The FINANCIAL — Chevrolet on June 25 introduced the all-new 2016 Cruze – a larger and lighter, more efficient and more sophisticated evolution of the brand’s best-selling global car.
Packed with new technologies such as available Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and new active safety features, as well as a more spacious interior and an athletic, aerodynamically optimized design, the 2016 Cruze elevates the compact car segment – from San Francisco to Shanghai and from Boston to Buenos Aires, according to GM.
It will be offered in more than 40 global markets and goes on sale first in North America in early 2016. A new, standard 1.4L turbocharged engine with direct injection and an SAE-certified 153 horsepower (113 kW) helps enable a General Motors-estimated 40 mpg on the highway with the available six-speed automatic transmission. Stop/start technology helps enhance the Cruze’s efficiency in stop-and-go driving.
The new turbo engine and a leaner architecture that reduces up to 250 pounds (113 kg) also contribute to the new Cruze’s stronger performance, with expected 0-60-mph acceleration of eight seconds.
“The 2016 Cruze builds on a very successful program that introduced Chevrolet to new customers the world over,” said Alan Batey, president, General Motors North America. “We retained all the attributes that made the original Cruze a hit around the globe and built on them to make this car more sophisticated, more fun and more Chevrolet.”
Vehicle highlights include:
Next-generation Chevrolet MyLink with smartphone integration capability, including a standard seven-inch-diagonal screen and available eight-inch-diagonal screen (at launch, eight-inch screen only with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto coming later)
New 1.4L turbo engine with direct injection and stop/start technology matched with a standard six-speed manual or available six-speed automatic transmission (North America)
Maximum highway range of 530 miles per tank
All-new, stronger and lighter body structure enhances agility, efficiency and safety – with an approximately 250-pound (113 kg) lower curb weight
Class-leading 106.3-inch (2,700 mm) wheelbase enhances roominess, contributing to greater rear-seat legroom and more rear knee room
Projector headlamps with light-emitting diode (LED) signature lighting – and LED daytime running lamps on uplevel models
More standard features than most competitors’ small cars such as 10 air bags, four-wheel disc brakes, rearview camera and available OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot
New, available features including wireless phone charging, heated rear leather seats and heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel
Available advanced safety features include Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert
New model range for North America including L, LS, LT and Premier – and a more expressive RS package.
“The new Cruze is truly one of Chevrolet’s most global vehicles,” said Batey. “With content variations dictated mostly by local market demands, customers in every corner of the globe will enjoy the same fundamental dynamics that are making Chevrolet one of the fastest-growing brands around the world.”
In 2017, Chevrolet will introduce a new diesel model for U.S. customers that builds on the success of the current Cruze diesel model.
Wind tunnel-optimized design
The 2016 Cruze’s expressive design balances the designers’ inspiration and the efficiency-optimizing input of wind tunnel testing – leveraging the aero experience of vehicles including the Volt. The result is one of the sleekest-looking cars in the class, with a 0.29 coefficient of drag – an attribute that contributes directly to a GM-estimated 40 mpg on the highway.
Proportionally, the new Cruze is 2.7 inches (68 mm) longer and nearly an inch (25 mm) shorter in height than the current model, giving it a longer and leaner appearance. A faster windshield rake and a faster-sloping rear profile lend a sportier look to the design, while the rear profile culminates in a standard integral rear spoiler that contributes to the car’s aero efficiency.
The sleek profile is complemented by detailed, layered line work in the hood and body-side panels, contributing to an overall impression of muscularity – with an athletic stance enhanced by a longer wheelbase.
“With styling influenced by the acclaimed 2014 Impala and all new Malibu, the 2016 Cruze brings Chevrolet’s new, expressive global design language to the small car segment,” said John Cafaro, executive director, Chevrolet Design. “The Cruze’s approach to proportion and premium details adds to Chevrolet’s elevation of craftsmanship, content, quality and a fresh interpretation of an identity that is unmistakably Chevrolet in every market around the world.”
The headlamps sweep back into the front fenders and an expressive, stacked dual-port grille design offers upscale attention to detail. LT and Premier models feature premium forward lighting systems, including projector-beam headlamps and LED signature daytime running lamps.
Additional design details include:
The center-rear stop lamp is mounted at the top of the roof line for a more refined appearance
Seamless rocker panels convey upscale attention to detail and contribute to aerodynamic performance
Polished aluminum, piano black and bright-finished accents provide a more contemporary, upscale aura to the design
The RS package includes unique grilles, front and rear fascias, fog lamps, front splitter, rocker panels, rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels on the Premier model.
Roomier, more-connected passenger space
With greater spaciousness and technology, the 2016 Cruze’s interior is designed to be more comfortable and a better connected environment for the driver and passengers.
The greater spaciousness includes more rear legroom (36.1 inches / 917 mm) and two inches (51 mm) more rear knee room – more than Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. Beyond the quantifiable, there’s greater perceptual spaciousness in the new Cruze, driven by flowing line work in the instrument panel, which blends almost seamlessly with the front door panels.
Like the exterior, the Cruze’s interior – and the instrument panel in particular – feature lean, muscular and layered surfaces built around the Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit theme. It’s a thoroughly modern design that emphasizes human-technology interaction through the prominent, standard MyLink screen in the “center stack.”
A mixture of accents, from piano black and matte black finishes to bright trim, along with more premium features such as available heated rear leather seats and wireless phone charging, complement the cabin with an upscale ambience generally reserved for midsize sedans – but one that is becoming increasingly important to customers around the globe who want premium amenities in smaller vehicles.
