LAS VEGAS – Don’t count out cars yet, was the overreaching message from Chevrolet executives here in Las Vegas, even though truck and SUV sales have been soaring on both sides of the border.
The company detailed how Chevrolet is reacting to the market shifts here, noting that there will be fewer individual options and therefore combinations available in general, but more packages and features that consumers want. Interestingly, Chevrolet is taking measures to ensure that it is better covering both the lower end and the higher end of the segments it competes in – which is basically all of them – with a particular emphasis on the lower end of each price segment in the US. In Canada, the car market is slightly different, said a GM Canada official, where car buyers are trending towards higher-end trims, which will be reflected in our market offerings.
So what does this mean for the refreshed 2019 Cruze, Malibu, and Spark gathered here? Read on to find out.
2019 Chevrolet Cruze
Chevy’s main car seller in Canada is the compact Cruze, and the ’19 Cruze brings an all-new front fascia and grille, while a new LS model for the popular hatchback slots in below the current LT models.
Other styling changes include new wheel designs, a more upscale rear LED treatment on top-flight Premier models, and blacked-out RS trim pieces. But the end result of building 50 percent fewer build combinations for the Cruze is that it can add popular options like automatic climate control and remote start further down the price ladder, now standard on LT and Premier models.
Available in 1.4L gas and 1.6-litre diesel models, the Cruze is still one of the few compact cars to offer 4G connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, though it does require a separate data subscription. Chevrolet’s new Infotainment 3 system will be standard on the 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen, a system that uses preferences, store in the cloud, to allow drivers and passengers to create their own profile with individualized station presets, display settings, and contacts, among other choices.
The 2019 prices won’t be announced until closer to its late summer/early fall on-sale date, but the current Cruze Hatchback starts at an MSRP of $20,995.
2019 Chevrolet Malibu
The mid-size Malibu adds its first-ever RS trim for 2019, packaging together 18-inch wheels, blacked-out mirror caps, a subtle rear spoiler, and an overall “bad boy” look and attitude, but one which won’t break the bank.
There’s a new CVT coming that should slightly improve the fuel efficiency over the current six-speed automatic, paired with the 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, whose average of 7.8 L/100 km overall average, which outside of hybrid and plug-in mid-size offerings, is already the best-in-segment for fuel efficiency.
Actually, the Malibu Hybrid is the most efficient of the current mid-size hybrid sedans as well, at a 5.1 L/100 km overall rating. But judging from the lack of information on the Malibu Hybrid at this 2019 sneak peek event, it looks like this hybrid model will be one of the sacrificed variants, unfortunately.
The aforementioned Infotainment 3 system will be standard, along with a new rear camera system on L models. Heated rear seats will be available on Premier models now, finally, though it should be noted that Hyundai and Kia offered these first.
New LED lighting for both LT and Premier models further emphasis the car’s premium look, and that includes rear LED lighting for both trims as well.
Expect the revised 2019 Malibu to arrive in the fall, to better battle the recent new generations of Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, both of which received a healthy dose of aggressive styling.
2019 Chevrolet Spark
The big news for the 2019 Spark is the addition of some new high-tech safety gear, as well as a couple of different candy colours to the Spark’s already expressive palette.
The Spark will be the first in its entry-level city car class to offer Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, said GM Canada officials, which in Canada will join the optional Driver Confidence package, along with forward collision warning alert (FCW) and lane-departure warning (LDW).
This is a much more competitive market than in the US, with the Nissan Micra hatchback leading by its aggressive pricing. There’s still no other car in this class that offers standard Wi-Fi. An updated grille is coming to help differentiate the 2019, along with available LED daytime running lights to bring it closer to the fresher corporate Chevrolet look.
The high-tech content continues with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with access to a MyChevrolet mobile app that will offer remote functionality for door locks and other features.
A manual transmission will continue to be offered on the base model, with an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) available. The 1.4L four-cylinder remains, which currently tops the fuel efficiency list of subcompact cars at an overall average of 7.1 L/100km – not counting electrified Prius c models or all-electric Smart two-seat city runabouts.