Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Sport - Chris Ri­ley

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.

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