DETROIT (AP) -- The Chevrolet Cruze, General Motors Co.'s new entry in the compact car market, will have a starting price of almost $17,000 when it hits showrooms in September.
But GM said in a statement that the 2011 Cruze will have more standard features than its main competitors, the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, including 10 air bags, electronic stability control and air conditioning.
The automaker said Thursday that the base price of the Cruze, with a six-speed manual transmission, will be $16,995, including shipping.
A stripped-down version of the current Corolla with air conditioning and a manual transmission costs $16,200 including shipping.
The current base model manual-transmission Civic costs $16,405 including shipping, but doesn't have air conditioning.
"While some of our competitors may have a lower starting price, Cruze wins on value once these competitors are optioned up," Jim Campbell, vice president of Chevrolet marketing in the U.S., said in the statement.
An eco version of the Cruze, which gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway, starts at $18,895, while the luxury version, with leather seats, Bluetooth phone connectivity and other features, starts at $22,695.
The Cruze replaces the aging Chevrolet Cobalt, which even GM engineers acknowledge is not competitive with other small cars. But the automaker is banking on the Cruze's quality and features to gain sales in a segment where it has never been in the game.