Set the Cruze con­trol

A whole lot is rid­ing on Holden’s new sedan, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Holden Cruze -

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

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