Photography by Rosemary De Pear
Going up against the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic and Kia Forte5 in the compact hatch world means you’ve got to bring your A game. The aforementioned blend power, looks and popularity among Canadians. Chevrolet has introduced a hatchback version of the popular Cruze lineup for 2017 and after spending a week behind the wheel, there’s plenty to like about the golden bowtie’s latest offering.
On the outside, there’s a sensible yet sleek look with just enough curves to help it stand out in a highly competitive marketplace. Wraparound tail lights are a nice touch and the spoiler (available on the $995 RS Package) is very Mazda 3-esque; which is a good element.
Up front, the LED dayrunners add a nice touch to the modern looking front end.
Maybe it’s because I love the hatchback look (except for that awkward rear bulge in the Mitsubishi Lancer) but the Cruze Hatch’s overall body shape scores high marks with me.
Power-wise, 2017 sees only one engine, which is a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque through a six-speed automatic or manual gearbox. Although lower than others in its class, there’s of pep to be enjoyed as the turbo lag is low and handling and cornering is performed quite well.
Most of my time was spent on city streets in Mississauga with about 30% of the driving done on highways. Happily, both scenarios provided a comfortable ride quality and my fuel consumption through nearly 500km ended up at 7.9 L/100 km. The EnerGuide consumption rates this car at 8.4/6.4/7.5 for city/highway/combined L/100 km, which is respectable for this class.
Coming soon-ish will be a nine-speed autobox and a diesel offering, which should help boost the number of Cruze Hatchbacks on the road by appealing to thrifty Canadian consumers.
Until then, if you’re eyes are set on a 2017 model, you should be at least test driving this Chevy offering to get a good scope of one of the better hatchbacks on the market.
An oddity worth mentioning: the auto start/stop is a cool feature to save fuel at longer lights but there’s no way of disabling it…maybe that’ll be addressed in the 2018 model.
Inside, Chevrolet has done well to keep up with segment leaders but I strongly suggest ticking of the “True North Edition” option for $4,370, which includes a larger eight-inch touchscreen, a better Bose audito system, sunroof MyLink and navigation, along with heated rear seats, wireless charging and a 110V AC power outlet. Additionally on the safety-side, this option gives you forward collision warning, lane departure/lane keep assist, auto high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear park assist and rear cross traffic alerts.
Seating is comfortable and everything is well within reach. Chevy has done good work by integrating just enough buttons on the centre console to keep driving distractions to a minimum here.
On the tech-side, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard (full marks, Chevy) and the 4G LTE with a wi-fi hotspot is very cool.
The Teen Driver standard feature (which is a feature that should be getting more attention as it helps create safer driving habits and can potentially lower collision rates) is something I’d love to see on all newer cars.
It “limits certain vehicle features, and prevents certain safety systems from being turned off and provides an in-vehicle report that gives you information on your teen's driving habits and helps you continue to coach your new driver” according to the Chevrolet Canada website.
With the rear seats folded, you’re given 1,336 L of space to work with to do in and out of town trips, errands and whatever else you can throw in there.
Oddly, there’s no headrest for the middle rear passenger so while it’s classified as a five-seater, I personally wouldn’t put anyone in that middle seat. Besides, the other two rear passengers would enjoy more room.
With the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatcbhack, the golden bowtie folks have entered a market where the giants stand tall and there’s little room for error. The existing model is good and that’ll only be increased with the diesel and nine-speed in the near future.
Pricing sees the manual LT trim at $20,795 and the automatic LT at $22,245. The only other option is the top-tier Premier, which rings the register at $24,845.
My tester, the Premier, had the “True North Package” along with the RS Package, which brings the total price up to $29,485, which is on par with its competitors for value for dollar comparisons.
Showing up late to the party isn’t always a bad thing and we should know by the end of 2017 just how fashionably “late” can be.
Enjoy the full gallery below: