2016 Chevrolet Cruze: Up Close

16_Chevrolet_Cruze_AB_12.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Cruze; | photo by Aaron Bragman

When the last Chevrolet Cruze (which would be the first Chevy Cruze) was introduced, I was impressed by it. It was stylish and well-made, featuring plenty of updated multimedia tech and a unique interior that had very good materials for its class. It even drove well, some electric power steering quirks aside, and featured a highly fuel-efficient diesel engine option. It sold well but didn’t upset the status quo in the segment.

Related: 2016 Chevrolet Cruze: First Look

The new 2016 Cruze has just been unveiled, and it looks to be a true step forward. The car’s styling is undeniably sleek, with more than a little Honda Civic present in the overall silhouette thanks to very steeply raked front and rear glass.

16_Chevrolet_Cruze_AB_02.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Cruze; | photo by Aaron Bragman

It looks like it should be a hatchback with such a high tail and sloped rear window, but it’s not – it’s still a sedan, with a sizable trunk. The overall look fits in perfectly with the rest of the Chevy lineup – like the new Malibu and Volt, it has cues from the big Impala, and that’s not a bad thing.

16_Chevrolet_Cruze_AB_08.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Cruze; | photo by Aaron Bragman

The Cruze’s cabin gets a significant upgrade from what was already a nice interior. Upgraded materials are everywhere, including some contrasting leather colors on the top Premier trim (the LTZ is no more) that really set it apart from the decidedly mediocre environments found in the Corolla and Civic.

From the seats to the upgraded multimedia system, which features integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Cruze sets a new bar for comfort and convenience features. Space is plentiful as well, both up front and surprisingly, in back. The steeply sloped roofline does make for some tricky ingress and egress from the backseat, but once in place, scalloped cutouts for passengers’ heads and plenty of leg, knee and hip room make the backseat far more tolerable than the outgoing model.

So it seems that Chevy has gotten the package right, with some of the best materials to be found in a compact car, plenty of space and a dramatically improved multimedia experience. Add in that the car is 250 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, features a decently powerful turbocharged engine as standard and will soon offer a diesel engine that’s been called “Die Flusterdiesel” (“the whisper diesel”) in Europe means we have big hopes that the driving experience will be as good as promised.

Photo of Aaron Bragman
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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