Chevrolet on Wednesday unveiled the US version of the GM-Daewoo-designed Cruze at the Los Angeles show.

General Motors described it as "a popular global car refined for America" and said the Cruze was expected to achieve segment-best fuel economy - up to 40 mpg highway - thanks to its new family of small-displacement engines, including a flagship Ecotec 1.4-litre I4 turbo unit which will eventually be built in the US.

Chevrolet claims the new car has a more spacious cabin and greater cargo room than the rival Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla models sold in North America.

Ten standard air bags help make it one of the safest cars in its class, the automaker added.

Assembly for the US and Canada begins - after a US$350m investment in the facility - at Lordstown, Ohio, next year (pilot production cars were clearly visible in newscasts of President Obama's recent visit to the factory) and the Cruze goes on sale in the third quarter with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

"Cruze is already a hit across Europe and Asia; and now, it's coming to America to challenge the status quo," said Chevrolet brand chief Brent Dewar. "Along with the Volt electric vehicle, Cruze is the latest tangible example of how Chevrolet is working on exciting products that range from gas-friendly to gas-free."

The Cruze will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims with 1.4-litre turbocharged or 1.8-litre petrol engines and six-speed automatic or manual transmissions.

Electronic stability control with rollover sensing, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and navigation system, XM Satellite Radio and OnStar telematics, 16-, 17- or 18-inch wheels, anti-lock brakes, and electric power steering will be available standard or optional.

"There's a lot of content in all Cruze models; it was designed to give customers the features they want regardless of the car's size or segment," said Brooks.

"At a very competitive price, you'll be able to get a Cruze with leather and heated front seats, 16-inch aluminium wheels, XM satellite radio, OnStar, Bluetooth, a USB port for your iPod, cruise control, power locks and power outside mirrors."

Instruments and interior control are lit in ice blue with light-emitting diodes (LED) and a driver information centre - rare in this class in North America is standard.