The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback: More junk in the trunk

When Chevrolet rolled out an all-new Cruze for the 2016 model year, many wondered aloud if Big Bowtie would finally bring the hatchback variant to the US. Well, it appears that those prayers have been answered -- the Cruze Hatchback will arrive on our shores for the first time as a 2017 model.

Stylistically, the front end is exactly the same as the new Cruze sedan, packing a slimmer, less blocky design than in the past. In fact, the roof and the rear end are the only parts changed between sedan and hatchback. The only thing that changes inside is the space. The Cruze Hatchback sports 18.5 cubic feet of space behind the second row, and with the second row folded down, that value expands to 42 cubic feet.

Efficiency is key with the new Cruze, and its equipment reflects that. The Cruze Hatch will pack a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with standard stop-start and electric power steering.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback

Tech-wise, all Cruze Hatchback models will come standard with a Chevy MyLink infotainment system including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Buyers can opt for a 4G LTE connection with a Wi-Fi hotspot. Optional safety equipment includes lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and rear parking sensors. Teen Driver is also available if you like to keep expert track of your children's driving habits.

Whereas the Cruze sedan will come in L, LS, LT and Premier trims, the hatchback variant is limited to LT and Premier, so don't expect to find one for bargain-basement prices. However, you can spend more by opting for the RS package, which gives the car a sportier appearance by way of various add-ons.

After getting an up-close look at the Cruze Hatchback at Chevy's Detroit auto show stand, I believe the RS package body jewelry does give it a menacing look with touches like the black-out grille inserts. It's just disappointing there hasn't been any news on a more performance-oriented version of the Cruze to give the likes of the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI some more competition in the hot hatch segment.

The 2017 Cruze Hatchback hits US dealerships in the fall of 2016. Pricing has yet to be determined.


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