A mild interpretation of the Cruze’s customized potential

The annual SEMA show is just around the corner, and with its imminent arrival comes a long lineup of spruced-up, tricked-out, customized automobiles to ogle and lust after. The latest batch comes from Chevrolet, which just announced plans to drop cover on more than 20 individual models at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Among them are two new examples from the Blue Line series, including the 2017 Cruze RS five-door you see here. Bearing both concept-exclusive and production-ready accessories, the Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line is a mild upgrade over the stock vehicle, and will arrive in Vegas with new exterior styling components, a snazzier interior, a few extra horses under the hood, and crisper handling.

All in all, the hatch is pretty unremarkable compared to the average SEMA car, but it does do a decent job in showing off the Bowtie’s catalogue of accessories. If you’re a Chevy Cruze hatchback owner, then this thing might provide the inspiration needed to start modding.

Either way, Chevy says it’ll debut the Blue Line’d Cruze as a means to test the waters and see how the public reacts. You’ll have to wait until November 1st for the full public reveal, but for now, check out our review for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line.

Exterior

2017 Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line High Resolution Exterior
- image 692354

Placing the Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line alongside its standard-issue sibling, we find very few notable differences. The biggest change is the addition of new 18-inch wheels. These rollers are concept-only units for the time being, and come with a slate blue metallic finish. The wheel design looks very similar to the Cruze’s stock rollers, which also get a split five-spoke layout. However, the Blue Line’s wheels see each spoke shifted slightly to create a “turbine” kind of look.

As is, color me meh.

Continuing the blued-out theme is a special window tint that matches the color of the new wheels. Finally, Chevy installed a new chrome grille insert, an accessory that’s available for purchase right now, and applied a generous heaping of Genesis White paint across the body panels.

The blue-on-white theme is a nice touch, but it all feels pretty lifeless for a SEMA concept. Sure, there’s more color, but the look is far too close to the regular model. I would have preferred something a little more dramatic for the hatch, like maybe a blue mesh grille, or some louvers in the hood, or blue housings for the headlights – anything to make it stand out a little more. As is, color me meh.

Interior

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback High Resolution Interior
- image 680013

Note: 2017 Chevrolet Cruze pictured here.

Chevy didn’t provide us with any pictures to give us a peek at the interior of this thing, but was kind enough to list a few of the details in a press release.

The Bowtie added custom satin graphite accents, which can be found on the instrument panel, shift knobs, and door inserts.

For starters, the Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line gets the standard black upholstery on the seats and various other surfaces. To this, the Bowtie added custom satin graphite accents, which can be found on the instrument panel, shift knobs, and door inserts.

As you might expect, there are new production-ready accessory parts as well. On the driver’s side, you’ll find a new sport pedal kit, while ingress and egress gains a dash of style thanks to illuminated doorsills. Finally, there’s an interior trim kit, which according to Chevy’s website, includes a shift lever trim plate, and an I/P trim plate.

It’s the right kind of upgrades considering the limited mods for the exterior, and I’d be interested to see how they turn out as a complete package, especially with the new satin graphite accents.

Drivetrain

I’d love it if I could tell you this show concept came packing a full Corvette Z06 drivetrain and powerplant, but unfortunately, that’s not the case this time. Instead, the mild theme continues with a few basic performance upgrades.

Chevy didn’t say what the mods do for peak output figures, but if I were to guess, I’d say an extra 5 horsepower or so sounds about right.

As a refresher, the Cruze is equipped with a turbocharged, all-aluminum, 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. There’s direct injection, variable valve timing, and four valves per cylinder. Power is routed to the front axle by way of a six-speed transmission, in either manual or automatic flavorings.

Output is rated at 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

The Blue Line adds to these foundations with a new performance air intake and exhaust, both of which are a go for production and will be made available for purchase by mid-2017.

The intake is said to feature a high-flow filter and secondary inlet duct for less restriction, while the exhaust reduces engine backpressure.

Chevy didn’t say what the mods do for peak output figures, but if I were to guess, I’d say an extra 5 horsepower or so sounds about right. However, the biggest improvement with breathing mods is usually increased acoustic goodness, with whooshing intake noises in front, and a throaty growl from the rear.

Critically, both the intake and exhaust pieces are 50-state emissions legal, and as long as you get them installed at a certified Chevy dealer, they won’t void the car’s warranty either.

Chassis And Handling

2017 Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line High Resolution Exterior
- image 692354

To complement the refreshed engine, Chevy installed a few handling enhancements, starting with everyone’s favorite, the trusty ‘ole lowering kit. This kit is available for purchase now, and includes a larger front stabilizer bar and a ride height that’s lowered by 0.4 inches.

