A sporty hot-hatch version of the all-new Chevrolet Cruze hatchback revealed at the 2016 Detroit auto show appears imminent.
The new Cruze hatchback – which may or may not be sold in Australia – was shown in RS guise, but unlike Chevrolet’s arch-rival Ford, with its Focus RS, the bowtie version is more about looking sporty than offering enormous performance.
That isn’t to suggest that a hotter version won’t eventuate, though. Chevrolet executive vice president Alan Batey indicated to CarAdvice at the 2016 Detroit show that a faster version of the Cruze hatch is on the cards.
“We’ve really positioned this as sporty, and to appeal to those young, fashion-conscious consumers that are looking for something in the compact segment,” he said, with the Cruze’s 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine (with 114kW of power and 240Nm of torque) a standard fit for the US market.
When asked if there is potential for a performance model – with a big engine – to come, he said: “Yes – for sure, for sure”.
Batey went on to talk about the fact the car is built on a global architecture that allows engine sharing between compact models, and so a proper hardcore version is “absolutely” possible.
“This is a vehicle we’ve developed specifically to be sporty, to be stylish, and we think the hatchback philosophy delivers on that,” he said.
When asked when we could expect that sort of car, Batey remained tight-lipped.
“We’ve got nothing to announce at this point apart from what we’ve said today.
Batey went on to suggest that he expects the different designs of the Cruze hatch and sedan to appeal to different buyers.
“What’s impressive to me, and what’s important to me, is that they’re so differentiated, and that’s going to give consumers a great choice,” he said.
The Chevrolet Cruze will not be sold alongside the Opel Astra, Batey confirmed, but that’s more a brand focus thing than a market-specific issue.
“We’re not going to sell Chevrolet and Opel alongside each other. We made that decision to separate the brands when we decided we wouldn’t be selling in Europe with the Chevrolet brand. And so Astra, and Opel, is our strategy for GM in Europe,” he said.
When asked about Australia, where Batey was chairman and managing director of Holden from 2009 to 2012, the Chevrolet chief had little to say.
“I have a bit a history at Holden, but I’m not here today to talk about Holden,” he pointed out.
Tell us what you think – should Holden bring the Cruze to sit alongside the Astra hatch, which has already been confirmed for our market?