Johannesburg International Motor Show Chevrolet Cruze

  • Compact sedan with ‘four-door coupé styling
  • Upscale design and quality within a high value package
  • Launch of new design language for Chevrolet

The all-new Chevrolet Cruze raises the bar for exciting design and build quality among value products in the compact car segment. Fresh from its world debut at the 2008 Paris Show, the Cruze, as shown at the Johannesburg International Motor Show, provides an insight for South African motorists as to the direction in which Cherolet is moving with its future products.

Chevrolet Cruze

Its dynamic, four-door coupé-like looks bring a new dimension to traditional, three-box sedan design. With its signature grille, concave shoulder line and ‘dual cockpit’ interior design theme, the Cruze features Chevrolet’s new global design language that is becoming a signature on all new products carrying the gold bowtie.

The Cruze is the result of a development process that harnessed GM’s global resources to focus on setting new design and quality benchmarks for value products in the compact segment. “Our goal was to be revolutionary, not evolutionary,” says Chief Designer Taewan Kim. “We wanted to take a big step forward, making a completely new design statement for Chevrolet products around the world.”

Chevrolet Cruze 2008

Dynamic Appeal

The arching roofline, extending from the steeply raked windshield into the sloping rear pillars, is a stand-out exterior design feature. It visually stretches the Cruze’s glass area, bringing a four-door coupé-like look to this segment for the first time.

A distinctive concave shoulder line that flows uninterrupted from the headlamps into the rear lights is set to become a signature Chevy design cue, together with the dual-port grille split by a body-colored crossbar bearing the gold bowtie.

Wide and long, the Cruze has a purposeful, well-planted stance with its wheels located at the outer edges of the tautly drawn bodywork. Noticeably tight panel fits and shut-lines, together with a restrained use of exterior trim, add to the ‘hewn from solid’ look, bringing premium class design quality to the value segment of the market.

The bold headlamp housings wrap around the front corners and sweep up, arrow-like, into the fenders, enhancing the Cruze’s dynamic appeal. The clear polycarbonate outer lenses accommodate ‘jewel effect’ light detailing. The twin halogen bulbs are deep set within their bright finished pods, accentuated by a piano black bezel above and beneath. This dual-bezel design also adds an upscale appearance uncommon in the segment.

The hood is heavily sculpted along its sides to integrate with the swept headlamps and the rising concave shoulder line. This strong feature continues along the length of the car before melding into the flush-mounted, wraparound rear light units and deck line. The trunk lid features an integrated spoiler sculpted into its rear edge.

The clean streamlined appearance of the Cruze is appealing to the eye and aerodynamically efficient. The styling provides a highly competitive cd of 0.31 for an easy passage through the air and reduced fuel consumption.

High Quality Interior

The interior of the Cruze draws on a distinctive Chevy styling cue – the signature ‘twin cockpit’ layout of the Corvette. The lower fascia panels, color-matched with the front seat inserts, branch out symmetrically either side from the centre console, bringing driver and passenger closer to a ‘shared’ driving experience.

Interior finishes are of the highest quality. This is reflected in the application of grained surfaces, soft-touch materials and low gloss trim panels. These all contribute to a cabin quality and ambience that echo the clean, harmonious design of the exterior. For example, the integrated centre console, housing infotainment and air conditioning displays and controls, eliminates traditional ‘picture framing’, combining them in a clean and modern presentation.

Three-dimensional math modelling was used in the design of the main instrument cluster. The analogue speedometer, tachometer, and fuel/temperature gauges have LED backlighting for clear, crisp illumination in white and ice blue.

The roomy cabin can comfortably accommodate five adults. It offers rear passengers exceptional space, with more leg, head and shoulder room than usually found in this class.

The extensive infotainment choice includes a DVD-based satellite navigation system offering voice recognition and a 7-inch map display, a segment ‘first’ for Chevrolet. The audio system offers inputs to play music stored on an MP3, iPod or memory stick. A hard disk drive for permanent onboard storage of music is offered on high specification models, making the Cruze one of its first vehicles in its market segment to make use of this technology.

Strength in Depth

The Cruze’s breakthrough design appeal is, of course, more than skin deep. Its architectural components were co-operatively engineered at GM facilities in Germany, the United States, Australia and Korea. “In key areas, such as the body structure, suspension, safety and electrical systems, we have drawn on GM ‘best practices’ around the world,” says Peter Mertens, Global Vehicle Line Executive for compact cars. “It’s an all-new vehicle that has been globally developed for a global market.”

Under its hood, the Cruze offers an equally impressive powertrain line-up, which includes an all-new automatic transmission, Chevrolet’s first six-speed application in the value segment, in addition to five-speed manual gearboxes. Both 16-valve, 1.6-liter (82 kW) and 1.8-liter (103 kW) petrol engines feature variable valve timing (VVT) on both inlet and exhaust sides, giving more power as well as lower fuel consumption and emissions. Respectively, these engines deliver zero to 100 km/h acceleration in 12.4 and 9.8 seconds, with combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.7 and 6.8 l/100 km.

A new 2.0-liter turbo diesel, developing 110 kW and 320 Nm of torque from 2,000 rpm, adds power with even greater frugality. It features common-rail, direct and multiple fuel injection with variable geometry turbocharging. The result is strong performance (zero to 100 km/h in 9.4 seconds) with fuel consumption over the combined cycle of just 5.8 l/100 km.