Additional interior features and amenities include:
Unique center console design for North America with specific user interface details such as a repositioned shifter, more intuitive positioning of the cup holders and enhanced storage
More soft-touch surfaces and animal-grained, micro-etched surfacing that enhance the premium look and feel of the interior, as well as premium fabrics with French stitching, distinctive for its contrasting stitch colors. Premium leather is available
4.2-inch-diagonal high-resolution driver information center in the gauge cluster
Premium features including heated front cloth seats, heated rear leather-trimmed seats, and heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Through smartphone integration, Cruze’s all-new Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system provides simple and intuitive use of smartphones in the vehicle. It integrates certain phone functions onto the Cruze’s seven-inch-diagonal color touchscreen, allowing them to call up music, navigation apps and more. An uplevel MyLink radio with an eight-inch display and navigation is available and also incorporates Apple CarPlay.
Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features owners want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner. This allows drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay-supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple.com/ios/carplay. Apple CarPlay is compatible with iOS 7.1 or higher.
Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at g.co/androidauto. Android Auto requires a phone running an Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or higher.
Using both applications is simple. A “Projection” icon on the MyLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected, then changes to indicate CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected via USB.
Complementing MyLink to enhance Cruze’s connectivity is available OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
Larger, lighter and more dynamic
An all-new, more rigid and lighter architecture is the 2016 Cruze’s foundation for driving dynamism, while also playing significant roles in safety and efficiency. It is constructed of about 8-percent hot-stamped/high-strength steels, which contributes to an approximately 27-percent stiffer body structure that is also 53 pounds (24 kg) lighter than the current Cruze.
The lighter structure is also larger than the current model, with the new Cruze’s 106.3-inch (2,700 mm) wheelbase stretching nearly an inch longer, while supporting front and rear suspensions with wide tracks (60.8-inch front/61.3-inch rear). Aluminum is used strategically in the suspension systems to optimize weight and handling characteristics.
“The Cruze’s chassis system is perhaps the most mass-efficient in the segment,” said Ron Arnesen, executive chief engineer. “It is at the core of the car’s dynamic driving character, which is designed to deliver fun with an enhanced feeling of connectivity.”
Additionally, the new, more rigid architecture is the primary enabler for exceptional chassis tuning, affording more nimble and direct steering and handling attributes that foster driving confidence through precision. The longer wheelbase and wide front and rear tracks further contribute to a lower, wide “footprint,” which enhances agility and the feeling of control. Additional features include:
A proven MacPherson strut front suspension design with specially tuned bushings and geometry intended to balance handling with comfort
A torsion beam rear axle on L, LS and LT models; and an enhanced Z-link design on Premier. It helps deliver a more balanced driving experience, as the rear suspension better follows the lead of the front suspension
Rack-mounted electric power steering is standard on all models. It enhances efficiency because it removes the conventional power steering pump from the engine’s driven accessories
Four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife longer-life rotors are standard on all models
StabiliTrak electronic stability control, with traction control, rollover mitigation and anti-lock brakes, is standard
Wheel sizes ranging from 15 to 18 inches.
Power-dense, efficient turbocharged powertrain
In North America, the 2016 Cruze is driven by an all-new, standard 1.4L turbocharged engine derived from GM’s new family of small gas engines. It features direct injection, stop/start technology and is matched with a standard six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Stop/start technology helps enhance efficiency in stop-and-go driving.
The new 1.4L turbo is SAE-certified at 153 horsepower (113 kW) and 177 lb-ft of torque (240 Nm). With more torque than the current Cruze’s 1.4L turbo and a lighter architecture, the new turbocharged engine is expected to deliver segment-best 0-60 performance of 8 seconds. That makes the new Cruze quicker than most competitors, while also beating most of them at the gas pump, with a GM-estimated 40 mpg on the highway with automatic transmission.
The 1.4L turbo features an aluminum cylinder block and head, which helps reduce the Cruze’s overall weight to enhance performance and efficiency. Engine efficiency is also enhanced through reduced friction, including low-friction piston rings, a low-friction camshaft drive and a low-friction oil pump.
The start/stop feature automatically shuts down the engine when the car comes to a stop under certain driving conditions, such as a stoplight. The engine automatically restarts when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake.
Advanced safety features
The 2016 Cruze’s safety story begins with the new, stronger body structure that incorporates high-strength steel in key areas to enhance strength and crash protection by helping to prevent intrusion into passenger compartment.
Cruze also returns with a segment-leading 10 standard air bags, including frontal driver and passenger air bags, roof rail-mounted head curtain side air bags that help protect the front and outboard rear seating positions; seat-mounted side-impact air bags (front and rear); and front knee air bags.
Available safety features include an expanded range of crash-avoidance technologies, including Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert.
Additional safety features include:
Front passenger seat occupant sensing system and rollover sensing and protection system
Collapsible pedal assembly to help protect against lower-extremity injuries
Three-point safety belts in all five seating positions, safety belt retractor pretensioners and lap pretensioners in the driver and front-passenger positions, and safety belt load limiters (with pretensioners) in the front safety belt retractors
LATCH child seat latching system in the rear seat
Tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lamps
For the United States, the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze will be built at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant, with locally and globally sourced components. The plant received a $50-million investment in tooling and other enhancements to support the new Cruze’s production.