Chevrolet already has a four-door saloon version of the Cruze, but in Europe hatchbacks are where the real demand is, so it should not come as a surprise that a five-door hatch version of the Cruze is headed for British shores.
There’s the same coupe-like profile that most hatchbacks now boast, but the Cruze version also features the same bold styling cues as the saloon; it’s recognisably a Chevrolet and presents a chunky, aggressive profile that appears slightly higher than standard hatches; as if the Cruze is going towards the crossover side of the market slightly.
There are five doors so access and practicality are high; a sizeable boot with over 400 litres of space extends to a cavernous load space with the rear seats – which split and fold 60:40 – folded down.
In the back there’s good space for three people – Chevy says the head, leg and shoulder room is among the best in class – and the room upfront is excellent. The Cruze seems to sit slightly higher than many other hatches so forward visibility is excellent too.
The interior shows a significant rise in quality in the Chevrolet range, with the Cruze up with any other volume hatchback. There’s a dual cockpit design that cocoons the inhabitants, while iceblue ambient lighting lends a classy aspect.
The Cruze hatch doesn’t skimp on tech either, with parking sensors, built-in satnav, gear shift indicator and a good stereo system all available.
Along with six airbags there’s plenty of active and passive safety aids too, including six standard airbags, ABS, traction control and Electronic Stability Control.
In terms of powertrains, there are two petrol engines and one turbodiesel engine. 123bhp 1.6 and 140bhp 1.8-litre petrols have enough power to make them a good fit in the Cruze, while returning good fuel economies of 42mpg or over. They are available with either 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
Those looking for more response will enjoy the smooth power and torque of the 160bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is available with a slick autobox or via a six-speed manual box, and still returns an impressive 50.4mpg combined fuel economy.
The Cruze makes good use of the power too, with balanced steering and a very comfortable ride.
Handling is predictable and nimble in the corners and every inch the equal of more established competitors such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
The Chevrolet Cruze hatch starts at £13,995, so there’s a significant price advantage over most competitors on the market.
The trick the Cruze hatch pulls, however, is to offer all the presence, driveability, interior space and comfort that more expensive models do too. It’s a winning combination.
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