All-New Chevrolet Cruze: Exciting Design Arrives in the Value Segment
• Compact sedan with ‘four-door coupé’ styling • Upscale design and quality within a high value package • Launch of new design language for Chevrolet in Europe
• On sale March 2009, with new 2.0-liter diesel and 1.6/1.8-liter gasoline choice
The all-new Chevrolet Cruze, making its world premiere at the Paris Show, raises the bar for exciting design and build quality among value products in Europe’s compact car segment.
Its dynamic, four-door coupé-like looks bring a new dimension to traditional, three-box sedan design. With its signature grille, concave shoulder line and ‘dual cockpit’ interior design theme, the Cruze features Chevrolet’s new global design language that is becoming a signature on all new products carrying the gold bowtie.
The Cruze is the result of a development process, harnessing GM’s global resources, which focused on setting new design and quality benchmarks for value products in the compact segment. “Our goal was to be revolutionary, not evolutionary,” says Chief Designer Taewan Kim. “We wanted to take a big step forward, making a completely new design statement for Chevrolet products around the world.”
The arching roofline, extending from the steeply raked windshield into the sloping rear pillars, is a stand-out exterior design feature. It visually stretches the Cruze’s glasshouse, bringing a four-door coupé-like look to this segment for the first time.
A distinctive concave shoulder line that flows uninterrupted from the headlamps into the rear lights is set to become a signature Chevy design cue, together with the dual-port grille split by a body-colored crossbar bearing the gold bowtie.
Wider and longer than its predecessor, the Cruze has a purposeful, well-planted stance with its wheels, up to 17 inches in size, located at the outer edges of the tautly drawn bodywork. Noticeably tight panel fits and shut-lines, together with a restrained use exterior trim, add to the ‘hewn from solid’ look, bringing premium class design quality to the value segment of the market.
The bold headlamp housings wrap around the front corners and sweep up, arrow-like, into the fenders, enhancing the Cruze’s dynamic appeal. The clear polycarbonate outer lenses accommodate ‘jewel effect’ light detailing. The twin halogen bulbs are deep set within their bright finished pods, accentuated by a piano black bezel above and beneath. This dual-bezel design also adds an upscale appearance uncommon in the segment.
The hood is heavily sculpted along its sides to integrate with the swept headlamps and the rising concave shoulder line. This strong feature continues along the length of the car before melding into the flush-mounted, wraparound rear light units and deck line. The trunk lid features an integrated spoiler sculpted into its rear edge.
The clean, streamlined appearance of the Cruze not only appeals to the eye. A highly competitive 0.31 cd also benefits aerodynamic performance and fuel consumption.
High Quality Interior
The revolutionary design theme continues inside the Cruze. The interior transplants a distinctive Chevy styling cue – the signature ‘twin cockpit’ layout of the Corvette. The lower fascia panels, color-matched with the front seat inserts, branch out symmetrically either side from the center stack, bringing driver and passenger closer to a ’shared’ experience.
Just as revolutionary is the interior quality. This is reflected in the application of grained surfaces, soft-touch materials and low gloss trim panels. It all contributes to a cabin quality ambience that echoes the clean, harmonious design of the exterior. For example, the integrated center stack, housing infotainment and air conditioning displays and controls, eliminates traditional ‘picture framing’, combining them in a clean and modern presentation.
Three-dimensional math modeling was used in the design of the main instrument cluster. The three analogue speedometer, tachometer, fuel/temperature gauges have LED backlighting for clear, crisp illumination in white and ice blue.
The roomy cabin can comfortably accommodate five adults. It offers rear passengers exceptional space, with more leg, head and shoulder room than usually found in this class.
The extensive infotainment choice includes a DVD-based satellite navigation system offering voice recognition and a 7-inch map display, a segment ‘first’ for Chevrolet. The four and six speaker audio systems also offer inputs to play music stored on an MP3, iPod or memory stick. Uplevel systems feature a hard disk drive for permanent onboard storage of music, one of its first applications in this market segment.
Strength in Depth
The Cruze’s breakthrough design appeal is, of course, more than skin deep. Its architectural components were co-operatively engineered at GM facilities in Germany, the United States, Australia and Korea. “In key areas, such the body structure, suspension, safety and electrical systems, we have drawn on GM ‘best practices’ around the world,” says Peter Mertens, Global Vehicle Line Executive for compact cars. “It’s an all-new vehicle that has been globally developed for a global market.”
The Cruze’s body structure is the stiffest in its class – with a torsional rigidity 140 percent greater than that of its predecessor. This provides the solid foundation for outstanding running refinement and comfort, with standard-setting levels of suppression for noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The structure also plays a key role in securing an expected maximum five-star NCAP crash safety rating in Europe, the United States, as well as in Korea and China.
Under its hood, the Cruze offers an equally impressive powertrain line-up, which includes an all-new automatic transmission, Chevrolet’s first six-speed application in the value segment, in addition to five-speed manual gearboxes. Both 16-valve, 1.6-liter (112 hp/82 kW) and 1.8-liter (140 hp/103 kW) gasoline engines feature variable valve timing (VVT) on both inlet and exhaust sides, giving more power as well as lower fuel consumption and emissions. Respectively, these engines deliver zero to 100 km/h acceleration in 12.4 and 9.8 seconds, with combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.7 and 6.8 l/100 km.
The new 2.0-liter turbo diesel, developing 150 hp/110 kW and 320 Nm of torque from 2,000 rpm, adds power with even greater frugality. It features common-rail, direct and multiple fuel injection with variable geometry turbocharging. The result is strong performance (zero to 100 km/h in 9.4 seconds) with fuel consumption over the combined cycle of just 5.8 l/100 km. After launch, a 125 hp/92 kW version with 300 Nm of torque will also be offered.
On the road, the Cruze delivers a driving experience that fulfills the dynamic promise of its looks. Customers will appreciate suspension, braking and steering systems that have been tuned for European priorities, striking a fine balance between agility and good ride refinement. Front suspension is by McPherson strut, with side-load compensation to reduce sliding friction. At the rear, a compound crank development of the torsion beam offers space and weight savings, while allowing precise tuning for individual model applications.
With sales in Europe up by 23 percent for the first six months of 2008, Chevrolet is GME’s fastest-growing mainstream brand. The Cruze enters showrooms in March next year and will spearhead a new product roll-out program that is expected to propel the brand to even greater success. Each new offering will pick up the design baton of the Cruze, inspired by its signature design language and its focus on quality within a high value package.
“We are proud that Europe is the lead region for this global product,” said Wayne Brannon, Executive Director, Chevrolet Europe. “Chevrolet has always stood for value and Cruze delivers on that promise like never before. It redefines value with its design, quality, materials and great style inside and out. The fit and finish for gaps and interfaces sets a new standard for the value segment.”