Despite growing in every direction and packing in more active safety tech, the new Chevrolet Cruze has managed to shed 250 pounds (113 kg) from its predecessor's kerb weight.
Much of the 2016 Cruze's weight saving has come from the new body structure, which uses high-strength steel for a larger portion of the body for a weight loss of 53 pounds (24 kg) and a 27 percent improvement in body stiffness. Chevrolet's focus on weight saving has also spread to the the suspension, where its engineers have used aluminum.
Chevy claims this weight saving translates the into sharper handling, boosted by quicker electric power steering and a wider front and rear track that should help keep it planted in the bends.
Chevy's engineers have drawn on their experiences with the Volt to keep the car's drag coefficient down to 0.29, while stylists have worked hard to give the body panels a layered, complex look. We're not sure if you could call the design complex, but with its sloping roofline and swept back headlamps the Cruze is a handsome looking car.
The new Cruze offers 2 inches (51 mm) more rear knee room than its predecessor and if you're keen to pamper rear seat passengers, it can be fitted with rear seat heaters.
Chevy has packed the Cruze's cabin full of tech. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included if owners choose to have their car fitted with the optional 8-inch MyLink system.
There's also plenty of active safety technology like forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot warnings and a rear cross-traffic alert.
At its American launch, the Cruze will be fitted with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 153 hp (113 kW) and 240 Nm of torque – enough to send it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8 seconds. The engine is fitted with an aluminum cylinder block and head, and takes advantage of a low-friction oil pump, camshaft drive and low-friction piston rings for improved efficiency.
GM is claiming the Cruze will achieve around 40 mpg (5.9 l/100km) on the highway, which equates to a maximum range of 530 miles (853 km). No official combined figure has been released yet.
Chevrolet is yet to release pricing details for the Cruze, but we do know that it will be available in four different trim levels: L, LS, LT and Premier.