HOLDEN CRUZE iTi AUTO
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.