Following on the heels of persistent rumors and speculation, Chevrolet has finally revealed the 2017 Cruze Hatchback which will be offered in the U.S. market for the first time ever.
Prior to this announcement Chevrolet kept the hatchback a Europe only model with the brand citing sales as the main reason, before admitting it was “a pre-bankruptcy planning mistake” according to GM’s Mark Reuss in a separate statement. A slight uptick in hatchback sales last year in this country also helped GM green light the idea, and put the hatchback head to head with the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf in a growing part of the compact car segment.
The car retains much of the sharper styling cues that made their original debut on the sedan, but the transformation into a hatchback has added new levels of versatility and style. This is apparent when it comes to hauling cargo with the hatchback boasting 42 cubic feet of space which is on par with many of its rivals. In addition, the hatchback will also offer a whole host of standard equipment including Apple CarPlay and Android MyAuto with both being operated through Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system.
While the sedan is available in four different trim levels (L, LS, LT, and Premier) the hatchback simplifies things, and is only available in LT and Premier trims. Buyers can add a bit of performance inspired styling to either trim level with the optional RS styling package. Performance hardware is shared with the sedan, which means that the familiar 1.4 liter turbocharged four cylinder and it’s 153 horsepower will be present and accounted for. Chevrolet did not reveal what transmission choices will be available, but look for both trims to feature the six speed automatic transmission as the sole choice with no manual option in the cards.
Pricing information was not revealed, but look for the hatchback to not stray too far away from the sedan when it comes to the cost of admission. A new Cruze LT sedan begins at $21,995 while the Premier begins at $23,995 so look for the hatchback version to only offer a slight premium in its MSRP price with its LT and Premier models.
Lastly the hatchback could eventually allow Chevrolet to address the other key complaint that has dogged the Cruze since it’s initial debut, the lack of a dedicated performance model. That particular role was filled by the old Cobalt SS which initially arrived with a supercharger, and later embraced a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder engine during its last few years in production. When the previous generation Cruze appeared, Chevrolet chose to not pursue young enthusiasts with a successor, and instead opted for a performance oriented version of its upscale cousin the Buick Verano Turbo.
The Cruze Hatchback SS (if such a project is in the works) would go head to head with the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Si, and the Volkswagen GTI. Power could come from the same 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that powers entry level Camaro models, a logical choice since the platform was capable of supporting the old 250 horsepower 2.0 liter LHU engine. The engine’s 272 horsepower figure (if retained) would also allow the car to vault ahead of the Focus ST and the GTI while also bringing it within striking distance of the iconic Subaru Impreza WRX. It will be interesting to see whether GM is considering this move, and we look forward to perhaps learning more when we begin our live coverage of the 2016 North American International Auto Show next week.