New Chevrolet Cruze hatchback revealed

Chevrolet has released images and details of its new 5-door hatchback as it continues its push to provide value for money alternatives to mainstream manufacturers such as Ford and Vauxhall.

Following the success of the Spark city car – which was designed using a more aggressive styling than ‘cute’ rivals – the hatchback version of the Cruze has been designed specifically with hatch-loving European buyers in mind.

The hatchback version, based on Chevrolet’s World Touring Car Championship-leading model driven by racing legend Jason Plato, will join the 2009 Chevrolet Cruze saloon in the range.

The Cruze hatchback is similarly styled to the saloon but offers a lower, more coupe-like roofline, and of course that hatch at the rear, revealing 400 litres of boot space and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

Build quality and safety have been targeted in the Cruze, which was awarded a top five-star EuroNCAP safety rating earlier this year.

Chevrolet has targeted the compact hatchback European market after similar forays into the city car and compact saloon segments with the Spark and Cruze saloon respectively.

The product offensive will continue with the first European Chevrolet MPV, the Orlando and an all-new Aveo family car next year.

The GM-owned brand re-entered the UK market in 2003 and since then has grown to take a one per cent market share in 2010.

Chevrolet has stated its desire to build affordable cars to compete in the competitive mainstream markets in Europe, but also has plans to release the more niche Camaro muscle car and Corvette into the UK as early as next year.

Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback, which will be on show at the Paris Motor Show from 30 September, will arrive in UK showrooms in 2011.

Prices and specification levels have not been released by Chevrolet, but the brand has promised more details will be made available closer to launch.