…
As Melissa Burden of The Detroit News writes, the automaker had originally revealed a concept for a 2016 Chevy Cruze sedan back in June. The “larger and lighter” vehicle is expected to deliver 40 miles per gallon on the highway, and it should be available for the start of 2016. There’s no reports regarding an exact release date for the hatchback, but Burden wonders if it may follow the release of the sedan. Regardless, the company has already made progress on the vehicle, as previous reports suggested that dealers were shown the hatchback during a June meeting in Las Vegas.
Of course, by progress, we mean that Chevrolet and General Motors has been busy orienting their vehicle towards the American market. The vehicle has already seen plenty of success overseas, as the hatchback has been sold in both Europe and China. Mark Reuss, General Motors’ product chief, previously told AutoNews.com that the lack of a Cruze hatchback on the United States market was a “pre-bankruptcy planning mistake.”
“We are excited about the introduction of the all-new 2016 Cruze and what it will offer customers,” a Chevrolet spokeswoman said (via Burden). “The hatch variant helped make the Cruze Chevrolet’s best-selling car globally and that body style will continue to be offered in various markets. However, we are not confirming markets, timing or content at this time.”
There are whispers that Chevy could be looking to add a five-door model Cruze to the United States market in an attempt to compete with rival companies. If we’re looking for specifics, the brand may be eyeing Honda, which recently announced that they’d be releasing their own hatchback version of the Honda Civic. The Civic sedan will launch in the new few months, but it’s also uncertain when the hatchback will hit dealer lots. Furthermore, the brand could be looking at Ford Motor Company, where the Ford Focus hatchback accounts for 40-percent of the nameplate’s sales. As Burden points out, other potential competitors are the Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Golf and Mazda3.
Jens Meiners of CarAndDriver.com also suggests that Chevy could be wanting to add a hatchback due to the desire to have a bigger, more flexible, and stylish vehicle. In reviewing the European version, the writer noted how family friendly the vehicle was, noting the vehicle’s (surprisingly) roomy interior. Meiners also appreciated the quiet and “unobtrusive” motor noise, making “long journeys” that much more enjoyable. Finally, the writer was impressed with the styling of the hatchback, noting that the designers have added “tension to an attractive but somewhat conservative design.”
While all of these car brands look to add hatchbacks to their line of cars, the segment has generally been declining in sales over the past few years. Tom Libby, the manager of loyalty solutions and industry analysis at HIS Automotive, told Burden that hatchbacks accounted for 5.2-percent of retail sales in the past year. However, “the hatchback percentage in the U.S. has fallen each year since 2012.” Reversely, Libby anticipates the percentage to climb to 5.8-percent by 2018 (he also anticipates the Cruze hatchback to hit the United States market by 2017).
“The success of the crossover is affecting all other body types except for pickups,” Libby said, noting that Chevy’s desire to add the segment is an acknowledgement that production of a Cruze is “partially in response to the success of the Focus.”
The foreign hatchback was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 2010, and sales began in 2011. The standard European Cruze Hatchback offers a LS four-cylinder 1.4-liter engine with front-wheel drive, a five-speed manual transmission, McPherson Strut/Compound Crank Axles, and a multi-point fuel injection system. The vehicle can deliver an estimated 98 horsepower, 95 ft-lbs of torque, 52.3 mile per gallon combined fuel efficiency, and it has an estimated 0-60 time of 14.1 seconds. The vehicle rides on 16-inch steel wheels.
The vehicle is available in ten different colors (including Summit White, Blue Sapphire, Carbon Flash Black, Deep Espresso Brown, Ice Silver, Mars Stone, Mystic Moonlight Blue, Satin Steel Grey, Smokey Grey, and Velvet Red), and it’s accented by a black grille. Chevy has also included bi-functional halogen headlamps and tinted glass.
Head to the inside of the hatchback, and you’ll find multiple 12-volt power sockets, a trip computer, a roomy storage box, and a leather-wrapped gear knob and steering wheel. Among the safety features are an anti-lock braking system, an electronic stability control, rear parking sensors, a tire pressure monitoring system, and an innovative ISOFIX child seat restraint system.
The Chevy Cruze hit the market in 2009, but the nameplate had previously been used in Japan for a Suzuki-Chevy subcompact hatchback. In the United States, the Cruze replaced the Chevy Cobalt and the Daewoo Lacetti, and the brand was counting on the vehicle to help turn around sales. The inexpensive (albeit, innovative) vehicle was an immediate hit in America and around the world.
The nameplate has been commended for it’s safety features, receiving a score of 35.04 points out of 37 from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program in 2009. The vehicle also received high scores in China, Europe, and South Korea. In the United States, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rewarded the vehicle the highest possible score in front, side, rear and rollover crash protection tests, and it was also deemed a ‘Top Safety Pick.’
The second generation Cruze has been in the works since 2013, but the launch has been delayed multiple times. Expected to be released for the 2016 model year, the vehicle will feature an updated split grille and a more powerful, muscle-car-inspired look. The size of the vehicle isn’t expected to change, but Chevy is rumored to be eyeing the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, as well as a dual-clutch transmission. The brand has also been equipping their vehicles with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and we should expect to see their future vehicles feature these capabilities.
As we mentioned, you’ll have to wait some time for the Cruze hatchback to hit your local Chevy lot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t anticipate the release. If you’ve been awaiting such a vehicle, this could be the vehicle for you!
In the meantime, visit Dan Cummins Chevrolet in Paris, Kentucky. Even if you’re not seeking a hatchback, you’ll find a variety of vehicles that will fit your needs! Head in there today, and you could be driving off the lot in a new car in no time!