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Chevrolet’s Cruze Hatch blends practicality and style in Detroit

Chevrolet has introduced the practical hatchback version of the second-generation Cruze at the Detroit Auto Show.

The Cruze Hatch rides on the same 106.3-inch wheelbase as the sedan model that was introduced last summer, and the two body styles are almost identical from the tip of the front bumper to the C-pillar. Beyond that, the Hatch gains new-look horizontal tail lamps and a large trunk opening that facilitates the task of loading an unloading bulky items. The hatchback body style allows the Cruze to offer a generous 18.5 cubic feet of trunk space with five occupants on board, and folding the rear seats down yields 42 cubic feet.

The cabin comes standard with the latest generation of Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, a software that’s compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The list of optional features includes lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, a heated steering wheel, and leather-upholstered seats. In other words, the terms “compact” and “well-equipped” aren’t mutually exclusive.

At launch, the Cruze Hatch will exclusively be available with a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder Ecotec engine that delivers 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque thanks to a turbocharger and direct fuel-injection. Front-wheel drive will come standard, but Chevrolet hasn’t revealed if the Hatch will be automatic-only or if a manual transmission will be offered. Similarly, it’s too early to tell whether the Hatch will receive the turbodiesel engine that will be added to the sedan model next year.

Chevrolet explains the Cruze Hatch is one of its best-selling models globally, and it was largely designed for overseas markets. However, executives decided to bring the Hatch to the Bowtie’s U.S. lineup for the first time because the small hatchback segment grew by nine percent last year.

Related: Chevrolet cancels its FR-S-fighting rear-wheel drive coupe

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch will go on sale nationwide in the fall. Buyers will be asked to choose from two trim levels called LT and Premier, respectively, and Chevrolet will also offer a RS package  (pictured) that will add a sportier-looking front fascia with fog lights and a splitter, side skirts, and an air diffuser out back. Pricing information will be published closer to the Hatch’s on-sale date.