Morgan Pritchett
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History of the Chevrolet Cruze

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A red 2011 Chevrolet Cruze parked on a concrete road
2011 Chevy Cruze
Photo: Chevrolet

With some confusion surrounding the use of the Cruze nameplate, this Chevy model has an interesting history that spans a little over a decade. Although the vehicle was eventually discontinued, it was still considered a favorite by many.


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Early history

Prior to the Chevy Cruze being released globally as a compact sedan, General Motors was using the “Cruze” nameplate for an SUV-like hatchback in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan that mimicked the Suzuki Ignis. However, in August of 2008, the sedan version of the Cruze was introduced as a compact car and as a replacement for the outgoing Cobalt.

Even though it was introduced in 2008, it wasn’t until 2010 that the Cruze started production in the U.S. at the Lordstown, Ohio, plant. Not too long after it was introduced, the Cruze was given a minor facelift that was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. This included new alloy wheels, an available GM MyLink entertainment system, an updated grille and headlamps, and a new front fascia with redesigned air vents near the fog lights. The Cruze received more updates in 2014 including a clean diesel engine option in the U.S. and design changes to align with the stylings of the Malibu.

A red 2019 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback drives on a highway road among the mountains
2019 Chevy Cruze Hatchback
Photo: Chevrolet

Later generation

In 2016, the Chevy Cruze entered its second generation with a much more modern look. While the vehicle was originally available as a sedan, hatchback, and wagon, the wagon option was axed for the new generation. The new design featured a split grille front and a sloping roofline similar to a fastback. Inside, the Cruze received tech updates like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.

Before it was discontinued in 2019, Chevy announced a facelift for the model in early 2018. A new, more affordable trim was offered while the six-speed manual was removed. The Cruze also got tech upgrades and a new version of the RS Package for certain trim levels. The 2019 Cruze went on sale in November 2018, but production at the Lordstown plant concluded just four months later on March 6, 2019.

Did you know?

The Chevrolet Cruze competed in the motorsport world starting in 2009. Pro driver Yvan Muller won the World Touring Car Championship in 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, Jason Plato won the British Touring Car Championship in 2010 and Rickard Rydell won the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship in 2011.