CRUZE LOSING ITS LOOKS
AAAGGGHH . . . What have they done with Cruze? They've taken that horrible twin bar grille from the Colorado and shoehorned it on to the front of the small sedan, hatch and soon-to-be-released wagon.
Holden says the new front fascia and grille give the car an athletic, modern look. We’re not so sure about that. Cruze is priced from $19,890, the SRi from $23,140, whether the hatch or sedan.
Both the SRi and SRi-V now get the 1.6litre turbocharged petrol engine, paired with either a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic.
It's good for 132kW at 5500 revs and 230Nm of torque at 2200 revs, compared with the 1.8 that delivers 104kW/175Nm.
Both the 1.4iTi turbo and 2.0-litre diesel engines have been dropped. Shame about the diesel.
With a 60-litre tank, fuel consumption is rated at 7.4 litres/100km and premium 95 RON unleaded is recommended (we were getting 8.3 after 570km).
It gets five stars for safety, with six airbags, plus anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, emergency brake assist and electronic stability control.
Rear parking sensors are fitted but this model misses out on a rear view camera.
The focus for this update was on giving the car a more premium feel and Holden has succeeded to a large extent.
It comes with cloth trim and airconditioning, along with a wheel that is both reach and height adjustable.
The lights turn on and off automatically and the rear seat folds down for longer loads.
Cruise control is standard and we like the digital speedo.
In terms of the SRi, LED daytime running lights have been added, along with fog lights and exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals.
The MyLink 7-inch infotainment system in this model is the same as Commodore and so misses out on the BringGo navigation app, but gets Pandora and Stitcher.
If you want nav, then your choices are the CDX or SRi-V models.
Bluetooth phone and audio with voice recognition are standard and you need a decent data plan to make use of the abovementioned services. Our test vehicle was the manual. It's comfortable and does not feel cramped inside, belying it size.
Finished in that bottle green previously reserved for the Commodore, it takes a good day to get to know the car; a day before the clutch and gear changes become smooth.
After that, the Cruze becomes an enjoyable car to drive, especially outside the urban area, where it gets a chance to stretch its legs.
SRi and SRi-V feature locally-tuned, unique-for-Australia sports suspension incorporating a Watts Link.
SRi rides on 17 inch alloys fitted with 225/50 Bridgestone Potenzas.
The ride is a little coarse on country roads, but the car certainly hangs on very well and can be fired at corners in complete confidence.
A can of goo and compressor are provided in case of a flat, but a space saver spare is a no cost option.
Verdict: Hits the spot. We're not fans of the look, but it's not likely to stop people buying the car. Haven't spotted any with a Chevy badge yet, whatever that means?
Maybe its mother loves its looks.