Adding to the many new car presentations made on Wednesday - including the 2016 Camaro Convertible, is another Chevrolet, the 2016 Cruze for North America and other markets.
Larger and lighter than the car it replaces, Chevy's next generation compact sedan also differs notably in appearance from the China market Cruze that was unveiled last year, with its styling influenced by the Impala and Malibu.
I find it better looking and more contemporary than the China-market model, especially in the pictured "RS" trim that adds unique grilles, front and rear fascias, fog lamps, a front splitter, rocker panels, rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels on the Premier model.
The new Cruze rides on GM's new D2 front-drive architecture that adds 0.6 inches (15mm) to the wheelbase at 106.3 inches or 2,700mm, and 2.7 inches (69mm) of overall length at 183.7 inches or 4,666 mm. According to Chevy, the new model offers more rear legroom at 36.1 inches / 917 mm, and 2 inches / 51mm additional rear knee room.
Even though it's a little bit bigger than the model it replaces, curb weight has been lowered by 250 pounds or 113 kg, which is very impressive given the category / size of the car, as well as the fact that GM did not use exotic and expensive materials such as carbon fiber.
“The Cruze’s chassis system is perhaps the most mass-efficient in the segment,” said Ron Arnesen, executive chief engineer. “It is at the core of the car’s dynamic driving character, which is designed to deliver fun with an enhanced feeling of connectivity.”
Up front, the 2016 Cruze features a MacPherson strut suspension, while at the back, there's a torsion beam axle on L, LS and LT models, and an enhanced Z-link design on the new Premier edition. Rack-mounted electric power steering, along with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, with traction control, rollover mitigation and anti-lock brakes are standard on all models. Wheel sizes will range from 15 to 18 inches.
In Canada and the US, the Cruze will be driven by a standard, all-new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 153hp and 177 lb-ft (240 Nm) of torque paired to a standard 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to its low weight, the base Cruze can reach 60mph (96km/h) in 8 seconds. At the same time, GM says it will return an estimated highway fuel economy of 40mpg.
In 2017, Chevy will add an even more frugal diesel engines to the range, with details to be announced closer to launch.
Other highlights include an all-new and standard MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch-diagonal color touchscreen that's compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus an available MyLink radio with an 8-inch display and navigation that incorporates Apple CarPlay.
GM said this version of the Cruze will eventually be offered in more than 40 global markets, but it will first go on sale in North America in early 2016. A hatchback version of the Cruze for the USA is also under consideration, according to recent reports.