During our time with the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, we had the opportunity to pick the engineering team’s brains a tad. Naturally, as enthusiasts, we were curious as to where Chevrolet stands regarding compact performance vehicles. The question is currently unanswered within the brand’s portfolio, and the second-generation Cruze makes for an ample time to answer it.
Speaking with Craig Weddle, one of the lead development engineers for the 2016 Cruze, we asked how the brand feels about Ford and its Focus line of performance vehicles. Weddle stated Chevrolet is watching what Ford continues to do with its compact hatchback, and alluded to discussions within the team over a performance-oriented Cruze.
The question is, is there a market for it? Chevrolet has dipped its toes into the arena with the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro turbo, featuring the 2.0-liter LTG boosted four-cylinder. The 2.0L seems like a natural fit for a prospective “Cruze SS”, but there are no promises right now. Weddle made it clear, without confirming, the team has brought it up.
On paper, the business case differentiates itself. A performance Cruze sedan, or a hatchback, would be a completely different animal from the Camaro turbo, but pricing and market may eat into one another’s potential sales.
Weddle stated the Cruze sedan, hatchback and upcoming diesel were only “step one” for the second-generation car, with more to come down the road. Whether a hot hatch, or sedan, is born from the Cruze remains to be seen.