2011 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback

In typical GM fashion, the Cruze hatchback shown in Paris is technically a show car, but is really little more than a gussied-up version of the upcoming production model. It's a safe bet that styling will remain unchanged, with the only likely styling changes applied to the blue headlights, LED fog lamps, and blue-painted brake calipers.

Chevrolet designed the Cruze hatchback to retain the same stance as its sedan sibling. To make that task simpler, it looks as though each body panel forward of the B-pillar is identical to the sedan -- and that's not a bad thing.

Aft of the B-pillar, the roofline mimics that of the sedan, but it subtly transforms into a rakish hatch. From the side, the Cruze hatchback looks extremely similar to its cousin, the Opel Astra four-door hatchback, also based on GM's Delta platform. The Cruze hatchback even carries over the roof spoiler-mounted, high-center brake light of the four-door Astra hatchback.

GM doesn't give any indication of what lies under the hood of the Cruze hatchback, but the sedan's European powertrains will likely carry over. Expect buyers will have a selection of fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engines mated to a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Although it isn't the production car, the Cruze hatchback show car is an extremely good indication of what we can expect to see launch in Europe early in 2011. GM hopes to capitalize on the Cruze sedan's success across the continent with the hatch -- a safe bet, seeing as roughly 65 percent of all compacts sold in the market are hatchbacks.

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