These upgrades should help sharpen the hatchback’s handling, but it’s difficult to see much of a change in the car’s stance. The wheel gap looks pretty much stock.

Moving on, the final pieces of the puzzle are new performance brakes. Under those blue concept rims, you’ll find larger 11.8-inch rotors from Duralife. These plus-sized vented and slotted units replace the stock 10.9-inch rotors in front, and come with the requisite upgraded calipers as well. The kit works with both the sedan and hatchback body style, and will fit under 16-inch wheels. Interested buyers will be able to purchase the kit by the end of 2016.

Conclusion

2017 Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line High Resolution Exterior
- image 692355

Overall, I’m not really that impressed by the Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line. Sure the upgrades are tasteful and well executed, but it’s a little difficult to get excited after seeing some of the wilder creations slated to show at SEMA.

That said, I don’t want to sling too much negativity towards this thing. It’s still a fine showcase of what a typical enthusiast can do with this car, and in that respect, it’s quite successful.

But the problem is Chevy is bringing it to SEMA, where some of the most over-the-top custom autos on the planet are known to congregate. It’s a bit like bringing a butter knife at an ICBM fight, if you know what I mean.

But that’s okay. I’m sure there are at least a few Cruze owners out there who can appreciate what Chevy did with the Blue Line’d hatchback. Just don’t expect it to turn too many heads on the show floor.

  • Leave it
    • * Not really that exciting
    • * No info on performance mod gains
    • * Will get lost in the craziness of SEMA

Press Release

Chevrolet previewed the Malibu and Cruze RS hatchback Blue Line concepts today ahead of their Nov. 1 public debut at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Blending equal parts style, performance and function, they demonstrate the lifestyle and personalization possibilities of the brand’s latest vehicles — all with sophisticated aesthetics. Both of the concept vehicles feature Genesis White exteriors accented with blue-tinted windows and 18-inch concept wheels painted slate blue metallic.

“The Chevrolet Blue Line Series concepts integrate accessories that offer greater personalization choices for customers,” said Roger McCormack, director, Accessories and Performance Parts Marketing. “Each vehicle wears production and concept accessories thematically linked under the Blue Line Series banner. We look forward to gauging public reaction at the SEMA Show and other venues.”

The production and concept accessories were developed in Chevrolet’s design studio alongside the vehicles.

“Chevrolet accessories bring a level of value and peace of mind that can only come from parts that are designed, engineered, tested and backed by the same team that developed the vehicles,” said McCormack. “It’s a level of integration that enhances the sporty appearance of the vehicles.”

The Blue Line concept is based on the 2017 Cruze RS hatchback, which adds a functional, sporty and stylish choice to Chevrolet’s lineup.

It also features a Genesis White exterior, blue-tinted windows, 18-inch slate blue metallic concept wheels and the following Chevrolet Accessories:

Chrome grille insert (available now)
Suspension lowering kit (available now)
Performance brake package (available by the end of 2016)
Performance air intake system (available mid-2017)
Performance exhaust system (available mid-2017).

Chevrolet’s new performance brake kit is offered for Cruze sedan and hatchback models originally equipped with available 16-inch or larger wheels. It features larger, 11.8-inch-diameter (300 mm) front Duralife vented and slotted rotors and new calipers versus the stock 10.9-inch (276 mm) rotors.

The suspension kit includes springs to reduce ride height by 0.4 inch (10 mm) and a larger-diameter front stabilizer bar that contributes to more responsive handling.

The concept’s black interior features custom satin graphite accents on the instrument panel, shift knob and door inserts, while the sport pedal kit, illuminated doorsills and an interior trim kit are Chevrolet Accessories.

Under the hood, the Cruze RS Hatchback’s standard 1.4L Turbo engine – rated at 153 horsepower – is accessorized with Chevrolet Performance’s air intake kit and performance exhaust system.

The intake kit includes a high-flow air filter and a secondary inlet duct to decrease air restriction, while the performance exhaust is a high-flow system that reduces backpressure for optimal engine breathing and performance. The intake kit includes a calibration (dealer-installed) exhaust system that is 50-state emissions-compliant.

It’s important to note the new-vehicle warranty remains intact when a Chevy dealer installs the accessories and performance parts.

The Malibu and Cruze Blue Line concepts will join approximately 20 additional Chevrolet models at the SEMA Show, Nov. 1-4. Follow the action at ChevySEMA.com, #CHEVYSEMA, @ChevroletPerformance on Instagram and Chevrolet Performance on Facebook.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: