The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Grows Up
The Chevrolet Cruze is maturing for 2016. An all-new version set to go on sale early next year is larger, lighter, more efficient and more sophisticated—basically, it’s more of everything.
For decades cars have grown in size with each new generation, adding unwanted weight in the process. The first part is still true—cars keep getting bigger—but not the second part. Even as cars continue to grow in size—the new Cruze is 2.7 inches longer than its predecessor—they are also getting lighter, thanks to advancements in metallurgy and lightweight composites.
That means consumers get more of what they want—such as added space in the backseat and lots of new gadgets, to give just a couple of examples on the new Cruze—without paying the price at the pump; because lighter cars burn less fuel.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze is about 250 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, thanks to the use of high-strength steel, aluminum and other lightweight materials.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze goes on sale in early 2016. (Photo credit: Chevrolet)
The design of the new Cruze is a big departure from the previous model, with more of a wedge shape and lots of details borrowed from the larger Malibu and Impala. But the front and rear styling appear to most resemble a different sedan, the sporty Chevrolet SS. This is evident in the shape of the front grilles and taillights. An optional RS trim package (shown in the photos) gives a more aggressive look.
The exterior aerodynamics benefit from lessons learned with the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. Chevy says aerodynamic efficiency is a big contributor to the new Cruze’s improved fuel efficiency.
An all-new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is lighter, more powerful and more efficient than the previous engine of the same size. A six-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed automatic is optional.
The engine produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, allowing for what Chevy expects to be segment-leading acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds. Highway fuel economy is estimated to be 40 miles per gallon, which Chevrolet says will also be best in the segment—if it holds true.
A four-cylinder diesel engine will be available in 2017. Chevrolet did not give any further details on it.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze looks markedly different from its predecessor. (Photo credit: Chevrolet)
Inside, the cabin is both physically and visually larger—the latter being a function of the flowing interior design, with sweeping lines throughout the dashboard and doors, Chevrolet says. Matte-finished plastic trim and upholstery with contrast stitching look and feel more premium than before.
Upscale features abound. Standard ones include a MyLink seven-inch touchscreen, backup camera and 10 airbags. Options not typically seen in this budget-minded class of vehicle include heated steering wheel and rear seats and OnStar 4G LTE with wifi hotspot.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come with an optional eight-inch touchscreen with navigation. The programs mirror certain smart phone functions on the dashboard touchscreen when the phone is plugged into a USB port in the center console.
Apple CarPlay will be available at launch in early 2016. Android Auto will follow at an unspecified date.
Optional advanced safety features that detect vehicles in blind spots and warn of impending collisions are typically seen only on pricier cars.
Pricing for the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze was not announced but should be close to that of the current model, which starts at $16,995.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze has a more upscale interior that is also larger. (Photo credit: Chevrolet)