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Chevrolet Unveils 2016 Cruze

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On: Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 8:35AM | By: Carl Malek


Chevrolet Unveils 2016 Cruze

With the current generation Chevrolet Cruze currently being overshadowed by recent unveilings by Honda and Toyota, Chevrolet has pulled the veil off the redesigned 2016 Cruze. The aim of the redesign is to inject some much needed style to the model while retaining many of the virtues that made it a smash hit with customers when it first came out.

The exterior styling of the 2016 Cruze has been revamped and will be the first thing that many curious eyes will notice at first glance. Taking much of its basic shape from the TRU 140S concept, the new Cruze ditches the current model's rather bland profile in lieu of a sleeker coupe-ish setup that aims to draw in young buyers, especially budget-minded enthusiasts looking for something stylish and distinctive. In addition to the TRU's influence, the design borrows select elements from some of Chevrolet's other models including the Impala and Malibu sedans. Chevrolet claims that the enhanced styling did not affect its aerodynamic profile with the new Cruze, that it actually boasts better aero-characteristics than the model it replaces. The new model now carries a drag coefficient of 0.29 which was partially achieved with some of the wind tunnel testing techniques that were used in the design of the Chevrolet Volt.

In addition to its improved styling, the car is bigger than before with the wheelbase being stretched 2.7 extra inches while overall height has decreased by an inch. Unlike other cars in the marketplace, despite the lowered roof height and rakish profile the interior dimensions of the car have actually been expanded with more rear leg room than before, as well as two extra inches of rear knee room which should please rear seat passengers. The interior also boasts the same "dual cockpit" theme that sees duty in the Corvette and Camaro, and overall is much more aggressive and sensibly designed than before. Buyers can choose from a wide range of interior trims and accent pieces ranging from piano black plastic to brighter trim elements. As a bonus, higher trims allow buyers to equip the car with wireless phone charging technology as well as heated rear seats—the latter feature is just beginning to trickle its way into this segment, thanks to the Hyundai Elantra.

Performance for the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze comes from an all new 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes equipped with direct injection technology which plays a key role in the car achieving its 40mpg rating. Stop/start technology will come standard on the Cruze, but Chevrolet did not release the car's city rating; it will be interesting to see if the technology will help that particular rating increase or not. While the engine is geared more for fuel economy versus outright performance, it is still capable of generating 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. This engine will also be joined by a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes a still commendable 113 horsepower, and comes with a five-speed manual gearbox, though expect this transmission to be primarily used in international markets, especially in developing countries. Despite its increased dimensions, the 2016 Cruze is actually 250 lbs lighter than before which allows the car to make the sprint to 60mph in a relatively brisk 8.0 seconds flat. In a curious move, the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel variant will be kept alive for this iteration, but it will switch to a smaller 1.6-liter diesel engine capable of running on various B20 biodiesel blends, though it is unclear whether this will be enough to improve the variant's rather dismal sales performance. Like its predecessor, Chevrolet hopes that the diesel version will allow them to claw away at the sizable sales share held by the Germans in this segment, especially Volkswagen.

The 2016 Cruze will be built in GM's Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant and the first units will arrive at dealerships early next year. It is currently unknown if Chevrolet will correct a key flaw of the current generation by offering an SS version of the 2016 Cruze. It certainly has the styling credentials for such a model, and the SS would be a formidable contender to the GTI, as well as the Honda Civic Si.

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