Chevy has long been known for its workhorse trucks, but it may surprise some to know that its top seller globally is actually a compact sedan with an unassuming profile.
The Chevrolet Cruze was introduced less than a decade ago, but it has quickly risen in the ranks, taking the number two spot for sales in the company last year and leading sales globally.
Now the bowtie brand is making waves with the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, the first model of the second generation. Chevy introduced the second generation of the Cruze in China last year, but this model marks the official start of the second generation in the United States.
The 2016 Cruze has received many exciting updates, including an exterior transformation, a lighter body for more agile handling, and a lot more tech features for a more enjoyable ride.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze is a grown up and more stylish version of the previous model. The boxy angles are replaced by sleek, aerodynamic lines, and grooves are drawn through the body panels and the front and rear ends for interesting accents.
The front end has been updated with new sculpting. Squinting head lights are positioned over small, daytime running lights and flank a dual-tiered grille. At the rear, a spoiler is mounted over the dual-binnacle tail lights.
The new Cruze is built on the D2XX platform, which provides a little more than a half inch additional room at the wheel base and nearly 3 inches of extra length. The effect the additional room has is subtle, but it improves the overall design as well as offers a bit more room inside.
The sedan will be offered as a four door, but there is a possibility that a hatchback will also be offered as an option.
Overall, the new Cruze is a real head turner with a more muscular look. It breaks out of the typical compact mode, which usually focuses on utility over style. With the Cruze, you can have both.
You may not want to climb mountains in your sedan, but you'll still want a powerful engine to provide a quick response when you're driving around town. You don't want to feel the car struggling to get off the line when the light turns red or you're trying to pass someone.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze comes with a new turbocharged engine that will move you effortlessly through a variety of driving situations. The 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine puts out 153 horsepower and 177 pounds per feet of torque.
That's an improvement over the previous 1.80liter engine that had only 138 horsepower and 148 pounds per feet of torque.
Thanks to the more powerful engine and the lighter curb weight (the Cruze has dropped at least 250 pounds even with the larger platform), the car can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 8 seconds. That's a full second faster than the previous model.
The improvements to the engine and the reduced body weight have also improved the fuel efficiency. The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze gets 40 mpg on the highway and goes 530 miles on a single tank. You don't even have to choose premium fuel to get those stats. Plain old unleaded will do.
A diesel model will also be available, but details have not yet been released.
Transmission options include a six-speed automatic, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and a six-speed manual. The EcoTec aluminum engine is 44 pounds lighter than the old iron-block engine, and the transmission options are 24 pounds lighter. The weight loss contributes to the fuel economy and agile performance.
The automatic transmission options also include technology that shuts down the engine at stops to improve fuel efficiency.
The interior also gets a facelift like the exterior, and it is upgraded with many new technology features that make driving a dream.
Bucket front seats are upholstered in premium cloth, and both are height adjustable. The rear seats can be folded for additional cargo room, and they are ventilated for comfort. The rear seats also have an extra two inches of legroom for a more comfortable ride.
The well-designed center stack features a 7-inch touch screen for the MyLink system, which features a number of infotainment controls. One of the most exciting additions to the system is that it is now compatible with Apple Car Play and Android Auto apps.
The system also features turn-by-turn navigation, hands-free calling options, concierge service, roadside assistance, and satellite radio. WiFi allows you to turn the station into a mobile hotspot, as well.
The audio system features auxiliary ports and USB connections to connect to your smart phone or other personal devices. There are six speakers for great sound while you're driving.
Other interior features include a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, audio controls on the steering wheel, remote trunk release, front reading lights, and more. Plenty of optional features are available, as well, such as heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and wireless phone charging.
Safety features include forward-collision warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, an engine immobilizer, dusk-sensing head lights, stability and traction control, and stolen vehicle tracking and assistance.
Crash test ratings are not yet available for the new Cruze, but we expect that it will receive top marks thanks to the new safety features and the performance of previous models.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze is expected to arrive at dealerships near the end of the year -- possibly in November. Pricing details have yet to be released, but industry insiders expect the base model to start around $17,000 like previous models.
Five trim levels will be available for the new Cruze, including a sport package. Models in the higher trim levels are expect to price in the mid-$20,000s.
Whatever trim level you choose, the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze will be an affordable vehicle that offers gorgeous styling and a sporty ride.