2016 Chevrolet Cruze front 7/8

The wraps have come off the global version of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze – the second-generation American C-segment sedan comes over a year after its Chinese sibling and boasts unique exterior styling. It will be available in over 40 markets worldwide, starting with North America early next year.

At the front, the slimmer swept-back projector headlights with LED signature lighting (and LED daytime running lights on higher-end LT and Premier models) flow more neatly into the upper grille on this car, while the lower grille is smaller than on the Chinese Cruze. The bumper is also more sculpted than before and house reprofiled chrome fog light surrounds.

Along the sides, the front fenders are more pronounced, and the pontoon-like rear haunches have given way to simpler surfacing. The window line has been changed too, and the side mirrors have been moved outboard. Rounding up the rear, the tail lights are rounder, the chrome accent trim has been ditched and the bumper has a more aggressive design.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze rear 3/4

The car shown in these pictures is fitted with a sportier RS appearance package with unique front and rear fascias and side skirts, a rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels on the top Premier trim.

The longer, sleeker aesthetic belies the change in dimensions over the outgoing model – the Cruze now measures 4,666 mm long, 1,795 mm wide and 1,458 mm high, 68 mm longer and 25 mm lower than before. The 2,700 mm wheelbase is also 15 mm longer; despite this, the new car is also both around 27% stiffer and around 110 kg lighter than the current Cruze, thanks to the use of hot-stamped and high-strength steel.

Increasing the wheelbase has paid dividends to interior space, with Chevy claiming more leg- and knee room at the back than in either the Ford Focus or the Hyundai Elantra. Unlike the exterior, however, much of the cabin has been taken from the Chinese-market car – same air vents flanking the same centre stack with the same large touchscreen perched in the middle of it, and the same stitched dashboard.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze Interior

There are some minor changes, though – the transmission tunnel has been redesigned with repositioned gearlever and cupholders, as well as increased storage space. The MyLink infotainment system is also new with a seven-inch display; there’s an eight-inch system with navigation and support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well. Another 4.2 inch high-res multi-info display sits in the instrument cluster.

Right now, there’s just one engine available for the new Cruze – an all-aluminium 1.4 litre turbo four-pot petrol with direct-injection, producing 153 hp at 5,600 rpm and 240 Nm from 2,000-4,000 rpm. Transmission choices comprise of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions; Chevy has estimated an eight-second 0-100 km/h sprint time and a highway fuel consumption figure of around 6.0 litres per 100 km for the auto.

Under the skin, the Cruze features MacPherson strut front suspension with bushings and geometry specifically tuned for improved ride and handling balance; a torsion beam rear suspension is fitted to L, LS and LT models, while Premium variants receive Z-link independent items.

Safety kit includes standard-fit ten airbags (including front and rear side airbags and dual front knee bags), Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert and a standard reverse camera. The OnStar communications and emergency service has also been upgraded to include 4G LTE connectivity and WiFi hotspot functionality.

Malaysians, don’t hold out for this one just yet – we’re more likely to receive the South Korean facelift of the current car before the all-new model arrives here somewhere quite a bit further down the line.