The Chevrolet Cruze won't start rolling off the assembly line at GM's Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant and into U.S. showrooms until next spring. Right now, though, GM's Korean operations are already turning out the Cruze for sale in Europe and Asia and kids at the Telegraph newspaper in the UK have a had chance to try one out. The Cruze is the first application of the new generation of GM's Delta "global compact car platform." This fall, that platform spreads to the new Opel Astra and, next year, to the Volt and Orlando models.
As a replacement for the Lacetti, which is well known to Top Gear fans, the Cruze is apparently a big improvement. With better looks and a more solid feel, the Cruze evidently drives much better than its predecessor. In fact it seems like the only weak point is the gasoline engines. Korean-built Cruzes get a choice of 1.6-liter or 1.8-liter four cylinders, neither of which feel particularly spritely. When the Ohio-built Cruze arrives, we'll get a new turbocharged 1.4-liter which will hopefully have better torque output than the normally aspirated engines, even at similar power levels.