California Autos Examiner

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chevrolet Cruze










1/23/09

Update: I just had a phone conversation with Phil Colley, Advanced Technology Communications, GM Powertrain, about the Cruze sedan that was at NAIAS. Phil wanted to clarify that the 1.4L and 1.8L engines that will be offered in the U.S. Cruze are NOT direct injection. That's very curious because I heard what sounded like fuel pump pulsation coming from that sedan. Could it have been a prototype with a DI engine installed? In any case, Phil has asked that I clarify that the Cruze will not be launched with direct injection. Fair enough.

Original 1/19/09 Post:

I was trying to get some shots of a locked Chevrolet Cruze when a representative offered to open its doors for me. I was very appreciative and began to shoot away, when suddenly, like locusts, cameras came at the car from every angle. It seems that everyone in the area took this door unlocking to be a sign that now was the perfect time to get their own photos.

What I am left with are a few shots, but not the great assortment of pictures that I had been hoping to bring you. What I don't think the photos do a very good job of is convey the uniqueness of the fabric panels on the dash and doors. It's a nice effect and one that you'll see more of going forward (think Chevrolet Spark for one).

Is the Cruze going to drink everyone else's milkshake? If it was on the market today? Yes, I think it just might. Will it be able to do this when it finally arrive here in the States? That's much tougher to predict because the competition doesn't stand still. Let's just say that at a minimum, the Cruze will have its staw in the milkshake glass.

Overall the design is pleasing, if a bit innocuous. Certainly an improvement from the Cobalt which is simply too vanilla for my tastes. The interior is by far the biggest winner and you'll see what I mean when you get a chance to check it out for yourself.

As the Cruze drove by me during GM's press conference, I heard a loud clatter from the direct injection system. You'd have almost sworn it was a diesel! I chalk that up to a pre-production car that had been pressed into parade duty. I spoke with some GM powertrain folks and they are well aware of how to quell direct injection noise, so I'm not too worried about it. On a side note, as reported by Automotive News, some of the first Cruzes to be sold here may be powered by European sourced engines due to financial troubles delaying engine plant construction here in the States.

I have never been impressed by the Cobalt, but the Cruze looks to remedy this situation. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for this new model to arrive and start building a new reputation for the brand's smaller cars. Provided that GM will stick with its formula of over delivering on content and undercutting on price, the Cruze has a real potential to be a perception changer for Chevrolet.

4 comments:

the worker said...

This is exactly the message that GM needs to continue to shout out to the market place.The vehicles that are being designed and built today are industry leaders and they will in time put GM back in the middle of the podium where they should be.It's to bad the market had to turn so sour with all these great new vehicles coming to the show rooms.If GM can just thread water until the world economies turn around they should be in a great position for sustainable growth for along time.

dave said...

With this kind of gas price. I am afraid this VOLT will be washed away pretty soon. How many can GM sell?

rwcmick said...

Dave,

Very true, I'm really not sure about the possibilities for the Volt if oil prices stay as they are. The competition in the lower-end hybrid marketplace is fierce and while the Volt will be a technology leader, there will be a REALLY long wait for a buyer to get a return on their investment.

With cars like the Cruze able to churn out ~40MPG and models like the 2010 Prius which can produce ~50MPG, it is going to take a dedicated person to fork over the $ for the Volt.

Much more promising is something like the Converj which is a drop dead gorgeous car. People will spend big bucks just for that reason alone and the fact that it has an advanced drivetrain is just gravy.

I wish GM success with the Volt, but unless things change in the marketplace it might be a low volume model.

the worker said...

The "Volt" is leading technology and is where the industry will end up in the future.The price of gas will go back up there because the vulture"s have tasted blood and if you watch the market's the slightest bit of goods news sends it in the up direction.A big upside of the Volt is what it will do for the enviroment.The world needs to get greener and the auto industry has to lead the way.
GM is finally doing the right things and must stay the course.