Friday, March 4, 2011

Chev unveils Cruze hatch in Geneva

Holden has been reluctant to tell much about the hatch version of the Cruze small car that is headed for production at the company's Elizabeth plant in South Australia. Indeed, reluctance is an outright understatement, in connection with the hatchback offering in the local range. No surprise there, since the five-door Cruze won't go into production until late this year.

But GM's international brand, Chevrolet, introduced its own production version of the Cruze hatch at the Geneva motor show this week, providing some evidence for how the Holden Cruze hatch will look when it finally enters the public domain.

The car you see in these pictures is the production Chevy on display in Geneva. Chevrolet won't launch the car officially until the middle of this year, which means it will reach European consumers sooner than the local version will hit Aussie showrooms. In the meantime, Chevrolet has placed its version of the car under the limelight with all the requisite fanfare.

According to the press material provided by Chevrolet the Cruze hatch will yield boot space close to 400 litres, which is class-leading for the small-car segment -- depending on how 'close' is close. The rear seat folds in a 60/40 ratio split to provide further luggage-carrying capacity.

Chevrolet hasn't gone hog wild with detailed information for the Cruze hatch -- that will have to wait for the car's launch proper -- but the company is satisfied that the hatch shares the sedan's overall dynamic ability and crash safety (five-star NCAP for the four-door model).

Compared with the Paris concept car, the production Chevy features a few details to make it road legal. There's a reversing light in the rear bumper cover on the right-hand side, with an integrated reflector, plus a complementary wider reflector on the left. The wheels look smaller in diameter than the concept car's. No surprise there...

At the front, the production model features different headlight clusters (the concept car's headlight clusters feature projector-beam units) and the LED running lights in the flanking intakes of the front airdam have given way to conventional fog lights in the production car. The lower grille (under the registration plate) has added slats laid over the mesh insert.

In all, it seems that the Cruze hatch won't be too far removed from the concept at all. And most of the changes are 'hang-ons'. It's by no means certain that the Holden hatch will wear the same frontal styling as the sedan's, but we reckon it's a better than even chance.


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