2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback First Look Review: Plenty Of Potential

First Look

GM finally has the groundwork to get into the hot hatch game!

The previous generation Chevrolet Cruze wasn't exactly the greatest car ever made. Although the Cruze was a huge improvement over the Cobalt that it replaced, it never really threatened the sales crown of the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. The car was quite bland and went too long without any major facelifts. Now GM has unveiled the second-generation Cruze, and we think already that it is a huge improvement over the old one. One key feature that we especially love is the availability of a hatchback model for the US market.

Why do we love it? Well, it looks pretty good for starters and seems to offer a decent amount of space inside. Here's a video of a seemingly tall man proving that last point.

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The new Cruze is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque going to the front wheels. On the inside, this new model is a technology tour-de-force with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included as standard. Like other GM cars, a 4G LTE wireless hotspot is also available. These features easily make the Cruze one of the most technologically advanced hatchbacks on sale today. This should help attract buyers who are looking for a car with the best technology at an affordable price. Honestly, we like the new Cruze, but we would rather dish out a few grand more and buy a hotter hatch like the Volkswagen Golf GTI or the Ford Focus ST.

This is where we start to see the potential for GM. So far the automaker has only released the RS model of the new Cruze. While this may sound like a sporty design it is nothing more than the highest trim level that is currently available. If GM wants to compete with cars like the Focus ST or Golf GTI, they absolutely must build a Cruze SS. Chevy has not sold a cheap performance car since the Cobalt SS back in 2010. Although that car suffered from a terrible interior, the performance was actually amazing for the price. If GM put the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from the Camaro in the Cruze hatch it would have a sales hit. With nice looks, tons of technology, and around 250-270 horsepower, a Cruze SS may be the ultimate American hot hatch.