The new global small sedan will initially go on sale in the US early in 2016, and it differs from the Chevrolet Cruze for China that came before it, but it’s still very much designed for buyers who prefer small three-box models to hatchbacks. The new model is described by General Motors as "a larger and lighter, more efficient and more sophisticated evolution of the brand’s best-selling global car".
Holden senior manager of product communications, Kate Lonsdale, told CarAdvice that there's nothing to confirm for the local market just yet.
“The all-new Cruze is a very exciting next generation product however we have no announcements to make at this time," a statement from Lonsdale read.
"Holden is absolutely committed to leveraging GM’s global product portfolio to provide the best vehicles for our customers and as such will take a very close look at this vehicle."
Globally, it appears the pitch for the new Cruze sedan is clearly aimed at younger buyers, with the Chevrolet press team concocting a teaser media release earlier this week that consisted purely of emojis (little graphic icons, rather than words, because the Gen Z and Millennial crowd are clearly in the market to spend $20-$30K on a sedan…).
As you'd expect, there's plenty of technology, including the new MyLink infotainment system that has been updated to be compatible with both Apple CarPlay (at launch) and Android Auto (later) interfaces for "smart, simple smartphone integration". As well as that, the system offers a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot allowing for up to seven devices to be connected at once.
Inside, GM claims the new Cruze is "more comfortable" for the driver and passengers, with more rear leg-room and knee room than before (and more than the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, according to GM), as well as a "greater perceptual spaciousness".
The new interior design does look a big step up on the current Cruze, including revised instrumentation with a 4.2-inch colour screen between the dials, and there will be both a 7.0- or 8.0-inch media screen depending on the model.
Of course there’s also Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, and a touchscreen infotainment system that doubles as a monitor for a standard reverse-view camera.
On the topic of safety, there's been another big step forward for the new Cruze, as it is fitted with ten airbags (dual front, dual front knee, front side, rear side and full length curtain) as standard, and comes with optional items such as blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance and a forward collision mitigation system.
The new Cruze is built on an "all-new, more rigid and lighter architecture" - the same one that underpins the new Opel Astra (known as D2XX) - and it is said to be 27 per cent stiffer in the body structure and also 24 kilograms lighter than the current car, while the company claims that overall weight losses for some models range up to 113kg. GM claims the new model is "more agile with a dynamic driving experience".
Under the bonnet is a standard 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection that produces 113kW of power and 240Nm of torque. It can be had with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, and GM is claiming a 0-100km/h time of about 8.0 seconds.
GM estimates will offer fuel consumption of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres, and the engine also has stop-start to help save fuel in urban driving. There's a diesel model coming, too, which is due in 2017 according to a release from the brand.
As for its proportions, the new Cruze is 68 millimetres longer than the current version (4666mm) but 25mm shorter in height (1458mm), which helps cut its co-efficient of drag down to 0.29 and "giving it a longer and leaner appearance". It measures 1795mm wide and rides on a longer wheelbase than the current Cruze (now 2700mm, while the current version is 2685mm).
In the US the car will be offered in four specifications: L, LS, LT and the sporty Premier seen in these images - though the car in these shots also has the RS pack, which includes "unique grilles, front and rear fascias, fog lamps, front splitter, rocker panels, rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels".
That top-spec model is the more performance-oriented of the lot, with a quicker steering rack, different rear suspension (Z-link as opposed to torsion beam) and those larger wheels where lower-spec models have 15s, 16s or 17s.
While nothing is confirmed at this point in time it is highly likely that Holden will import the new-generation Cruze from South Korea in sedan form only when the current Cruze model – which is built in Australia in hatchback and sedan bodystyles – ends production in 2017.
However, overseas reports are claiming that Chevrolet will sell the new-generation Cruze alongside the older model, which will be referred to as Cruze Limited.
So, if the sedan comes from South Korea, where will the hatch come from? The most likely answer is Europe, in the form of the new-generation Opel Astra.
But it could potentially get even more confusing for Holden, with US journal Automotive News reporting that there will be a new-generation Chevrolet Cruze hatchback that will be sold alongside the sedan in some markets.
According to the report, General Motors executives showed dealers such a car at an event in Las Vegas last week.
If it were to be the case that both the Cruze sedan and Astra hatch were to be sold as separate models, Holden wouldn’t be the first brand to do so.
Hyundai has the Elantra sedan and i30 hatch which, if combined or named identically to one another, would be close to becoming the highest-selling car in the country alongside the Toyota Corolla (which consists a Japanese-built hatch and Thai-built sedan) and the Mazda 3 sedan and hatch.
Other examples of duality in small car model mixes include the Volkswagen Golf hatch and Jetta sedan, and Renault Megane and Fluence (the latter of which has been axed).