LA 2009: Chevy Cruze Officially Debuts in North America

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

After yesterday’s sneak preview of the all-new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, there isn’t much new to tell other than that GM officially debuted the car today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It is worth revisiting the car, however, as it is sure to be an important car for GM and the industry as a whole.

The main newsworthy item that sets the Cruze apart is its turbocharged 1.4-liter Ecotec engine (standard in LT and LTZ models) that makes 138-hp and 148 ft-lbs of torque. Those are pretty standard numbers for this class of vehicle, but what makes the engine so impressive is that it achieves 40 mpg on the highway. A larger 1.8-liter unit will come standard on LS models and is expected to make roughly the same amount of horsepower but less torque. Both engines will be offered with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.

With a 40-mpg highway rating the Cruze easily has the best highway mileage in its class, besting the current highway leader, another Chevy product, the Cobalt XFE.

Style wise, it has a prominent front end, with Chevy’s corporate face that premiered on the new Malibu and can be found on vehicles like the Traverse. From some angles, the car does look like Hyundai’s Sonata – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Chevy says the Cruze has more passenger and cargo room than either the Civic or Corolla and due to significant efforts to reduce exterior noise is supposed to deliver a much more high-end driving feel than compact competitors. In addition, Chevy wants to position the Cruze as a segment leader in safety with standard equipment including ABS brakes, StabiliTrak as well as 10 airbags.

Along with some high-tech equipment like Bluetooth connectivity and an available navigation system, other optional highlights include heated front seats and available 18-inch rims.

The Cruze is set to be built at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio plant with sales scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2010

Get more Chevy Cruze news and info at

GALLERY: 2011 Chevy Cruze Debut in LA

GALLERY: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Preview

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