Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -


Ig­nore the en­try-level 1.8 nat­u­rally as­pi­rated Cruze. This one brings a six-speed auto, 1.4-litre turbo petrol en­gine from Opel and an ex­cel­lent level of spec and pre­sen­ta­tion. Watts link rear sus­pen­sion is stan­dard. The only real op­tions are me­tal­lic paint and Blue­tooth.


The out­put of 103kW/200Nm bet­ters its Mazda ri­val. But it’s hardly sharp off the mark. The six-speed auto is one cog above class av­er­age. The rear sus­pen­sion isn’t as so­phis­ti­cated as Mazda’s multi-link but bet­ters class ri­vals that per­se­vere with a tor­sion bar. It sips 6.9L/100km but prefers 95 RON.


Sedan only un­til the five-door comes on line in a few months, the Cruze is closer to mid-size than small car class, look­ing like noth­ing so much as a pe­tite Com­modore. Within it looks and feels more than the ask­ing price with only a rather ‘90s read out screen let­ting it down.


Five star crash rat­ing, full out­fit of airbags and ac­tive acronyms, en­hanced by ex­cel­lent all-round vis­i­bil­ity. There is also a con­fi­dence-en­hanc­ing hewn qual­ity about it. Mak­ing the spare op­tional costs it a star.


While the Cruze is some­thing of a UN ef­fort in terms of its com­po­nents, the ride and han­dling are be­spoke by Holden for this part of the planet. Com­pletely com­posed, pre­dictable though with slightly slow steer­ing, it’s right for most of the peo­ple most of the time.

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