Technology sure has changed the landscape of the auto industry, making cars safer and more connected. But technology has also allowed automakers to keep models fresh and current, without making major upgrades to a vehicle’s overall look.
The introduction of the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze is an excellent case in point. The major changes are taking place in the technology, rather than in the way the vehicle looks, drives or handles.
"We've simply made a great, versatile car even better," said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet director of passenger car and crossover marketing. "Chevrolet continues to design, build and sell the most compelling small cars in its history and the 2015 Cruze offers more of the features, connectivity and efficiency that are important to today's customers.
“Along with Spark, Spark EV, Sonic and Volt, Chevy's lineup of efficient, technologically advanced small cars is one of the industry's most compelling."
Cruze is the cornerstone of Chevrolet's North American small-car lineup, which is attracting a greater share of the market and more young, first-time customers to Chevy showrooms.
"These new customers are discovering the fun, value and durability Chevy stands for," said Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Marketing. "In fact, Chevrolet is second among buyers under 25, as the brand continues to grow share in the small-car segments.
The Cruze's facelift for 2015 refreshes the appearance for LS, LT, RS and LTZ models. A new prominent dual-port front fascia takes styling cues from Impala and Malibu, contributing a more cohesive look across Chevrolet's sedan range – including LED daytime running lamps on LT and LTZ trims. They complement the Cruze's swept-back headlamps, for a sportier presence. Several new exterior and interior colors will also be offered for 2015.
In addition to LS, LT, RS and LTZ models, the 2015 Cruze lineup also includes Cruze Eco that is EPA-rated at 42 miles per gallon on the highway and the Cruze Diesel that achieves 46 miles per gallon on the highway.
The new enhanced connectivity and convenience features for the 2015 Cruze include a new Text Message Alerts feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile, which reads incoming texts through the vehicle's speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users to enhance connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity, to help keep phones in pockets and hands on the wheel.
OnStar 4G LTE with available Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers with easy access to apps and services that require a high-speed data connection. 4G LTE is the most current and fastest mobile data network – 10 times faster than 3G.
When used with OnStar, it offers stronger, broader coverage than smartphones on the same network and it's easy to use. If the vehicle is on, the connection is on, allowing passengers to connect personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, to high-speed wireless Internet. Each vehicle can accommodate seven devices at one time.
The Chevrolet AppShop, which will be available a little later in the model year, allows owners to view all available apps and download them directly to the vehicle, then organize, update or delete them as needed. Available apps connect drivers to vehicle data, music, news, weather, travel information and more.
Certainly, those improvements will appeal to the younger generation, many of whom are getting into vehicles for the first time. Those who are a little more mature will no doubt like the smaller changes, such as the revised cup holders that make it easier to insert and remove cups, or the trunk release that’s now on the center console. They even moved the door lock switches from the center console to the front doors, where they are much easier to find.
For parents thinking of buying a Cruze for college students, the Cruze also offers more standard safety features than any other car in its class, including 10 standard air bags. There are even side-impact and knee air bags for front passengers. The Cruze also offers side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist and a rearview camera.
Regardless of your age or technological inclination, the 2015 Cruze offers a very good value with a low cost of ownership. It’s just one of the reasons Chevrolet is doing so well with younger drivers, which bodes well for the brand moving forward.