Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Driveway - Bill Buys

STA­TION wag­ons, it seems, are 'in' again, and the one we were driv­ing turned more than a few heads with its hand­some lines.

It was a Holden Cruze Sportwagon, the sole Cruze not bolted to­gether in Aus­tralia. This one comes from the for­mer Dae­woo works in South Korea, now op­er­at­ing as GM Korea, and un­der its sur­pris­ingly heavy bon­net was a 2.0litre turbo-diesel.

At $4000 it's a fairly costly op­tion though, lifting the price for the CD-spec petrol model from $23,690 to $27,690, as tested.

Sev­eral mak­ers had a go at mar­ket­ing small wag­ons in Aus­tralia in the past and most went home after a few years. But in re­cent times half a dozen new play­ers ar­rived, with some at­trac­tive wares.

Wag­ons are es­sen­tially sedans with ex­tra cargo ca­pac­ity. So they re­tain the style and com­forts of a car and sim­ply add ver­sa­til­ity.

The Cruze CD Sportwagon has a 120kW/360Nm diesel that drives the front wheels through a sixspeed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. The tran­nie has se­quen­tial mode that al­lows the driver to swap cogs man­u­ally if taken by the mood.

Diesels are noted for their longevity, strong torque and fru­gal fuel needs. But this one was not es­pe­cially fru­gal. Rated at 6.7litres/100km, we drove in and around Perth for a week and never got be­low 8.2 - a fig­ure bet­tered by many petrol-pow­ered ve­hi­cles th­ese days.

The CD is the base model in the two-model wagon line-up and comes with a fair bit of kit. But miss­ing is a rev­ers­ing cam­era. For that, stan­dard on many sub-$20K cars th­ese days, you need to stump up a few more grand to get into the CD-X. C'mon guys, get real. What you get isn't bad: 16inch al­loys, six airbags, Holden's MyLink in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and the whole she­bang of elec­tronic driver aids, and yes, it does score five stars in crash safety.

The in­te­rior is pleas­ant, the seats comfy, the room gen­er­ous and we liked the drive­abil­ity.

It cer­tainly can get a move on, sits nicely through cor­ners and re­wards a mildly sporty driver.

A bonus is the ex­cel­lent hand­brake, a proper lever in­stead of a stupid foot-op­er­ated 'park­ing brake' or an elec­tronic but­ton af­fair that fea­ture in so many cars th­ese days.

Ver­dict: An at­trac­tive, wellfin­ished ve­hi­cle with a lot of class. Well worth a look.

Holden's Cruze Sportwagon diesel has a lot of ap­peal.


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