New Chevy Cruze gets an unexpected reveal from China

Before the recall brouhaha engulfed General Motors over the past few weeks, the company had much to crow about in the small-car business. The Chevy Cruze has been a worldwide best-seller for GM, with more than 2 million built and strong demand in the United States and Asia. But after four years, the Cruze is overdue for an update, expected to be revealed at April's Beijing and New York auto shows.

That plan was spoiled a bit by these images from a Chinese forum, purporting to show the 2015 Chevy Cruze — with a front end that in these grainy photos looks less than graceful.

According to forum posters, the new Cruze was spotted around GM's Shanghai joint venture; heavily camouflaged test models have been caught all over Europe, including running the Nurburgring. While the interior snapshots suggest a more luxurious collection of pieces, its the outside that's garnering the most comments. This Cruze looks more closely related to the latest Chevy Malibu, but the hexagonal lower opening looks similar to ones already designed by Ford, Kia and others. GM has already said the next Cruze would be more efficient, and there's rumors of a seven-speed automatic transmission towards that goal.

It's possible that after selling a single design globally for the previous generation, Chevy will alter the Cruze for regional markets with the 2015 model, which is still several months from U.S. production. We'll see if the Cruze has been made ready for its real closeup in a few weeks.

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