The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch makes its debut at the 2016 Detroit auto show, signaling the Cruze five-door’s first steps on U.S. territory. A hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze has been sold in Europe since 2011, but GM opted not to offer it for the U.S. market. GM executive vice president of product development Mark Reuss thinks that was a significant “pre-bankruptcy planning mistake” that Chevrolet won’t make again.
Now that the hot-selling Cruze has a hatchback model to compete with offerings like the Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, Ford Focus, and upcoming Honda Civic hatchback, Chevrolet hopes it can draw in some new customers with an eye toward utility.
Style doesn’t hurt either, and the Cruze Hatch’s sportier proportions provide a solid alternative to the Cruze sedan. As we saw in earlier spy shots, the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch gets a nicely tapered roofline that leads into an attractive sloped rear window. The rear end gets a unique bumper as well as wraparound taillights that extend onto the liftgate. The cherry on top of the whole structure is a subtle spoiler that lays flush to the liftgate structure.
We got our first look at the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze over the summer. The freshly styled new compact sedan made a strong impression out of the gate with more interior space, more than 200 pounds of weight loss, and a small turbocharged engine geared toward efficiency. The Cruze hatch employs the same 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four Ecotec engine with direct-injection and standard stop/start, serving up 150 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque.
The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch maintains the same 106.3-inch wheelbase as the Cruze sedan, meaning it also benefits from increased legroom. With two inches more legroom than before, the new Cruze Hatch promises to be a bit more functional than its competitors. Cargo space totals 18.5 cu ft. with the rear seats up, which grows to 42 cu ft. with those seats folded.
Like the standard 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, the Hatch comes standard with a backup camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as available 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot tech. Available amenities include LED/projector headlamps, wireless phone charging, heated rear leather seats and heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. Active safety tech such as lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and blind-spot alert are all optional.
“With 9 percent market growth in small hatchbacks last year, it’s the perfect time to bring the Cruze Hatch to America,” said GM North America president Alan Batey in a statement.
As of now, it’s unclear if the addition of the Hatch in the U.S. will grow sales or just cannibalize would-be sedan buyers. Chevrolet has averaged about 244,000 Cruze sales per year in the U.S. since the car was revamped for 2011, and industry analyst IHS Automotive projects 259,000 in volume for 2017 (76,000 hatchbacks and 183,000 sedans).
While volume may not drastically improve, Chevrolet does stand to make a good chunk of cash thanks to higher average transaction prices on the Cruze Hatch. While the base 2016 Chevrolet Cruze sedan starts at $17,495 for the base L model and $18,995 for the LS, neither of these trims will be available on the Hatch. Only the LT, high-end Premier, and sporty RS will be offered for the hatchback version. With that in mind, we expect the Cruze Hatch to start just north of $22,000, thanks to a mild premium over the $21,995 Cruze LT sedan.
The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch goes on sale in fall 2016, following the launch of the sedan this spring. Chevy plans to introduce a 1.6-liter diesel engine, but has not said if this engine will be available for the Hatch.