Turbo makes dif­fer­ence in 1.4 Cruze mod­els

The new five-door Cruze is most sat­is­fy­ing in 1.4 Turbo form, writes PAUL OWEN.

Kapi-Mana News - - MOTORING -

Af­ter years of ab­sence, the man­u­fac­ture of an af­ford­able fam­ily hatch­back has re­turned to Aus­tralia in the form of the new five­door Holden Cruze.

The most com­pact dinky- di Aussie-made car adds a fur­ther 10 mod­els to the be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of cars built in the Gen­eral’s Ade­laide fac­tory, bring­ing the to­tal to 51. While the vol­ume of cars built at the fa­cil­ity in Port El­iz­a­beth is still a modest 480 a day, the va­ri­ety of mod­els and body-styles parad­ing down the assem­bly line is one of the most pro­lific of any GM plant in the world.

Seems Holden likes to give its trans-tas­man con­sumers plenty of choice, and the new Cruze Hatch range is no ex­cep­tion, as nine of the 10 mod­els sold in Aus­tralia are about to go on sale here.

It’s a range that should at­tract the at­ten­tion of both fleet and pri­vate buy­ers, given that there are dumbed- down bot­tom lin­ers to pique the in­ter­est of the former, and slightly more ex­pen­sive higher-per­form­ers that pro­vide a far more sat­is­fy­ing driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the lat­ter.

For the new­est en­gine in the range, an Aus­trian-made 1.4 litre di­rect- in­jec­tion turbo- petrol, marks the cross­roads in Holden New Zealand’s mar­ket­ing plan where the needs of fleets and pri­vate mo­tor ve­hi­cle con­sumers part.

Although some canny fleet man­agers might find the fuel ef­fi­ciency of this perky 103kw/ 200Nm petrol at­trac­tive, few will be will­ing to pay a cou­ple of grand ex­tra per car to ac­cess it.

Mean­while, its strongly rec­om­mended that no pri­vate Cruze Hatch buyer leave the Holden dealer with­out first check­ing that there is a 1.4iti badge on their car.

For the 1.4 turbo is not only the best per­former of the en­gine range, the five mod­els that en­joy its higher tech­nol­ogy also get a more so­phis­ti­cated rear sus­pen­sion that dra­mat­i­cally im­proves the ride of the car while sharp­en­ing its steer­ing.

A 1.4 Cruze Hatch is there­fore a car that matches the dy­namic qual­i­ties found in strong new C-seg­ment ri­vals like Ford’s lat­est Fo­cus and Mazda’s up­dated 3, while the other mod­els more re­flect the driv­ing stan­dards of the past.

Of the other larger- ca­pac­ity en­gines, it’s the 2.0 litre com­mon­rail turbo- diesel that most de­serves an up­grade from its present semi-rigid tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sion to the more independent ac­tion of the Watts link-

De­spite be­ing front-wheel-drive, the new five-door Cruze has a BMW 1-se­ries look about its pro­file. equipped 1.4 Turbo mod­els.

The diesel’s abil­ity to pump out a healthy 120kw of power and 360Nm of torque, and gen­er­ate 6.7litres/100km fuel use fig­ures, could have cre­ated a Cruze Hatch model that is both as en­joy­able and eco­nom­i­cal to drive as the 1.4 Turbo. How­ever, Holden’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to sad­dle the diesel with old-school rear sus­pen­sion tech­nol­ogy rep­re­sents a missed op­por­tu­nity.

The diesel’s tor­sion beam rear end, a sus­pen­sion for­mat that last en­joyed wide­spread pop­u­lar­ity in the 1990s, has a bet­ter match with the tardier per­for­mance of the nor­mally-as­pi­rated 1.8 litre four that is found un­der the bon­nets of the most af­ford­able Cruze Hatch mod­els. Made in Gun­san, Korea, it’s en­tirely de­bat­able that this 104kw/ 176Nm en­gine should have stayed there.

Never has torque been found so want­ing in any Holden launch drive that climbed over the Ade­laide hills.

All Cruze hatch­backs come fit­ted out with a full ar­ray of safety equip­ment – six airbags, sta­bil­ity con­trol, and brak­ing aids. Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, trip com­put­ers, cruise con­trol, au­to­matic head­lights, air-con­di­tion­ing and six- speaker MP3- ready au­dio sys­tems are also fit­ted to all mod­els. The CDX tier adds 17 al­loys (CD: 16 steels), rear park as­sist, heated front seats, a lit­tle chrome- plated bling, while the SRI ver­sions of the 1.4 sport body kits and spoil­ers to high­light their ex­tra driver ap­peal.

Top al­pha-model is the 1.4 SRIV, the only car with full leather up­hol­stery, voice recog­ni­tion, and a seven-inch touch-screen con­trol in­ter­face.

Ex­pect these ex­tras to cost $3000 more than an SRI, tak­ing the price to $38,900 for a six-speed man­ual ver­sion and $40,400 for a six-speed au­to­matic.

Cruze hatch:

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