A little sport goes a long
Holden’s small wagon heads for the front of the queue thanks to Aussie input
MANY makers insist that there’s sports-car performance in every station wagon they make, Holden among them.
Its Cruze wagon is called a Sportwagon but its engine performance is far from invigorating. The drivetrain may be tame but the rest of the wagon is a real surprise.
Every small-wagon shopper needs to drive one before laying down the cash.
It’s not a bargain and it sits alongside some equally impressive wagon rivals— Hyundai i30 at $24,990 and VW Golf at $29,490, for example— but arguably it has some winning features.
It’s a fun drive (a surprise for a wagon) and the cost of ownership is tempting. The service program for three years is a very reasonable $740.
Standard kit is also good, including leather, heated front seats, alloy wheels, rear park sensor and six-speaker iPod/ USB audio.
A diesel version adds only $750 and may be a better deal, though the three-year service cost is much higher at $1340.
The Korean-built wagon echoes the style of the Australian-made sedan and hatch but looks almost European with its neat tail. Adding a longer back end hasn’t made the rear look bulky so the wagon retains the attractive lines of the other variants, in much the same way as the Golf wagon relates to the hatch version.
Cabin trim is nicely subdued and the use of leather will please owners with young children when it comes to clean-up time. Clear instruments, logical switchgear and sufficient personal storage make this a workable family car, aided by the long boot for kids’ paraphernalia.
For proof that Holden engineers are world class, check how well this car handles. Yes, the 1.8-litre fourcylinder engine (104kW/ 176Nm) is serviceable but the chassis, suspension and steering are perfectly coordinated, outshining the engine, which is unenthusiastic. The Cruze also gets electric assist steering, disc brakes allround and a six-speed automatic that absolves some of the engine’s sins.
There are 17-inch alloys with a full-size spare and a voice-