2011 Chevy Cruze at 2009 L.A. Auto Show

  • Competes with: Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla
  • Looks like: A stylish compact with a Chevy logo
  • Drivetrain: 136-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder or 138-hp, turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder with six-speed manual or automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Fall 2010

Chevy announced its new Cruze compact car nearly a year ago, and it’s been on sale overseas for months now. We’re getting the first official specs and equipment information from GM on the U.S. version, which will go on sale in the third quarter of next year.

The most interesting tidbit is the choice of engines. The base LS model will come with a standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder teamed to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The more significant powertrain is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder in the uplevel LT and LTZ trim levels. It’ll put out 138 horsepower and 146 pounds-feet of torque; when equipped with a special fuel-efficiency package, it should achieve 40 mpg on the highway.

Details on the efficiency package haven’t been released yet, but we’d guess it would include low-rolling-resistance tires.

GM is also touting other specs — namely that the Cruze will best the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic in overall passenger volume and luggage volume, which it does. Its 15 cubic feet of trunk space also nudges out the new Kia Forte. It also bests the competitors in rear legroom. In most other dimensions, the Cruze is on par with the rest of the class. 

Standard features on all models include 10 airbags, stability control, six-speaker stereo with MP3 jack. Optional USB and iPod integration is available in an upgraded sound system. Bluetooth, leather interior, heated seats and navigation will also be offered. 

We’ll learn more about the Cruze’s fuel mileage and pricing later this week at the L.A. Auto Show.

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