So, when was the last time General Motors had an attractive compact hatchback? Yeah, we can’t remember one either. Nonetheless, they’re going to have one now with the introduction of the 2017 Cruze Hatchback. Not only is this a much-needed car for the Chevy brand, but its execution appears to be spot-on, because it’s quite the looker.
The irony with the whole lack of hatchbacks in the GM stable is that the company has some great looking hatches in Europe with the Opel Astra. Actually the last generation Cruze even had a hatchback variant in Europe, but the North American market never became privy to it. The excuse from GM was typically something along the lines of “Americans don’t like hatchbacks.”
Well, they’ve apparently grown to love them in recent years. At one point Chevrolet’s own Sonic was selling over 60-percent hatchback, which likely raised some flags inside GM that maybe it was time for a compact hatch too.
Step one with this car is that it was clearly designed from the ground up as a hatchback, unlike the European Cruze hatchback from the last generation. As such, it doesn’t look like a dumpy little compact car that has five doors and a rear wiper; it looks like an attractive compact car that really even has the ability to turn heads when dressed in higher trim levels.
The exterior design is one that is just youthful enough to look fresh without being so obnoxious that less garish buyers are isolated from even considering the car. It’s a middle of the road tactic, but one that is necessary and likely worth it in this application. There’s a couple nit-picks with it, however. For example, the lack of LED tail lamps (at least on the top-tier Premier trim) is disappointing.
Like the new sedan, the Cruze Hatchback will be exclusively powered by a revamped version of GM’s 1.4-liter turbo. This time it’s making 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, which should be a decent little setup for this car given its lighter on top of being more powerful than the previous generation Cruze. Buyers will be able to opt for a six-speed manual or automatic to go along with the 1.4 turbo.
Upon first glance there may be an initial glut of disappointment given there’s no mention of a “diesel” with the new Cruze. Rest assured, we’re told a new diesel version of the car will arrive for the 2017 model. It hasn’t been confirmed if the hatchback will gain the diesel option, but we’d assume so. Plus, the idea of a diesel powered Chevrolet hatchback is just pretty cool.
Inside the story with the Hatchback is the same as the 2016 Cruze sedan. Wearing Chevrolet’s latest interior design theme, the new Cruze is comfortable and attractive. Interior space has been increased versus today’s Cruze, and the hatch expands upon that usefulness even further with fold-flat seats and the general purposefulness of a five-door layout.
Like every new product in today’s world, the Cruze Hatchback has no lack of technology features. Aside from the usual prospects, the new Cruze is packing lane keep assist, OnStar 4G LTE and all the other gadgets GM is stacking on its new products.
While we’re totally grateful to finally get an attractive compact hatch from GM this fall, but this is just causing more possibilities. The Cruze Hatchback is absolutely yelling and screaming for a hot hatch version. The type of hatchback that can rival the awesome Ford Focus ST with dignity. This car has the looks to hold its own with the badass version of the Focus, and GM undoubtedly has the hardware to piece together a Cruze RS… but will it? We’re keeping our fingers crossed.