And what a launch is it. Chevrolet have completely re-done the Cruze for the 2016 year. Though the 2015 model does not look that dated (The new Tail lights were ugly though), the 2016 is a whole new machine. The 2016 Cruze looks nothing like the previous model. Which is a welcome refreshing change! The older model was brutish, in your face, butch, 300C type of vehicle. This is more refined, inspired from Camaro in the front, Malibu/Impala in the rear kind of vehicle. The Cruze has been one of the most successful Chevrolet vehicles till date. They have sold over 35,00,000 vehicles in the last 7 years since it was launched. We in India as well enjoyed the Cruze, the Diesel especially with it's grunt and efficiency. The newer Cruze is visually striking, but dimensionally speaking, is about 2.7 inches longer, an inch shorter than the previous model. Other changes include an increase in track by about an inch. The newer model however is as much as 100 kgs lighter than the previous one. From the front to the rear, Chevrolet have given the Cruze their now family trademark grille, doing away with the split grille seen on the Spark/Sonic family. The headlights feature projector headlamps, with DRL LEDs. The rear tail-lights are also now all LED units only. The design gives the vehicle a Cd (Coefficient of Drag) of 0.29, which is really good for a vehicle in this segment. This will translate to better fuel efficiency at higher speeds, and lesser wind noise in the cabin. A note on that, Chevrolet have apparently employed some 30 noise reduction technologies from better damping material, to a laminated windscreen to reduce noise inside the cabin. The 2016 model also comes with 2 new line-up of engines, a 1.4 liter Turbo Petrol (in-line 4 cylinder) and a 1.5 Liter Diesel Turbo that will be introduced later. Out goes the existing 1.8 Liter Petrol engine. Power for the Petrol engine is rated at 153 BHP vs 138 BHP of the previous one. Torque figures are higher as well at 240Nm of Torque at 4000 rpm and most of it available between 2000-4000 rpm range. The previous engine was good for 200 Nm of torque. The newer engine has an aluminum block vs the iron block of the previous one, thus helping weight reduction further. Transmission options are either a 6-Speed Auto, or a 6-Speed Manual (All Forward). 0-100 Times are rumored to be in the 8 second range. Not bad for the car and the segment it sells in. The Turbo-Charged engines come from the EcoTec range of Chevrolet engines, apparently their answer to Ford's EcoBoost engine tech. I'm just glad to see manufacturers bringing Turbo Charging to their engine line ups in a bid to improve efficiency and performance. Mirroring that, the newer engine not only offers better performance, but also a higher fuel economy rated at 17 KM/L in the US of A. Wheel options range from 15 inches to 18 inch wheels, depending on the package/option/trim level. Chevrolet have gone the whole hog on the inside as well, and this vehicle now gets a 8" touchscreen that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (to be offered later). The interiors have been done in softer plastics with a much nicer finish, compared to the hard plastics of the earlier model. There is a lot of action/information available to the driver, as can be seen in the above images. Chevrolet have not skimped in the features department, and are offering 4G-LTE / Wi-Fi Connectivity (for your family to stop gazing out the window and stay glued to their phones), Wire-less charging (Also seen in the new Camry). A design highlight that they (Chevy) are emphasizing on, is that their rear leg-room is nearly 2 inches greater than the next rival in the same segment. They claim to offer better interior space than any other competitor vehicle. The rear scoops remind me too much of the Toyota Aurion, and those tail lights are Audi A3/A4 family. However, what is new and interesting, are the safety features that they have packed into the new Cruze. Not only does this come with 10 Airbags standard, it also features additional safety items like Rear Cross Traffic Alert (When you are reversing from a parking), Lane Departure Warning (if you start weaving un-intentionally), Forward Collision Alert (if you are too close to the vehicle ahead of you on the highway), and a CIA (Crash Imminent Alert), if you are approaching a slower vehicle ahead of you at a higher speed. Add a dash camera now, and my feature list is complete. The new Cruze also features Auto responder (in case of an accident, emergency services will be notified). If you have opted for the feature pack, you can start, stop, lock, unlock and monitor your Cruze from anywhere that has a mobile signal, and data enabled (Provided your car has a working SIM). Not bad, Not bad at all. Chevrolet currently plans to sell the existing Cruze alongside the new one (although with hefty discounts) as the Cruze Limited. Prices for the old model start at 16,000$ or roughly 10,20,000 INR. The newer model will obviously be a higher premium over this, in view of the additional tech and features. I drove the Cruze diesel briefly in India. However I got a chance to drive the 1.8 Petrol Automatic here, and I can safely say, that versus the Elantra, the Ford Focus sedan, the Kia Cerato and other vehicles in the compact sedan segment, only the Corolla comes close (for handling and response). The Cruze feels and drives like a much bigger vehicle overall. The Elantra/Cerato feel dead when looking for handling response, and the Focus interiors are not all that great. I like what they've done with the new model, refreshing it, even before the age started showing. Nice move Chevy.