2011 Chevrolet Cruze Los Angeles 2009Enlarge Photo
2011 Ford FocusEnlarge Photo
With the new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2012 Ford Focus, as shown out on the Detroit auto show floor, you're looking at the future heart of the market. According to many who keep tabs on the industry, the so-called C-segment--the size of these two small sedans--is slated to grow rapidly over the next several years.
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze made its production debut at this past year’s Los Angeles auto show, and General Motors was showing several examples of its Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan here at the show. But the cross-town rivalry could be felt as Ford chose the Detroit auto show for the global debut of its all-new 2012 Ford Focus.
Comparing their respective exterior designs, the new Focus and Cruze are around the same size overall and, when you hold their profiles side by side, are remarkably similar in terms of overall profile.
That's about where the comparisons end. While the Cruze is clean and conservative--undoubtedly too much so for some tastes--the Focus has lots of details to be discovered, from the lipped wheel wells and flared fenders to the aggressive front end design, flowing sheetmetal leading to the taillamps, and more overt wheel designs. Topping it all off are the dual sharp 'Z' creases in the sheetmetal, which, to this reviewer's eyes effectively lower the beltline and give the proportions more of a sport-sedan pop.
In an informal poll of fellow auto journalists out on the Detroit auto show floor, nearly everyone preferred the Focus' exterior to that of the Cruze, although several noted that the Focus design was on the verge of being busy.
Take a look inside, and neither design neglects the details. Though both models are relatively affordable, their cabins have design attributes and materials that would have only been seen in luxury-brand vehicles just a few years back. For now, they serve to make the current 2010 Ford Focus and 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt look downright aged.
Over the next several slides, we take a first look at some of the interior details of these new compacts from Chevy and Ford. Take a closer look with us, and let us know which one you think is the winner.