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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian-designed 2011 Holden Cruze hatch has broken cover with Chevrolet badging ahead of its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

The production design is a predictably tamed down version of the concept revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, with the entire front end carried over from the sedan and the rear lights featuring standard red lenses.

Gone are the xenon headlights and blue headlamp tinge, LED daytime running lamps and the smoky transparent/red combination taillights of the sportier concept, although General Motors may be keeping those design elements up its sleeve for the hot hatch variant, expected to debut later this year.

The overall shape remains true to the Paris concept, with both the concept and production vehicles designed at GM Holden’s Victorian design studio in Port Melbourne.

GM assures the hatch will provide the same “taut body feel on the road” as the sedan, thanks to the use the new body-frame integral system (BFI) to improve overall strength and solidity.

Although the full details are yet to be revealed, GM has confirmed the Cruze hatch features a 60/40 split-fold rear seat and a rear luggage capacity of 400 litres – greater than the current Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai i30 and the Ford Focus.

The Cruze hatch will be offered with the choice of three engines, including a turbocharged petrol 1.4-litre petrol engine and a revised 2.0-litre diesel. The turbo petrol is understood to produce 103kW and 200Nm of torque, while the diesel will be a 120kW/350Nm unit. A retuned version of the current 1.8-litre petrol engine is also expected to be offered, potentially alongside a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine from the Astra, offering around 132kW in the hot hatch variant.

Australian Cruze hatch production will commence towards the end of the year, with sedan assembly to begin within weeks.

More details of the 2011 Holden Cruze hatch will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next week, with specifications and pricing to be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch.




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