The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback has been revealed ahead of its debut at the upcoming 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The alternative bodystyle Cruze comes half a year after its sibling, the second-generation Cruze sedan, was unveiled for global markets back in June 2015. It’s expected to go on sale in the US in fall this year.

Unlike the Cruze sedan that is offered in a total of four variants – L, LS, LT and Premier – the Cruze hatch will only have two variants to choose from – LT and Premier. However, it too can be specified with an optional RS styling package.

For the Cruze hatchback, Chevrolet has largely retained much of the sedan’s handsome styling, including the slender swept-back projector headlights with LED positioning lights, sculpted bumper, chrome fog light surrounds and defined character line.

The obvious difference between the sedan and hatchback, if it wasn’t clear already, starts from the B-pillar onwards, where the latter gets a reworked roofline and rear-end structure. On the Cruze hatchback, there are now new wraparound tail lights and a more pronounced tailgate-mounted spoiler.

According to Chevrolet, the Cruze hatch retains the same wheelbase as the sedan model at 2,700 mm, although one should expect some differences in the other dimensions as well (length, width and height). The automaker also lists the Cruze hatch’s available cargo space as 524 litres, which can be increased to 1,189 litres with the rear seats folded. Expect the interior to be carried over from the sedan as well, featuring the brand’s new MyLink infotainment system.

Like the Cruze sedan, the hatch rides on an all-new, more rigid and lighter architecture. Also similar to the sedan are the two different suspension set-ups. Although both variants (LT and Premier) will get MacPherson struts at the front, only the Premier benefits from Z-link independent suspension at the rear. The LT makes do with a torsion beam.

The 2017 Cruze Hatch offers the design, engineering and technological advancements of the 2016 Cruze sedan in a functional, sporty package with added cargo space.

The mirroring extends to the powertrain as well. In this case, it is the sedan’s all-aluminium 1.4 litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine. The direct-injection unit produces 153 hp at 5,600 rpm and 240 Nm from 2,000-4,000 rpm. Transmission choices should include six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.

Chevrolet touts the Cruze hatch as a formidable opponent to other cars in its class, claiming that it offers more standard safety features (Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Park Assist) than any other compact hatch, including the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The long wheelbase also results in an interior that boasts two inches more rear legroom than the Ford Focus hatchback and Hyundai Elantra GT.

It is unlikely that we will receive either of the two second-generation Cruze models anytime soon. The South Korean facelift of the current car looks to be a more probable acquisition before the all-new generation arrives. Which one tickles your fancy most – hatchback or sedan?

GALLERY: Chevrolet Cruze sedan