Here in Detroit this afternoon, Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper and design VP Ed Welburn took the wraps off the new Chevrolet Cruze that will debut at the Paris Auto Show next month. As many people suspected, the Cruze is larger than the current Cobalt and actually fits into the lineup between the Cobalt and the Malibu. The Cruze goes on sale in Europe in March of 2009 and will debut with a trio of engines. For Europe, the Cruze gets a choice of 1.6L and 1.8L gas engines or an all new 2.0L 150hp turbodiesel. Besides the styling, Peper talked about the long wheelbase and how the rear, in particular, has a short overhang. Peper said the Cruze will get close to 40 mpg on the highway at launch. The Cruze will go into production for North America at the Lordstown, OH assembly plant in April 2010, and that's when it is expected to get the new direct injected 1.4L turbo that will push highway fuel economy to 45 mpg. More in a bit.

[Source: General Motors]

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