More than a year after first showing us a styling buck and nearly as long since launching it overseas, GM is finally showing off the production version of Chevy Cruze for North America. Set to be shown publicly this week at the LA Auto Show, the Cruze is still a good 8-9 months away from going on sale at U.S. showrooms.
When it does finally arrive, the Cruze should be a huge step forward from the Cobalt and GM hopes it will be an able competitor to the next-generation Honda Civic and Ford Focus which arrives not long afterward. The Cruze is slightly larger than the Cobalt, but will be powered by downsized engines including a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder with 138 hp and 148 pound-feet or an 1.8-liter normally aspirated unit with similar power but less torque. All Cruzes will get 6-speed gearboxes of either the manual or automatic variety. The turbo version is expected to get a 40 mpg highway rating from the EPA.
Based on our brief experience driving a Volt powertrain mule earlier this year (which was based on the Cruze), the new model should be vastly more refined than the outgoing Cobalt with more interior room and much better executed interior. We'll see, eventually.