This article is part of the GM Authority Mailbag series, where the GM Authority Crew features and replies to your questions, comments, and observations.
The following comes to us from Bill in Boston:
I am a current Cruze owner and my lease will be up in a matter of months. For the two years I’ve had the pleasure to drive this car, I have come to love it like no other car I’ve ever driven. The Cruze is nearly perfect in pretty much every aspect a car buyer can care for: styling and design (inside and out), comfort and quietness great and useful technology (can’t begin to sing the praises of remote start), surefooted ride/handling, unparalleled safety, etc. I can go on about how great the Cruze really is. But for as long as I’ve had the pleasure of living with my 2011 Cruze LTZ, I’ve always dreamt of a high-performance version… something with a more powerful engine (200-250 hp) and some upgraded suspension, brakes, and looks. For the 2+ years of driving my Cruze, I’ve hoped that this kind of car will show up by the time my lease is up. Well, the lease will be up in a matter of months… and no fast Cruze.
So I’m calling out (more like pleading to) GM as well as any/all people who might be responsible for such a model: Jim Campbell, Mark Reuss, Chris Perry, and anyone and everyone who may be responsible for this kind of stuff. I’ve talked to everyone I know of: my dealer, OnStar, Chevy reps at my local auto show. I’ve read every single bit of news and material on GM Authority about a high-performance Cruze… and no one has been able to provide an answer as to why Chevy is electing not to participate in the high-performance compact space… and why Ford, VW, Subaru, Honda, and Mazda each have a high-performing compact, while Chevy (which does performance better than any of those manufacturers) is quietly sitting on the sidelines? The other guys don’t make excuses, they just do… with the Focus ST, VW Jetta GLI/Golf GTI, Subaru Impreza WRX, Honda Civic Si, and Mazda Speed3. The Cruze does pretty much everything better than its competitors… except for performance. And as I have read [on GM Authority], the Cruze is too good to waste on NOT creating a performance variant… so what’s the deal?
Here’s the irony in all of this: since I leased mine, six (yes, a whopping six) of my friends also bought/leased a Cruze. Five of us (myself included) moved to the Cruze from a larger model, as kind of a test to see if a compact car is livable. The test proved to be a success: the Cruze is more than livable, it’s downright perfect. Four of those six (and me) have been looking forward to a Cruze SS as a replacement for our LT and LTZ Cruzen (all of us are guys, by the way).
And it would seem that GM does not care about our business, since a Cruze SS (don’t care if it’s called SS, Z-Spec, or something else) is exactly what I need, but can’t buy. So now, I’m down to Ford (Focus ST) and VW (Jetta GLI).
It pains me to say this, but it looks like I’ll be buying the Mexican-built and slightly inferior Jetta… the Focus is a great drive, but Ford designers seem to lack the ability to make a compact car look good.
So can anyone please tell me if a high performing Cruze is coming? If it’s not, why not? Don’t give me that trite and inaccurate boilerplate that it’s not profitable or the demand is too low. None of that is true, since at least five manufacturers tend to think that a high-performance compact car is worth it. Give me something tangible, or give me nothing at all. Also, I don’t want a Buick, be it Verano, Regal, or something else. No rice, no fancy-pants luxury… just some compact performance for under $30,000. Is that too much to ask for?
The GM Authority Take
Bill, we are with you all the way. Sure, you and your friends may only be a handful of customers — but how many others are crossing the Cruze off their shopping list for not offering a performance model? We can’t stress how much this sucks, or how much we agree with your statement that the Cruze is too good a car to waste without a performance variant. The situation sucks, to say the least.
What sucks even more is that it would seems that GM will lose another customer to the up-and-coming VW, which is gunning to eat GM’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while being more profitable in the process. Even more depressing is the fact that GM has (and has had) all the know-how and all of the technology to make a Cruze SS happen (five years ago), such as a 2.0 liter turbo (in all its various levels of output/tune), torque steer-eliminating HiPer Strut front suspension, and all the other bits and pieces that can make a hi-po Cruze a reality.
We hope someone will be kind enough to shed some light on this topic… because maybe if we had a mere explanation of why we can’t have it, we might sleep better at night. But it still won’t help us with the grave reality.