The first images of the 2012 Holden Cruze hatch on the road have been released ahead of the vehicle’s launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

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The images reveal the Cruze undergoing its first week of testing in Australia in full production-ready Series II guise.

GM Holden designed the Cruze hatch at its Port Melbourne design studio. The all-new vehicle was unveiled for the first time in production form as the Chevrolet Cruze at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The Holden Cruze hatch will join the Cruze sedan and the Commodore range at Holden’s South Australian production facility in Elizabeth towards the end of this year.

Holden is yet to confirm the full details of the Cruze hatch, although it is likely to be available in the same model lines and specifications as the recently launched Cruze Series II sedan range.

The current Cruze sedan is available in four model lines (CD, CDX, SRi and SRi-V), with three engines (104kW/176Nm 1.8-litre petrol, 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbo petrol and 120kW/360Nm 2.0-litre diesel) and three transmissions (five- and six-speed manual, and six-speed automatic). The images show the new hatch in CD Diesel and SRi turbo designation.

Chevrolet confirmed earlier this year the Cruze hatch wouls have a 400-litre boot, which is larger than the current Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30.

The Holden Cruze sedan was the third-most popular passenger vehicle in Australia in April, with its 2582 sales trailing the Commodore (3075) and the Mazda3 (3044).

Stay tuned for more details on the new 2012 Holden Cruze hatch as its launch approaches later this year.