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Geneva show: GM unveils production Cruze hatch

Junk in the trunk: General Motors claims its Cruze hatch will offer a class-leading boot capacity of almost 400 litres.

Official shots of Holden-designed Cruze hatch emerge ahead of Geneva premiere

25 Feb 2011

A FIVE hour drive separates Paris and Geneva but General Motors has taken the long way around – via Fishermen’s Bend in Port Melbourne – to take its five-door variant of the popular Cruze small car from a concept unveiled in the French capital last September to the production version that will premiere at the Swiss show on March 1.

Official photos show that the showroom-ready Cruze hatch, designed and engineered by Holden, will emerge as a slightly toned-down version of the Paris concept that was penned by the same team.

Compared with the concept, the showroom model rides higher on smaller wheels and deletes chrome trim from the doorhandles while losing the concept’s sporty bumpers, blue-tinged headlights, fancy rear clusters and HSV-esque LED daytime running lights.

The Australian Cruze sedan is about to get a facelift coinciding with the switch in production from South Korea to Elizabeth in South Australia – on the same production line that once turned out Holden Vectras for the local market.

Sales of locally-built sedans are due to commence here next month, while the Cruze’s new face is also likely to turn up on the Australian-built hatch when it surfaces in the third quarter of this year.

13 center imageLeft: Paris Chevrolet Cruze hatchback concept. Below: European production Chevrolet Cruze hatchback.

Meanwhile, the front-end of the European-delivered, Chevrolet-badged version that will be on show at Geneva looks identical to that of the existing sedan, which along with the hatch will continue to be sourced from South Korea for Europe.

The five-door’s fastback styling lends itself to large luggage capacity and General Motors claims a class-leading boot space of “close to 400 litres” to beat the 385 litres offered by the Kia Cerato and Ford Focus hatches.

As GoAuto has reported, the local Cruze will be offered with a choice of three engines, including a 120kW/350Nm 2.0-litre diesel mated to a six-speed manual gearbox – already used in the Chevrolet Orlando compact people mover that shares the same Delta II platform.

An efficient new 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and a tweaked version of the current 104kW 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder are also likely options under the bonnet of the revised Cruze.

A hot turbo version, possibly powered by the Opel Astra’s 132kW 1.6-litre petrol engine is likely to follow – and could be differentiated by taking on the more aggressive styling of the Paris concept.

GM has also been testing a 150kW Cruze EV with a claimed sprint to 100km/h of 8.2 seconds and a wagon variant is also in the pipeline.

The Cruze is a global hit, with 334,976 sold worldwide last year with Australian sales accounting for 28,334 units to become Holden’s second most popular model after the Commodore.

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