Room and a better view | 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback First Drive

The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback has finally come to America. While the first-generation Cruze offered both hatchback and wagon variants, they only went to those lucky ducks overseas. Although American drivers have historically been more interested in sedans, the US car market is changing, with roughly 350,000 hatches being registered each year now. In offering the new Cruze hatchback here, Chevrolet hopes to take a chunk of that market.

Judging just from the exterior, the Cruze hatch has a good chance of snagging some sales. The already handsome front end finally gets the tail it deserved, solving the stylistic problem with the Cruze sedan – its trunk section looks a bit awkward and narrow compared to its low, wide nose. The hatch's wider, wraparound taillights and bumper-mounted license plate go a long way toward fixing that. The car also looks a bit more squat and athletic with its 7.4-inch-shorter rear overhang. Despite the shorter overall length, the hatch retains the sedan's 106.3-inch wheelbase and its passenger interior dimensions.

Those opting for the hatch over the four-door also get a natty little spoiler at the back regardless of whether they pick the LT or Premier trim. Opting for the RS package on top of either trim level will swap the spoiler for a larger one, while also subbing in more aggressive front and rear bumpers and adding side skirts. LT RS cars like the one we drove stick with their 16-inch wheels, while the Premier RS gets an upgrade from 17-inchers to 18s. Read more...

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08 Jan 2017

By Joel Stocksdale