Smooth sail­ing

The well-built Cruze has plenty of room for the fam­ily, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

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.

Model watch

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

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