The Cruze has been sold in the United States since 2010, and in just five short years the compact car has been the best-selling vehicle in the Chevrolet lineup, worldwide. A popular option in the crowded compact car segment, the Cruze has managed to poise itself as a top seller, beating out the toughest competitors year after year. With the new year just around the corner, the bowtie brand is gearing up to send the newly redesigned 2016 Chevy Cruze to dealerships across the nation.

A Glance at the History of the Cruze

The Cruze replaced the Chevrolet Cobalt when it came to the U.S. market back in 2010, a change that the automotive giant would not come to regret. The units of the Chevrolet Cruze that are sold in the United States have been built at the General Motors plant in Ohio since the beginning. The Cruze has always earned top safety ratings by the IIHS and the NHTSA, which helped the car appeal to the masses.

In both 2012 and 2014, the Chevrolet Cruze received minor updates, which included a revised grille and enhanced technology features. The second generation of the Chevy Cruze was announced in June of this year, with plenty of upgrades to safety, efficiency, and overall structure. With the release date of the new Cruze just around the corner, the anticipation surrounding the 2016 Cruze is certainly high.

Lighter, Leaner, Stronger

The newest Cruze model has lost over 250 pounds from the previous model year, helping the compact car compete even more in the fuel efficiency category. Despite this weight loss, the Cruze has actually grown in overall size, giving it a class-exclusive length of 183.7 inches. The longer version of the Cruze means increased legroom for rear passengers, which is always a positive in the compact car segment.

The lowered weight of the 2016 Cruze also gives drivers a more dynamic driving experience, with less drag for increased agility. Chevrolet engineers designed the Cruze to be built out of lighter structural materials, giving it maximum efficiency and at the same time, increased safety.

Optimized Design Structure

Aside from the Cruze being lighter and leaner than in years past, the newest model year of the compact car offers a new design for increased efficiency in wind-tunnel tests. The new design of the Cruze gives it a more masculine, sporty appearance, thanks to its lowered stance and sloping lines.

The front of the second generation Cruze offers a new take on the outdated front fascia. The headlamps sweep back, all the way to the front fenders, giving it a more prominent and upscale presence on the road. Projector beam headlights, LED signature daytime running lamps, and premium forward lighting systems, are now included on the LT and Premier Cruze models. Drivers who crave even more of a sporty appearance, can opt for the RS package, which was also updated for the 2016 model year. Now featuring unique front grilles, revised front and rear fascias, fog lamps, rocker panels, front splitter, rear spoiler, and 18-inch wheels - the RS package will add even more attitude to the Cruze than in past model years.

Revised Interior

All around, the 2016 Cruze has been updated to reflect a more high-end vehicle. General Motors and Chevrolet put a lot of attention in the small details on the new Cruze, and it definitely shows.

The center console has been completely restyled, and now features a repositioned shifter knob, enhanced storage capacity, and more accessible placement of cupholders. A 4.2-inch high resolution driver information center has been added to the Cruze’s gauge cluster, allowing drivers to keep track of important vehicle information at a glance.

Other interior upgrades include enhanced soft-touch surfaces, micro-etched, animal-grained surfacing, premium fabrics, and available premium leather. Drivers can also opt to include heated front cloth seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated leather seating in the rear of the Cruze.

Updated Technology

With all of the enhanced features on the new Cruze, it almost goes without saying that the in-vehicle technology has also been updated. The newest version of the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system is included, and features Apple CarPlay, a seven or eight-inch color touchscreen display, navigation, and hands-free phone capabilities. Drivers are also able to add the optional OnStar with 4G LTE technology complete with a built in Wi-Fi hotspot.

New Standard Engine

The 2016 Cruze has a lot of new design enhancements, and interior amenity changes. While Chevrolet spent a lot of time ensuring that every attention to detail was taken care of, they also took great care to what is under the hood of the new Cruze.

All new for this model year is the standard 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Making 153 horsepower, this powerhouse not only impresses with 177 lb.-ft. of torque, but it also manages to get an estimated 42 miles per gallon on the highway.

The new Cruze offers more power, great efficiency, and increased performance when compared to the outgoing model. Not a bad way to start off a new generation of Chevrolet’s best-selling model.

Cruze Hatchback Variant Announced

General Motors has confirmed that the newest generation of the Cruze will also be available as a hatchback in the United States. This version of the compact car has been offered in other countries for years, and the bowtie brand has decided to bring the popular version stateside. There is no official word on when the 2016 Cruze hatchback will go on sale in the United States, but with the sedan hitting dealer showrooms early next year, it is expected that the hatchback variant will shortly follow.

The 2016 Cruze hatchback will help the compact car stay relevant with other models in its segment, most of which already offer a hatchback style of their vehicle. The announcement of the Cruze hatchback is not entirely a surprise, but certainly will give the Cruze lineup the boost it needs for 2016 sales numbers.