By on October 21, 2016

Chevrolet Cruze Hatch RS Blue Line

Tarted-up production cars revealed at the SEMA show aren’t exactly the stuff of shocked gasps and hurriedly sent text messages to friends, but there’s often some useful gear to come out of the annual trade jamboree.

The blue window tinting and wheels on the pair of Blue Line “concepts” trotted out by Chevrolet ahead of the show likely impressed no one, but it’s what lies beneath that matters. Starting next year, the bowtie brand will let owners of its newly redesigned compact gain some extra horsepower in a manner that won’t void the warranty.

Yes, the Cruze is joining the tuner scene.

Well, the factory tuner scene, to be clear. In its own conservative way, the automaker plans to spice up the Cruze by offering factory performance bits from Chevrolet Accessories. The Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic have ruled the scene for too long, it seems, and the previous generation Cruze might have been too stodgy to pull it off.

Not so with the 2017 Cruze RS Hatchback, which Chevy will send to SEMA festooned with every appearance and performance part it could think up. Non-performance accessories are already available, while a performance brake package bows before year’s end. That upgrade sees the Cruze’s 10.9-inch front rotors swapped for vented and slotted 11.8-inch discs.

Appearance upgrades include ground effects and suspension lowering kits, rear spoilers and neat-o lighting, but you’ll have to wait before Chevy helps your 153-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four breathe better. Starting in mid-2017, buyers — or owners — can order a performance air intake and exhaust system. If installed by the dealer, the vehicle’s warranty stays safe and sound.

The upgrades include a high-flow air filter and secondary inlet duct, along with a high-flow calibration exhaust system compliant in 50 states. Such a system could bring anywhere from five to 20 extra horsepower, though Chevy isn’t saying. It’s probably safe to expect the power gains to fall on the lower end of that range.

It’s a far cry from Golf R or Civic Type R territory, but anything that brings added grunt to the economy-minded Cruze is a good thing. Can you call it a hot hatch, though?

[Image: General Motors]

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32 Comments on “Chevrolet Will Cautiously Let Owners Wring More Power from the Cruze...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    They went the annoying “real people” route with the advertising on this thing. Earlier this week in my hotel a commercial came on for the hatch.

    “These are real people, not actors.”

    So they ask them what they think of it.

    Wow it’s super cool!
    Oh wow it’s a hatchback!
    It looks like you’re a businessperson and also a weekend warrior!

    UGHGHAGAIGaWGHAG shut up.

    • 0 avatar
      s_a_p

      If that is the way to “reach” millennials I’d rather not talk to them.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Those ads are a source of amusement for my wife and I. They show some midsize car and the “real people” say stuff like “is it a Rolls Royce?”

      “It must be so expensive, all four hubcaps match!”

    • 0 avatar
      Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

      CoreyDL, it pains me to have to defend GM, especially Chevy, however, they showed the car, it was an interesting color, they are advertising the fact that they have a hatchback. I believe that’s at least progress. You’ve seen the drop the toolbox in the truck bed commercial, they should be cained for that.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’ll give them both of those things – it’s good they’re offering a hatch, and I do like that orange is available. But the corny factor was extremely high, and the whole thing rang false.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      OH MY GOD I CAN’T STAND THOSE COMMERCIALS

      OMG THIS CHEVY LOOKS JUST LIKE AN AUDI

      OMG THIS CHEVY HAS THIS ONE SMALL FEATURE – MY BMW DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THAT!

      OMG THIS CHEVY STEERING WHEEL BUTTON IS MUCH NICER THAN A MERCEDES BENZ. …HUH? NO, I’VE NEVER ACTUALLY BEEN IN A MERCEDES LOLLOLOLOL

      OMG CHEVY WON THE GREEN ECO EMOJI MOST ANONYMOUS CAR OF THE YEAR AWARD

      OMG I SAT IN ONE, WAIT NOW YOU’RE TELLING ME IT COSTS ‘LESS THAN I WOULD THINK’? SWEET MOTHER OF OPRAH, WHERE DO I SIGN??? NO TEST DRIVE NECESSARY!!!!!!!!!

