Cruze’s good oil
The compact sedan divides opinion but spend a little more on the turbo diesel
reaction to falling Commodore sales as buyers showed a growing preference for smaller, more fuel-efficient models. The first model in the new line was the JG, which was a rebadged Daewoo from Korea with some minor tweaking for the Australian market.
It was a stop-gap model to get Holden into the market with a competitive entry until the locally built Cruze was available in 2011.
The JG was only available as a four-door sedan with two variants, the CD and CDX, and petrol and diesel engines. The styling was pleasant enough without being particularly striking, it was quite roomy for four and quiet. The 1.8-litre petrol engine was adequate once it wound up but getting up to speed wasn’t pretty. It jumped away initially, then struggled through the mid-speed range.
The turbo diesel on the other hand was a better driving car, a little bit slower at the start, but it then got going nicely. The slight lag at the start meant getaways were smoother than they were with the petrol engine. Buyers could choose a smooth sixspeed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual. On the road the Cruze’s ride was firm, but comfortable, and it handled well.
Both models had plenty of equipment. The CD got cruise control, multi-function steering wheel, airconditioning and power windows and mirrors. The CDX range-topper got leather, heated front seats, fog lamps and rear parking sensors.
Overall, the Cruze did everything reasonably well without threatening to raise the bar in any area.
The initial impression of the Cruze was that it was well built and solid, and that appears to be playing out in real life as the earliest examples head towards the 50,000km mark. Few owners complain about rattles, squeaks and vibrations. Lacklustre performance is the single most frequent complaint about the Cruze, in both petrol and diesel forms. Most owners cite indifferent acceleration, enough to make one owner apprehensive when overtaking.
Some also complain the engines are harsh and noisy. But most also agree that the Cruze is economical, which was one of the main reasons they bought the car. Another subject of complaint is the automatic transmission, which tends to hunt and appears uncertain of which gear it needs to be in when tackling inclines.
A couple of owners report they regularly experience the diesel particulate filter warning coming on, requiring a specific
Pay $21,500$37,500 2.5 stars driving routine to ensure the filter is cleaned and regenerated. It shouldn’t happen in normal driving, but if it does it’s a real pain in the backside— it was enough for one owner to sell his car after just a year of ownership.
Overall, opinion is divided. As many like the Cruze as dislike it.
Not the benchmark in the class and lacklustre performance spoils the driving experience. Best to
Consensus: The Cruze is economical, if unexciting