Auto show season is here (the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show kicks off tomorrow), and that means that we can expect a stream of new-vehicle announcements and unveilings right through next spring. General Motors will formally debut the 2011 Chevy Cruze tomorrow in L.A. -- an economy car it hopes will be a solid competitor and alternative to longtime reviewer favorites such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
In fact, GM namechecks both the Civic and Corolla in its official announcement, saying that the Cruze will offer more passenger and cargo room than either of the Japanese econo-sedan stalwarts. Additionally, the interior is designed to appeal to the style-conscious, and will be available with a variety of up-level features and electronic gadgetry.
Two four-cylinder engines will be offered, including a turbocharged 138-horsepower 1.4-liter unit for mid- and upper-level trims that GM claims will achieve 40 mpg "with a high-efficiency model." In its coverage of the announcement, Cars.com's David Thomas figures that the peak fuel economy package is likely to include tweaks such as low rolling resistance tires. Base cars will get a non-turbocharged 136-horsepower 1.8-liter four cylinder. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but if General Motors is serious about taking on the class leaders in the economy segment head-on, we'd expect to see window stickers that start at or, more likely, below the competition.
Of course, it's all talk until the Cruze hits the road, which will happen in the third quarter of 2010. Once reviewers start getting seat time and doing head-to-head comparisons against the likes of the Civic, Corolla, Ford Focus, and other popular mainstream economy sedans, we'll let you know what they have to say. In the meantime, starting tomorrow, you should be able to find plenty of first impressions from all the major magazines and websites as they weigh in after seeing the car in person in L.A.