As I say on the radio show, cars are like clothes, styles change all the time. Such is the case with hatchbacks. Just a few years ago, hatchbacks were almost non-existent. Today, we have popular hatchback models like Ford Focus, VW Golf, Mazda 3, Honda Civic, and today I bring you the latest model, the 2017 Chevy Cruze hatchback.
I’ve been a big fan of Cruze since it debuted in 2008, and I’m not alone. Cruze has been Chevy’s best-selling car worldwide since its introduction. Chevy completely re-did the Cruze for 2016, and now for 2017 adds the hatchback.
So what is the attraction to hatchbacks? Mainly, more cargo room, a sportier look, it is easier to load and unload cargo, and better visibility.
The 2017 Cruze hatchback is quite sporty with a large grill, nice bodylines, wrap-around headlights and taillights, and terrific aluminum wheels.
The real story with this car is the interior and technology. The auto industry has learned that people will drive smaller cars, but they don’t want stripped-down cars. This Cruze answers that very well.
There are four trim levels for Cruze, but the hatchback only comes in the two upper line models, the LT and the Premier. My tester is the top-of-the-line Premier package.
It has a terrific leather interior with stitching and this model comes with all power accessories, including power seat and heated seats for both front passengers.
Also standard are: rearview camera, keyless entry, automatic headlights, and remote start.
From the MyLink touchscreen, you get Bluetooth, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and you can turn the car into a 4G LTE Hotspot.
On the touchscreen, there are a number of apps to run the audio, navigation system, voice activated texting, real-time weather and traffic, and you can mirror your phone through the projection app. This is also where you set the Teen Driver function.
In the settings on MyLink, you can set up Teen Driver, which can only be changed by use of a PIN. The settings take effect when you hand your kid a particular key fob. From there, parents can learn how far he or she has driven, how fast they’ve gone, and how many times he or she has braked hard. Teen Driver automatically mutes the radio until front safety belts are fastened.
Additionally, the radio system’s maximum volume can be set. The system will also make sure all safety features are automatically turned on. Parents can select a maximum speed between 40-75 mph, which, if exceeded, activates a visual warning and audible chime, letting the teen know that the info will be recorded on the report card. I love this feature, it could be a lifesaver.
From the driver’s seat, gauges are easy to read, you have a driver info center operated from the steering wheel controls. Also on the steering wheel, you can heat it for those cold mornings, set the lane keep assist, and forward collision warning.
Back seat room is quite good as is headroom for all passengers. The back seat is split and both fold down easily to give you 47.2 cubic-feet of cargo area.
My review vehicle has a number of option packages; all of them represent very good values.
Under the hood, Cruze only offers one engine, a transverse-mounted 1.4-liter turbo putting out 153-horses. You can choose either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic that you can shift from the top of the gear shifter.
The Cruze hatchback drives really well, it has a nice ride, is quiet inside, is very safe, and for a small car, it is very enjoyable. The little 4-cylinder is fairly sluggish, but it makes up for that in terrific fuel economy. It does have the start/stop system and it cannot be disabled, much to my dismay. There is a little bit of a surge when it kicks back on, and that is particularly annoying.
Fuel economy is 28 city and 37 on the highway. MSRP on this loaded version is $29,465 and for me, that is a good value as compared to other vehicles in its class. FYI, the upgrade to the hatchback is $1100 and if you need the additional room, it is worth every penny, plus it looks great!