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Chevrolet's 2016 Cruze is more fun with a manual transmission (pictures)

To make the best use of the 153 horsepower from the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze's 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine it's best to pair it with the six-speed manual transmission. Chevy is offering the fluid-shifting manual gearbox on the L, LS and LT versions of the new Cruze.

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Jon Wong

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Chevrolet's second-generation Cruze is larger and lighter than its predecessor thanks to a lighter body structure and drivetrain components.

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The sole engine option for the new Cruze is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direction injection. Output is rated at 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

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A six-speed manual transmission is standard on L, LS and LT models of the new Cruze, while a six-speed automatic gearbox is available on LS and LT models. On the range-topping Premier version, the automatic is the only transmission option.

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The new Cruze's body structure is constructed from roughly 8 percent hot-stamped/high-strength steel, which helps increase stiffness by 27 percent compared with the first-generation car.

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An optional RS package dresses up the appearance of the new Cruze with specific grilles, front and rear fascias, fog lights, front splitter, rocker panels and rear spoiler.

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The new Cruze borrows styling inspiration from the Impala and Malibu.

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Together with the six-speed manual transmission, the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine features an EPA fuel economy rating of 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

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While many of the Cruze's competitors feature independent rear suspension setups, the Chevy retains a torsion beam system out back.

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The electric power-steering system on the new Cruze is shared with the Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac ATS.

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The new Cruze comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

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