General Motors did the North American unveiling of its new (for America) Chevy Cruze. The General says that the Cruze is a “Popular global car refined for America”. Whether that flies with the U.S. car buying public remains to be seen, but what is known is that the Cruze will supposedly get up to 40 mpg highway, and will also feature a new family of small-displacement engines, including an Ecotec 1.4L 4 cylinder turbo.
\”Cruze is already a hit across Europe and Asia; and now, it\’s coming to America to challenge the status quo,\” said Brent Dewar, GM Vice President, Chevrolet Global brand. Hm, OK Brent, I wonder just what you mean by that? If that means that the Cruze is aimed at the likes of Honda’s Accord and Toyota’s Camry, that’s good, in a way. But you also have to consider where Chevy’s products have been of late (i.e. steadily loosing out to cars like the Accord and Camry).
The fact of the matter is that General Motors should be able to swat away challengers like the Accord and Camry without breaking a sweat, and the fact that they’re not, the fact that they’re struggling to make a car that is even comparable tells you something.
And Chevrolet makes no bones about the fact that they’re going up against Honda and Toyota. See: “The amenities, quietness and roominess you expect in larger cars are what the Cruze delivers. This is a car that will shake up the compact segment, with a more spacious interior and more cargo room than the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla,” said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet product marketing manager.
So, really? What does the Cruze bring to the table?
For starters, the Cruze will come in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ. The list of goodies include such niceties as that new family four-bangers. There will also be six-speed automatic and manual transmissions, ten standard air bags, including frontal, side-impact, roof rail head curtain, rear seat side air bags and new knee air bags. There’s also electronic stability control with rollover sensing for the clumsy yet safety minded buyers out there. It’s got Bluetooth, USB connectivity and navigation system as well as XM Satellite Radio and OnStar.
The chassis has a rack-mounted electric power steering system, MacPherson strut front suspension and Watts Z-link rear suspension, and a choice of 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels. There’s also the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes.
Chevy says that irregardless of trim level chosen, all models are “characterized by premium materials and a lengthy roster of unexpected equipment, including leading infotainment.”
“There\’s a lot of content in all Cruze models; it was designed to give customers the features they want regardless of the car\’s size or segment. At a very competitive price, you\’ll be able to get a Cruze with leather and heated front seats, 16-inch aluminum wheels, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, Bluetooth, a USB port for your iPod, cruise control, power locks and power outside mirrors,” said Ms. Brooks.
No word on pricing and such, but it’s going to have to come in under what Honda & Toyota are offering, for a start, if it’s even going have a ghost of a chance.