Cruze not al­ways shipshape

Good or bad, own­ers are di­vided, but prospec­tive buy­ers should be alert to some se­ri­ous is­sues, GRA­HAM SMITH says.

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - USED: HOLDEN CRUZE 2011-13 -

THE speed with which the mar­ket dumped big cars for smaller ones caught Holden nap­ping.

In an at­tempt to catch up, the com­pany rushed to Korea and signed up for a bunch of Dae­woo mod­els that were ill-equipped for the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

Those first cars, the Ba­rina, Viva and Cruze, had build is­sues. They were un­re­fined and weren’t tuned to Aus­tralian con­di­tions.

In the case of the Cruze, many of those is­sues were ad­dressed in the Aus­tralian-built car, which came in two body styles, sedan and hatch, four mod­els, and the choice of two petrol en­gines and a turbo-diesel.

The CD was the en­try model, the CDX had a longer fea­tures list, and then there were the sports mod­els, the SRi and SRi-V.

There was de­cent cabin room for front and back-seat pas­sen­gers. The sedan also had a good-sized boot, but not the hatch, whose smaller boot was fur­ther re­duced if you chose the full-sized spare.

The 1.8-litre petrol base en­gine wasn’t the most ex­cit­ing. It was com­pe­tent enough, but there wasn’t much in re­serve for over­tak­ing or climb­ing hills.

In con­trast, the 1.4-litre turbo, with sim­i­lar power to the larger non-turbo en­gine but 200Nm of torque, was a re­laxed driver in town or on the open road.

It per­formed well and re­turned fuel econ­omy num­bers sim­i­lar to the turbo-diesel en­gine.

The diesel was the best blend of per­for­mance and fuel ef­fi­ciency, but it did bother some own­ers with its an­noy­ing turbo lag.

On the road, the Cruze was poised, its ride com­fort­able and its han­dling was ag­ile and bal­anced.

Opin­ion is di­vided on whether the Cruze is a great car or a dud and there’s lit­tle mid­dle ground if you be­lieve own­ers.

Most we talked to were happy with their cars and re­ported few trou­bles, although a cou­ple had se­ri­ous is­sues that soured their ex­pe­ri­ence.

A regular com­plaint is a lack of per­for­mance from the 1.8-litre en­gine. If you want more zip go for the 1.4-litre turbo or diesel.

There are also re­ports of en­gines surg­ing, so watch for that on your test drive. It could be caused by a faulty fuel-in­jec­tor.

Look around the en­gine for oil leaks, they’re quite com­mon.

Turbo-diesels that mostly do short trips can have trou­ble with the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter. The fil­ter needs regular runs of longer dis­tance at higher than crawl­ing speeds to burn off the car­bon buildup. If it doesn’t get the chance to clean it­self you’ll have to take it to a dealer to do it, and that costs.

Com­plaints about au­to­matic trans­mis­sions crop up reg­u­larly. When test driv­ing, look for er­ratic shift­ing or search­ing for gears that doesn’t seem nor­mal.

The fix is a new trans­mis­sion, not an in­ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise.

There are plenty of re­ports of things that would ap­pear to be due to vari­able build qual­ity, like elec­tri­cal prob­lems, air­con­di­tion­ing leaks, squeaks and rat­tles.

Re­ports of high brake wear seem com­mon, with own­ers re­port­ing com­plete brake re­place­ments be­ing needed from as low as 30,000km.

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