Acknowledging that hand-me-down, antiquated mechanicals are not acceptable these days, Chevrolet used GM's Delta II platform when it developed the Cruze saloon – the same component set used by the current Vauxhall Astra and Ampera. So there’s little that’s backward or old-tech about this car, even under the skin.
The Cruze’s body is a welded high-strength steel monocoque frame made up of beams, pressings and box sections. Suspension is by MacPherson struts at the front and a compound crank torsion beam at the rear. You could claim the Astra’s Watt’s linkage and the Focus’s all-independent set-up makes the Cruze’s look relatively unsophisticated, but it’s anything but crude. Hydraulic bushings are fitted to improve ride isolation, for instance, and the front suspension dials out lateral forces with specially designed springs.
The concave shoulder line, which runs from the front wings and along the car’s waist to blend into the rear, is a design feature of all Chevrolets, along with the crease and clutter-free lower body sides. The grille, bisected by a body-coloured strip is known as a dual-port grille and comes complete with an enlarged Chevy bow-tie badge in stippled gold.
Elongated, raked-back headlights are the most dramatic styling cue. They go a long way towards giving the Cruze a sharp, modern appearance. The LED rear lamps project the Chevrolet bow-tie shape when they illuminate, for night-time identification.