GM's Bowtie division has announced the base price of the LT trim level of its compact hatchback due in dealerships this fall.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback front 3/4 view

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback

Although the Chevrolet Cruze has been around since the 2009 model year in sedan, hatchback and station wagon body styles, here in the U.S. it's only been available since 2010 in four-door sedan guise.

That will change this fall when a hatchback version of the second-generation model will arrive in Chevy showrooms as a 2017 model. So, why the change of heart (or, more correctly, marketing perspective)? In a word, it's called "sales."

"With 9 percent market growth in small hatchbacks last year, it's the perfect time to bring the Cruze Hatch to America," said Alan Batey, president, General Motors North America and Global Chevrolet. "As Cruze continues to set the tone for Chevrolet globally, it articulates the brand promise of offering cars with the latest technologies, more features and greater efficiency, performance and safety with fresh, distinctive styling."

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback rear 7/8 view

The hatchback is based on the same platform as the sedan, which is 200 pounds lighter than the previous-generation model, largely due to the fact that both the body structure and engine are significantly lighter – 100 pounds and 44 pounds, respectively.

Under the hood, both models feature Chevy's Ecotec 1.4-liter turbo four with direct injection, start/stop technology and an SAE-certified 153 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to either a standard 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic. Unlike the sedan, however, both trim levels of the hatchback will feature an independent rear suspension, which supplants the less-sporty torsion beam setup on the sedan.

The Cruze Hatch also shares the same 106.3-inch wheelbase, hood, fenders and front doors as sedan models, but it comes with a unique roof and rear end structure that includes wraparound taillamps and an integrated spoiler at the top of the liftgate.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback front fascia

The liftgate, by the way, opens to reveal 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. With the rear seat is folded, the cargo space expands to an even more generous 47.2 cubic feet.

The Cruze sedan is offered in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels, while an optional RS package includes unique front and rear fascias, rocker panels, rear spoiler and fog lamps (Premier models with the RS package also receive 18-inch wheels). While the RS package will also be offered on the hatchback, trim levels on that model will be limited to LT and Premier.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback dashboard

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback prices and availability

Earlier today, Chevrolet announced that 2017 Cruze Hatchback prices will start at $22,190 for the LT trim level when the model arrives in dealerships this fall. That price, by the way, includes the destination charge (but, obviously, not tax, title and other dealer fees) and represents a $1,495 premium over a comparable sedan.