The compact Cruze is hugely important for Chevy. In 2017, some 53 percent of Cruze buyers were new to Chevrolet, and with conquest rates that large, the Cruze's 2019 update is all about giving a broader swath of customers more of what they want. Unfortunately, a manual transmission isn't on that list.
Yes, Steve Majoros, Chevy's marketing director for cars and crossovers, confirms that the Cruze's six-speed manual gearbox dies across the board for 2019. But since it only represented a small percentage of vehicle sales, it makes sense to us. Instead, the Cruze goes into 2019 with better trim structures and a focus on lower-end model packaging.
To that end, Chevy will now offer a base LS model of the Cruze Hatchback, which was previously only available in LT or Premier. The hatch accounted for 20 percent of Cruze sales in 2017, so Chevy sees the importance of offering this body style across all trim levels. The hatchback gets a number of design tweaks for 2019, including redesigned headlamps and taillamps as well as new wheel designs. The Cruze Sedan gets similar styling updates, as well.
Chevy will continue to offer the Cruze with a choice of two engines. All Cruzes come standard with a 1.4-liter turbo engine, and a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel I4 is available on both sedan and hatchback models.
Inside the Cruze, things don't change too much. The biggest upgrade is a standard 7-inch touchcreen display, housing the company's latest Chevy Infotainment 3 system, with better graphics and simplified menus.
Look for the 2019 Cruze to go on sale in just a few months, with pricing staying pretty close to the current car's $16,975 MSRP.