European markets will be gaining a new variant of the popular Chevrolet Cruze sedan that most likely will remain on the other side of the Atlantic. The Chevrolet Cruze station wagon is due to have its day in the sun in March at the Geneva Motor Show where its full specs will be unveiled to the global automotive media.
The upcoming Chevrolet Cruze station wagon is set to do battle with German stalwarts such as the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen in order to win over the hearts of families who are interested in a compact car that offers the practicality of a hatchback, but with a somewhat larger footprint. The wagon is in fact that largest vehicle to wear the Cruze name up to this point, measuring three inches longer than the American market sedan and offering just a tick under 53 cubic feet of total cargo space with the rear row of seating folded down.
Powering the Chevrolet Cruze station wagon are a surprisingly varied list of available drivetrains. U.S.-based Cruze fans will be familiar with the 1.4-liter turbo and 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines (each of which generates 138 horsepower), but joining this pair are a 1.6-liter gas unit, a 1.7-liter turbodiesel and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel (each of which offers four cylinders). Chevrolet has also given all three turbo engines (gas and diesel) automatic start / stop technology in order to improve fuel mileage.
GM points to the poor market performance of compact wagons in the United States as the primary reason for opting against importing the Chevrolet Cruze station wagon in the near future. Chevrolet does have a history, however, of selectively targeting certain North American markets where compact cars are strong performers and introducing nameplates there that are simply not available in the U.S. A prime example is the compact Chevrolet Orlando crossover, a small van that is available in Canada but not south of the border. The potential exists for General Motors to experiment in a similar manner with the Cruze wagon before bringing it to American showrooms.
The compact segment remains one of the last bastions of wagon success outside of Europe and Asia, with brands as diverse as the previously-mentioned Volkswagen, Subaru and until recently Saab and Volvo all participating. Hyundai offers a wagon edition of the Hyundai Elantra, while German luxury brands such as BMW and Audi also provide long-roofed editions of their popular entry-level sedans.
Pictured: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze