SPRUNG here for the first time in a swirl of disguise on the streets of Frankfurt is the 2017 Holden Cruze hatch.
Australia will see this sleek five-door play off against the newly redesigned Holden Astra hatch (K series) slated for a late 2016 debut, joining the next-gen Holden Cruze sedan as the company’s entry-level small car combatant against the Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato, Mazda 3, and Toyota Corolla.
But that won’t happen until the existing JH-series Holden Cruze range ceases – along with full Australian vehicle production – at the end of 2017.
The German setting where the psychedelic 2017 Cruze hatch prototype was snapped underlines the under-the-skin relationship between it and the upcoming Holden Astra K (as well as also underpinning the second-generation Chevrolet Volt hybrid hatch that won’t come here), with both utilising variations of the new D2XX architecture that brings a lighter, stronger, and safer platform.
An overlap of drivetrains between the two GM C-segment small cars is also being reported, with 1.4- and 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engines, as well as a turbo-diesel unit, expected to make the cut. All will be driving to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or torque-converter automatic transmissions.
Compared with the current Chevrolet Cruze hatch, the 2017 version sits on a longer wheelbase (believed to match the corresponding sedan version’s 2700mm) for improved rear-seat space.
Some models will also adopt a variation of the Astra’s Watts Link rear suspension in lieu of the torsion beam arrangement, while better aerodynamics and the introduction of active safety systems -- blind spot monitoring, a system that warns you if you’re about to reverse into oncoming traffic, a lane keeping assistant, and a sensor that warns if you’re in danger of rear-ending the car in front – are among advances to the series.
Those with longer memories may recall that the existing Holden Cruze hatch, released when the Australian-built JH arrived in 2011, was designed at Fishermans Bend. Local input is not confirmed this time around, but the Cruze’s suspension and steering are likely to be tuned to local tastes at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground.
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