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Auto Show:  2012 Geneva Auto Show

Chevrolet Cruze Wagon Preview: Geneva Auto Show

author photo by Jeffrey Archer February 2012
  • Cargo volume will improve on the sedan and hatchback.
  • Five available engines will be offered in Europe.
  • The wagon is unlikely to make it to the US market.

Chevrolet will unveil a station wagon version of its compact Cruze next month at the Geneva Auto Show. The automaker recently previewed the new model ahead of its official debut, showing off photos and announcing several details including the wagon's available powerplants and its expected interior and exterior dimensions.

According to Chevrolet, the Cruze wagon measures 184 inches in length - three inches longer than the sedan and seven inches longer than the five-door Cruze hatchback, which recently went on sale in several markets outside North America. For consumers, the added length translates to more cargo volume, as Chevrolet says the wagon boasts nearly 53 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded flat. That makes the Cruze wagon far more cavernous than its sedan and hatchback stablemates and places its cargo capacity only slightly behind rivals like the Hyundai Elantra Touring and Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen.

On the outside, the Cruze wagon looks much like the popular compact sedan with an extended roofline and rear hatch added in place of its trunk. Distinctive features include sloping rear glass, trapezoidal rear side windows, and large taillights, while available roof rails give the wagon's flat roof the appearance of utility and increased length.

Under the hood, European versions of the Cruze wagon will offer a whopping five available engines. According to Chevrolet, gasoline motors will include 1.6-liter, 1.8-liter and turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder powerplants, while diesel power will come from 1.7-liter and 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engines. The automaker says both diesel engines and the 1.4-liter turbo motor come standard with fuel-saving start-stop technology, which shuts the compact car's engine off when idling to increase gas mileage.

Chevrolet says the Cruze wagon will also offer a host of upscale features including keyless access, which allows drivers to enter and start the vehicle without using the key, and MyLink, the automaker's new infotainment system. Available in conjunction with a center-mounted display screen, MyLink connects to smart phones and allows drivers to access apps, contact lists and stored music playlists.

But while the Cruze wagon may sound appealing to small families or young drivers looking for a practical vehicle, Chevrolet says it's not likely to make its way to the US market due to lack of demand. While wagon fans will likely mourn the loss, it's hard to argue with Chevrolet's reasoning as wagon body styles of the Jetta and Elantra struggle to account for 10 percent of those models' total sales. Nonetheless, we'll provide more information when the Cruze wagon makes its debut in Geneva in case the automaker changes its mind and decides to bring us the most practical Cruze yet.

What it means to you: As an American, likely nothing - the newest Cruze is just another practical wagon we'll miss out on due to lack of demand.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Chevrolet Cruze Wagon Preview: Geneva Auto Show - Autotrader