As a longtime fan of hot hatches, I was a bit skeptical of Chevrolet’s entry in the segment: the 2018 Cruze Hatch. I drove the LT Diesel model around all week and while I found this attractive little car with its two-tone interior color scheme to be appealing, it definitely came with some baggage.
The Cruze’s interior was a pleasant surprise while the exterior was certainly boosted by the RS Appearance package, which includes foglight, a rear spoiler, and a sport body kit. The LT trim also included a Sun and Sound package that includes a sunroof, ambient interior lighting, a nine-speaker Bose sound system and a larger 7-inch touchscreen infotainment. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sloping rear hatch. Unfortunately, it took away from the sleek styling of the rest of the match by giving it an overall egg-shaped profile.
On the LT 16-inch alloy wheels come standard and jump to 18-inch allow wheels with the RS package. Upgrades also include LED running lights and upgraded headlights, cruise control, heated mirrors, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.
The interior cabin is engaging with a design for a feeling of spaciousness. For a compact hatch, the cabin was roomy. The backseat had reasonable headroom and rear legroom is decent. More importantly, backseat passengers have a dedicated USB charger, always a plus in today’s super-connected world. Rear seating has a 60/40 split with 22.7 cu. ft. of cargo space with the seats up and 47.2 cu. ft. with the seats down.
The car has both soft and hard materials throughout. While there is still plenty of plastic, the attention to material feel and design deliver a more premium feel. The details to the dash and the contrasting leather seats, make the interior stylish and poised. The driver has powered seats while the passenger’s is manual. The front seats and steering wheel were both heated on the LT model.
The Cruze has a dual dial instrument cluster with a screen in the center containing pertinent driver info. The 7-inch infotainment touchscreen is crisp and an has an easy to use menu with standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto with Bluetooth capability.
Our 2018 Chevrolet Cruze hatch came with the a 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, delivering 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. There is a ‘Stop/Start’ feature available on the automatic but not on the manual. Interesting note: the ‘Stop/Start’ feature cannot be disabled on the Cruze like it can in most vehicles. With the diesel already being a bit sluggish, this “feature” is not so much a “feature,” instead, it just seems to provide for a slower response time. Other than that, the transmission does its job and distributes power effortlessly. EPA fuel economy rates the diesel hatch at 30 mpg/city and 45mpg/highway for a combined total of 35 mpg.
Pricing for the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze LT hatchback that I drove – $27,865.00.
For more on the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze, visit your local Chevrolet dealer or www.Chevrolet.com