The well-built Cruze has plenty of room for the family, writes Graham Smith
THECruze is arguably the most important new model Holden has introduced in the past 30 years or more.
At a time when the local market is moving into small cars in a way that could not be imagined even a few years ago, Holden took the plunge and committed to a new generation of small cars.
The Cruze was the most important piece in the modern Holden jigsaw puzzle. Holden’s then boss, Mark Reuss, excitedly pronounced it as the reinvention of the company when unveiling the Cruze last year.
The Cruze, he said, was Holden’s first serious attack on the small-car market — one the company was very serious about.
Designed by GM’s Korean division the Cruze was initially sourced from Seoul, but now there are plans to build it locally.
THE Cruze hit the market last year as a four-door sedan in CD and CDX versions.
With crisp lines and a clean, chiselled look the Cruze sedan comfortably slipped into the small-car crowd, but that could be an issue for anyone wanting something different. Though it was a pleasant-looking car it somehow left you wishing for more.
The interior was well put together and pleasantly styled, with all the features you could wish for.
Inside there was generous space, with impressive head and shoulder room for four, though the rear was a little squeezy if you wanted to seat three back there.
The CD got cruise standard as well as air, multi-function steering wheel, height and reach-adjustable steering, height-adjustable seats and power windows and mirrors.
Move up to the CDX and you got all of that and more. You sat on leather trim, gripped a leather steering wheel and listened to CD sound.
If there was a criticism it would be the backlit instruments, which were buried deep in a binnacle and as a result were dark and could be difficult to read in some conditions.
Cruze buyers could choose from a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel.
At its peak the 1.8-litre engine was putting out 104kW and 176Nm. The the diesel peaked at 110kW and 320Nm.
The performance with the 1.8-litre engine was spirited without being breathtaking, and the turbo-diesel had plenty of urge low down in the rev range.
There was the choice of five-speed manual and six-speed auto transmissions, with final drive through the front wheels.
The manual was a nice shifting unit. The auto was smooth and unfussed, and offered manual shifting.
On the road the ride was firmish without being hard or uncomfortable. It was well controlled and handled all