We regret to inform you that the second generation Chevrolet Cruze produced in Rosario, Argentina, will be mechanically identical to the one sold in the USA. There was the expectation that it would be powered by the bigger 1.5 Ecotec DOHC VVT DI engine used by Malibu, but GM decided to have exactly the same 1.4 Ecotec DOHC engine sold in other markets. What, if it repeats the experience Fiat has had with the Linea, will probably prove to be a huge mistake.
The all-aluminum engine used by the Malibu has a 1,490 cm³ displacement, with a 74 mm bore and an 86.6 mm stroke. Maximum output is 121 kW at 6,000 rpm, better than the 118 kW initially expected from it. Torque is 250 Nm from 2,000 rpm up to 4,000 rpm. The 1.4, on the other hand, delivers 113 kW at 5,000 rpm and 245 Nm at 2,000 rpm, according to the information released by GM Argentina. The Fiat Linea had 112 kW at 5,500 rpm and 207 Nm from 2,250 rpm up to 4,500 rpm.
You may think that the D2XX platform, the same one used by Chevrolet Volt and Buick Envision, possibly the replacement for the Chevrolet Captiva Sport, could help a bit. After all, it allowed the new Cruze to be 113 kg lighter than the previous model, at 1,330 kg. But it is 5 kg heavier than the Linea. What may really aid in some way are the transmission options (manual and automatic), both 6-speed. That will make the engine reach the maximum torque faster, preventing the feeling of lack of power in lower revs. But, considering the profile of Cruze drivers in South America, we are not sure if it will help at all.
The new Cruze is 4.67 m long, 1.80 m wide, 1.46 m high and has a wheelbase of 2.70 m. It has a trunk of 419 l and a fuel tank of 52 l, small for flex fuel engines, especially if they are to run on ethanol. It presents tire pressure monitor (TPM), OnStar, BlindSpot Alert and the MyLink 2 sound system with 7 or 8-inch touchscreens, depending on the trim version. In Argentina, it will be offered in LT (only manual), LTZ (manual and automatic) and LTZ Plus (only automatic).
The new Cruze will be probably presented in other South American markets, such as Brazil, in the second semester. But we find it a pity that GM has not given Cruze the engine it deserved. If it receives a different treatment than the one Fiat Linea has deserved, it will be difficult to explain why the older sedan was considered underpowered and erratic and the new one is praised. Especially with the perspective of a the 10th generation Honda Civic with an attractive 1.5 turbo petrol engine about to be presented.