The first thing you’ll notice about the new Cruze is the styling. The 2015 model certainly wasn’t a chore to look at, but the new version is larger, more aggressive, more expressive, and simply more attractive than its predecessor.
Chevrolet’s best-selling, globally available passenger car isn’t just improved aesthetically though; it features upgraded tech, new powertrain options, and a lighter chassis that is 27-percent more rigid than the one underpinning the current car.
As part of General Motors’ commitment to connected technology, the 2016 Cruze’s MyLink infotainment suite boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality as standard with the 7-inch touchscreen. However, if you spec up to the 8-inch screen, you’ll have to wait until later in the model year for Android Auto, but CarPlay will still be available at launch. Going further, the four-door equips OnStar 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hotspot as standard, with the power to connect up to seven devices to the Internet.
In the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and other TBA markets, the Cruze will be powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. That’s a significant improvement over the 2015 model’s 1.4-liter, which produces 138 hp and 148 lb-ft. That’s partly due to a brand new block and head for the 2016 model year. In fact, the new engine doesn’t share a single part with the current mill, and it’s 44 pounds lighter as well.
Two transmissions will be available with the new 1.4, a six-speed 6T35 automatic or a six-speed manual. Keeping with the lightweight theme, the Ohio-built 6T35 is 24 lbs lighter than the unit you’ll find in the 2015 car. Add in a leaner frame and the 2016 Cruze has 250 fewer lbs to lug around than its predecessor.
As a result, the Cruze boasts improved fuel economy, returning an estimated 40 mpg on the highway with the automatic. Adding to the car’s economy rating is a fuel-sipping Start/Stop feature, which comes standard with the 6T35 gearbox.
Does the word “flüsterdiesel” mean anything to you? In German, it means “whisperdiesel,” and it happens to be the nickname of the U.S. market Cruze’s new 1.6-liter turbodiesel powerplant. It won’t arrive until sometime in 2017, but Chevrolet says it was designed to be the quietest diesel in the world, period. Additionally, a 1.5-liter Ecotec four-pot with 113 hp and 108 lb-ft is headed for some foreign markets.
As far as safety is concerned, the sedan is loaded with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert, as well as 10 airbags and four-wheel disc brakes as standard. Pricing and package information will be released closer to the on-sale date.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze touches down in the first quarter of 2016.