      If those are real people, then it proves most people are superficial morons.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Funny you say that. The steering wheel in the Impala does look like a rip-off of the W221 (2007-2013) S-Class, and it’s the one part of that car I really hate.

    • 0 avatar

      GM needs a Chief Marketing Officer, yesterday.

    • 0 avatar
      ozzypriest

      haha, yes, I feel the same way. “Oh my gosh! One word is not enough to describe this car!” I can think of lots single words to describe the car.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Who knew that the Cruze was up and coming the tuner community? Watch out VW.

  • avatar
    Storz

    Yawn.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      It’s a big yawn, especially when Ford is now offering to actually tune the programming to unleash some power. When Chevy lets us turn up the wick I will actually be impressed.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    No interest in the “tuner” bits, but as a hatchback fan, I’m liking this car. Yes it gets pricey because of the option package configurations, but so does the competition. All the reviews I’ve read about it have noted how quiet it is, a definite plus in my book. Not GTI competition, but way better MPG than a Elantra GT, more room than a Focus and no wonky autotrans, and no hideous Civic styling. Note: the rear bumper fascia shown above is part of the “RS” package. Non-RS trim is more subdued and tasteful, less Civic-y. Nice job Chevy.

  • avatar
    ldl20

    Rant in 3…2….1…

    What is the deal with designers adding fake vents/diffusers to lower bumpers (especially in the rear)? The lower valance of this hatch looks ridiculous, just like the one on the new Civic hatch. It’s like designers have taken cues from the overdone ground effects packages people used to put on their Eclipses, and made them the default design choice. Can’t wait to see this look on an Impala.

    Rant over.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I still don’t understand why GM hasn’t done a limited-production 2.0T version of either the previous Cruze or this one. There was a devoted Cobalt SS community and that would be a cheap and not too CAFE-horrible way to keep them in the fold.

    • 0 avatar
      MPAVictoria

      Agreed. The already have the engine and transmissions. Seems like an easy to add a bit of excitement to the model.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      And if if they had the right price, it would be a great alternative to Mini, the ST Fords, the Veloster, Civic Si, etc

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      They are reserving the 2.0T for the Cruzillac.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I was part of that community (cobalt ss/tc) and even though it was a crapbox on the inside, not a week goes by that I don’t miss that car. And the GM approved tune for that was 30hp/60lbs of torque. Best $600 I ever spent on a car.

      I feel like they don’t have “that guy” at GM anymore who was a little crazy and could develop a little car like that anymore. All of their resources are in the ATS/Camaro platform or the Vette and they used to have talented people like John Heinricy who could do some crazy things on a shoestring. Access to Saab parts probably helped that final product too, but GM has resources.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I wish they’d do a proper variant to compete with the Focus ST, Civic Si, Golf GTI and WRX. I mean, they built the Cobalt SS and that was pretty good. The new Cruze seems like an excellent foundation on which to base a real hot-hatch.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Those blue wheels are horrendous. It looks like the protective blue wrap on a brand new appliance.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    I’ll probably catch flak for this, but I’ve been waiting a long time for Chevy to nut up and make a fun 4-cylinder car again. The Cobalt SS looked so much fun, but I had ridden in a few and the interior and overall quality was extremely lacking. Chevy just seems to want to cram tiny little under-powered wheezing engines into everything and I just want them to make a fun car like Ford does with the Fiesta and Focus. This might finally be what I’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t even look bad! (Minus the blue tints and wheels, please do not give me those).

    So, you can imagine my excitement when reading the title of this article. Then I read the part where it’s a 1.5L that’ll make 170hp… Lame. I already make more than that in my tuned and slightly modded Focus. Dude, GM Performance Guy, whoever you are, shove a 2.0T under there and let me have some damn fun already. 260 horses please.

    #MakeChevy4CylsFunAgain

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If it was a 20 hp tune, that would be interesting. 5 hp? No sale. Of course if you are going to be that conservative, best not to advertise it with flashy badges or silly ground effects.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Cruze SS hatch or go home.

    I looked at the Cruze hatch the other day and it’s a nice car, but it has fallen victim to the Mazda 3 disease: you can option it up above 30 grand without even trying that hard. Maybe I’m old, but that’s insane for an economy car.

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