Set the Cruze control
A whole lot is riding on Holden’s new sedan, writes NEIL McDONALD
THE Cruze is arguably the most critical car from GM-Holden since the 48-215 Holden hit the road in 1948. As it had for the 48-215, the company has big expectations for the small four-cylinder sedan.
The Cruze and its offspring are critical to Holden’s future. When local production starts in Adelaide next year it must help cement the company’s role as a local maker.
The Cruze CD and CDX start the small-car push, but the sedan will also morph into a locally designed hatch and possibly a wagon.
In doing so it will relegate the lacklustre Viva to history and may challenge the highly competent Astra as Holden’s small-car star.
Both models are available with a choice of either petrol or turbo-diesel four-cylinder powerplants driving the front wheels.
At 4597mm long and sitting on a 2685mm wheelbase, the Cruze is slightly bigger than some of its main rivals. The popular Corolla sedan, for example, is 57mm shorter and sits on an 85mm shorter wheelbase.
Though classified as a small car, the Cruze is similar in size to the 1990s JS Vectra. Unlike the Vectra, however, the car benefits from the latest high-strength steels, delivering an ultrarigid body and five-star crash rating.
More than 60 per cent of the body structure is in high-strength steel. Isolated and tuned engine mounts and noise-insulation padding behind the dash and under the floor help lower cabin noise levels.
The range opener is the $20,990 CD 1.8-litre petrol and $23,990 CD 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.
The top-line CDX is available with the petrol engine only and costs the same as the turbo-diesel.
Both engines are available with either the standard five-speed manual or six-speed sequential automatic for an extra $2000.
Each model is well equipped, with some features that are not available or optional on other small cars, particularly when it comes to safety equipment and standard leather and heated seats on the CDX.
The CD gets traction and stability control, six airbags, anti-skid brakes, collapsible ped- als, six-speaker CD stereo, steering-wheelmounted audio controls, height and reachadjustable steering, 60/40 split rear seat, trip computer and cruise control.
The CDX adds 17-inch alloys, foglights, leather steering wheel and seats, heated front sports seats and rear parking sensors.
Inside the cabin has plenty of storage nooks and crannies, from door seat pockets to adjustable cupholders up front.
The 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder comes from the Holden Family I engine stable and on paper its power and torque figures are in the small-car ballpark compared with its key rivals.
The petrol engine develops 104kW at 6000 revs and 176Nm at 3800 revs. The 2.0-litre common rail diesel delivers a beefier 110kW at 4000 revs and 320Nm at 2000 revs.
Luxury Cruze: Holden’s Cruze has a five-star crash rating. It’s classified as a small car but has features not available in similar-sized rivals.
Pictures: ANDREW TAUBER