Before we get started let me be frank, if the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze wore a badge from the Land of the Rising Sun the assorted automotive media would be falling head over heals for the thing. But it’s a Chevy, and Chevys not named Camaro or Corvette don’t seem to get much respect. And that’s a damn shame.
Because truth be told, the 2016 Chevy Cruze is possibly one of the most advanced cars in its segment.
Its proportions are almost paradoxical, Chevy made it bigger, longer and stronger– while the motor got more powerful, yet, the 2016 Cruze still manages to match segment leaders in terms of fuel economy.
Wrong. Chevy carved 250 lbs of cellulite from the old car– you cut 250 lbs from anything and it will go faster, stop shorter and change direction better; with less effort.
Now before we go any farther, let me just say General Motors is currently employing some of the very best chassis engineers in the world– you can disagree if you want, but you’ll be wrong.
The all-aluminum F-150 that Ford made all manner of sound and fury about being 600 lbs lighter is STILL 18 lbs heavier than the GMC Sierra (in certain configurations), we’re all familiar with the 400 lb diet they put the 6th Gen Camaro on and that’s before we even get to the OMG Omega chassis which leads all rivals in efficient mass.
So it’s unsurprising the body structure of the 2016 Cruze is the real star of the show; Team Chevy was able to take 100 pounds out versus 2015 through the use of “military grade”, high-strength steal which allowed them to use a thinner gauge.
When rolling with Jim Diamond, chief engineer of the Cruze project, I asked him how much the other teams in the chassis department may have influenced the Delta rider’s diet, Jim simply saying “Oh, they talk.”
Tangibly, what does it all mean though? The wheelbase grew 0.6 of an inch, overall length grew 2.7 inches– which in turn made the rear seat some 2 inches more spacious.
On the efficiency side it aids the car in reaching the upper echelons of the segment with 30 mpg city, 42 mpg hwy (LT Auto). Although I will say that I was able to turn the Cruze into a bit of a pig, being liberal with the throttle I was able to bring observed fuel mileage down to 18.9 mpg on the way out of the city. However on the way home I brought that back up to a respectable 38.8.
While we’re on the topic of efficiency, the Cruze matches the Volt’s 0.28 drag co-efficient which lead designer Stuart Cooper told me was no accident, the two cars coming through GM design concurrently and feeding into one another.
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