Chevrolet Cruze Trying To Become A Hot Hatch

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images) /

The new Chevrolet Cruze is trying to catch the Ford Focus and become a popular hot hatch.

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is a stylish hatchback that is working hard to find its place. While the “hot hatch” is gaining popularity here in the United States, it is extremely popular in Europe. Chevy has been hesitant in bringing the hatchback Cruze here in the USA.

Ford has set the benchmark for the performance hatchback that most are compared to. The Focus has large following and an ever-expanding aftermarket product line that has driven its popularity. Ford itself has given us several factory performance packages that have made the Focus a must have for a younger generation.

Now Chevrolet brings us the Cruze hatch to try and eat into that market. Unfortunately, they forgot to bring over what would actually make the Chevrolet Cruze popular here. Without a true performance variant or an aftermarket supplier, it is a hollow opponent.

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There is an RS version of the Cruze, but it only consists of wheels and trim. There is not an upgraded engine or braking package to go with it. The 1.4L turbocharged engine puts out a mild 153hp. Chevy needs to offer a high output, small displacement option. It is almost an insult putting the RS badge on the car without a true engine upgrade. As of now, there are not many quality aftermarket upgrades either. Chevy does offer one suspension upgrade, but it lacks a grabbing the road performance feel.

It is really a shame that the lines of the Cruze are being wasted. It is a visibly attractive car. The stylish lines are screaming for 200+ horsepower and a mountain road. When I first saw the pictures of the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze, I was genuinely excited about the possibilities. The lack of options for consumers has killed all the good feelings.

The interior of the Cruze is nice but does not stand out. For a hatchback, there is a lack of room in the rear. It seems that Chevrolet is building this car for families with a price point of $22,000-$25,000. That group is looking for the storage space in the car, why would they skimp there?

I really wonder how much interest Chevrolet has in the success of the Cruze. With the new EPA fleet fuel mileage rules, the Cruze’s 40mpg is a huge plus. It also could be that Chevrolet, with several of its new offerings, is trying to shape itself as a fuel economy brand. There is nothing wrong with that, but that market for a fuel efficient hatchback is very crowded.

Hopefully, in the future, we get a true RS version of the Chevrolet Cruze. Until then I am disappointed in what the Cruze has to offer. It has the looks of a hot hatch, but not the power or handling. Then again, it is priced as a family hatchback, yet is lacking room and visibility. The Cruze is a model without focus. Until Chevy better defines the Cruze, the Ford Focus is a much better option.