We’ve waited years for it. Finally, Chevrolet has revealed a 2017 Cruze Hatch for the North American market. Not only does the new Cruze appear to be an attractive proposition, but the Hatch version looks really good too. So, now it’s time to give this thing the hot hatch treatment to rival the Ford Focus ST.
The irony of the Ford versus Chevy argument in fast small cars is that Chevy basically owned this segment back when the Cobalt SS was running the streets. While the Cobalt itself was hardly a fantastic product, the SS had some legitimate street credibility when swapped with the infamous LNF 2.0-turbo. Simply put, it was a fast, fun little car in its own right.
Since the days of the Cobalt SS GM has gone soft with the segment. The Cruze is anything but a sporty little car. Conversely, Ford has given us the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST and completely badass Focus RS. So basically, Ford is owning GM a few times over when it comes to hot hatches in North America. Need we mention that Chevrolet now touts its performance credentials constantly; down to having a “Performance” vehicle tab on their consumer website!
It shouldn’t be terribly difficult for GM to churn out a hot hatch version of this Cruze. The 1.6-liter turbo (found in the Buick Cascada) could likely be tuned for the necessary 200-something horsepower figure. If not the 1.6, GM’s well-known 2.0-turbo would absolutely get the job done.
Throw in some soft design tweaks, a proper gearbox and this car would be a legitimate hot hatch.