Get Excited For Detroit 2016: Hatchbacks and Crossovers

Feature

Chevrolet Cruze! Facelifted Infiniti QX60! Not much else after that!

Despite being its home motoring expo, General Motors doesn’treally have much to showcase at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. Sure, Buick’sgot the Envision to show off, but the rest of the brands that make up The General’shuge portfolio are unusually unaccounted for. In fact, it seems only Chevrolet iswilling to step up to the mark alongside its more upmarket GM stable mate, withits rather down to earth Chevrolet Cruze hatchback scheduled to make its official debut at the show.

Chevrolet’s new Cruze hatchback isn’t particularlyrevelatory in comparison with the sedan it’s based on, but that’s no real badthing. After all, the five-door model looks like it will be a sizeable leapforward from the current car, so we expect similar things from the hatchback. Thatsentiment is also buoyed up by the fact it’s based on the Opel/Vauxhall Astra,which has currently gone down as a treat with the motoring press in Europe. So,whilst we won’t know how good the new Chevrolet Cruze is until later this year,the early signs are very promising.

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Offering a Chevy Cruze hatchback that shares a lot with theAstra family also gives us a wee bit of hope that a warm or hot hatch model inthe vein of the Astra OPC/VXR will be given the go ahead. Go on, General Motors,you know you want to give the Ford Focus ST and VW Golf GTI a bloody nose onyour home turf! As far as conventional hatchbacks go, though, that’s allthat’s being unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this year. Should you decide tostretch that definition to the crossover market, though, then you’ve also gotthe facelifted Infiniti QX60. Like the Chevrolet Cruze, there isn’t that much about the Infiniti QX60 that will really pique your interest.

However, the tweaks thathave been made are of some worth: The new shocks, for instance, are claimed byInfiniti to improve the QX60’s ride quality. That's an impressive achievement iftrue, considering the current car is one of the more comfortable crossover SUVson the market. That pursuit of improved refinement also extends to theadded noise insulation, to further suppress road, wind and tire noise at speed.Even the windshield has been thickened in a bid to make the Infiniti QX60’scabin as quiet as possible!

Rounding off these new changes are a range of oh-so-subtlestyling tweaks (like new LED headlamps, a new front grille design and somebetter quality interior trim pieces) that will likely only be of seriouslong-term importance if you’re stuck for ideas on an impromptu game of Spot TheDifference. So, that’s the Detroit Auto Show 2016's hatchback and crossover reveals done and dusted. It’snot a particularly big selection, but you’ll be pleased to know that this isthe exception rather than the rule for our remaining ‘Get Excited For Detroit2016’ pieces...

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