More than a year after it was first unveiled in China, a considerably different 2016 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan was launched last night for North America and other markets.

Following a typically drawn-out teaser campaign, General Motors took the wraps off the new Cruze at Detroit's Fillmore Theater yesterday, promising that the new model will be more efficient than its predecessor.

The second-generation Cruze's styling is similar, though far from identical, to the model unveiled at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show last year.

DON'T MISS: 2016 Chevrolet Cruze - Review

Its new look is much sportier than before, and it clearly borrows Chevy's latest design language from the recently-unveiled 2016 Chevrolet Volt and Malibu.

According to GM, the car doesn't just look sleeker, it's actually far more aerodynamic, with an improved drag coefficient of 0.29.

And while it's almost 3 inches longer than before, the 2016 Cruze is up to 250 pounds lighter than the first-generation model, GM says.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

That's partially due to a body structure that includes more high-strength steel, which account for 53 pounds of weight savings.

Also helping in that area is a new all-aluminum 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is 44 pounds lighter than the iron-block engine it replaces.

ALSO SEE: GM Shows Chevy Bolt EV Electric-Car Prototypes Testing: Video

The new engine produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the front wheels through six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

It also features a standard stop-start system to improve fuel economy.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

With this engine, GM says the Cruze will do 0 to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds, and achieve 40 mpg highway with the automatic transmission.

A 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder will join the lineup sometime after the gasoline model launches, although GM wasn't willing to discuss specifics.

MORE: 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Teased Ahead Of June 24 Debut: UPDATE

There was also no discussion of the rumored Cruze hatchback model.

Like most new cars these days, the Cruze is also packed with technology features, including available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, and a 4G LTE data connection with built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Safety features include 10 standard airbags, a rearview camera, and numerous active safety features, including Side Blind Zone Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Park Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The gasoline 2016 Chevrolet Cruze will go on sale in early calendar-year 2016, with the diesel model following later that year, possibly as a 2017 model.

CHECK OUT: New 2016 Chevy Cruze To Sell Alongside Older 'Cruze Limited'

The new Cruze will be built in the plant that builds the current Cruze, in Lordstown, Ohio.

That older model will also remain on sale through 2016 as the Cruze Limited, largely for fleet buyers.

[General Motors provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this news report.]


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.