It’s becoming more difficult to find suitable mounting points for license plates on the front of new cars. Case in point: the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze sedan and hatchback, which follow the big-grille trend, expanding it further into the bumper. The new grille also sports a curvaceous and highly textured structure that looks too pretty to obscure with a plate.
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The new front styling more or less parallels the one on the also revised 2019 Malibu and is the most obvious change to the 2019 Cruze. Other changes for 2019 don’t fuss with this compact’s successful visual formula, which has been in place since this generation debuted for 2016. Mildly reworked headlights, taillights (LEDs on the top Premier trim), and wheel designs will be tougher to spot. The RS package now borrows the black window surrounds, badges, and alloy wheels from the Redline package.
Inside is Chevrolet’s new Infotainment 3 system, which is a reskinned version of Cadillac’s latest version of CUE. It’s controlled by a 7.0-inch touchscreen that also responds to swiping gestures and is standard across the line. Higher trims with navigation can store and load user profiles from the cloud, allowing transfer of a driver’s home screen, audio presets, saved destinations, and contacts into any compatible Chevy. Wireless software updates and live traffic are also included. Elsewhere, the interior design is carryover, save for a new brown leatherette on the Premier and additional black trim on all models.
Chevrolet also is a little more generous with equipment. The Premier now adds automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection to the suite of driver assists (most of which aren’t available on lesser models) and standard automatic climate control. Remote start is now standard on the LT, and a heated steering wheel is a new option.
The two engines and two automatic transmissions stay the same, but the six-speed manual is no longer (GM cited a take rate of just a couple percent). The turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four with 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque pairs with a six-speed automatic, and Chevrolet is estimating its fuel economy as up to 40 mpg highway for the sedan, 38 mpg for the hatchback. The 137-hp 1.6-liter turbo-diesel with its sturdy 240 lb-ft is expected to offer even better fuel economy, at up to 47 mpg with the diesel-exclusive nine-speed automatic. That’s impressive, except the 2018 Cruze diesel sedan with the manual posted a 52-mpg highway rating.
Expect the first 2019 Cruze models on sale by the fall. In states like Michigan where front license plates aren’t required, they’ll look even better.