Good news and bad news

Chev’s top-seller just got to look a whole lot bet­ter, but that’s not where the spe­cials will be

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THERE is good news and bad news re­gard­ing the Chevro­let Cruze.

The good news is that you can ex­pect very good spe­cials on the cur­rent model. The bad news is that a newer Cruze launched last month and it’s big­ger, but 113 kg lighter. It also comes with swoop­ing curves that make the cur­rent Cruze look strait-laced — a bit like 50 Shades of Grey against a Grey Col­lege fifties year­book.

This is be­cause the de­sign of the cur­rent Cruze goes back a bit, all the way to 2006, when GM Dae­woo in South Korea played a lead­ing role in the de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing of the Cruze, along with GM’s Ger­man-based Opel di­vi­sion.

Mil­lions like it Still, the new Cruze has big boots to fill. Since its 2008 global launch, the cur­rent it­er­a­tion has sold over three mil­lion mod­els in more than 118 mar­kets.

In the 10 main mar­kets for the Cruze, China’s mil­lions have, over the years, mopped up four in 10 of all the Cruzes made, fol­lowed by the Amer­i­cans, who bought three more and also made it the 2014 Fleet Car of the Year. We South Africans also did our share, buy­ing a very re­spectable 27 000 Cruzes — al­most one per­cent of all Cruze sales — de­spite our mar­ket be­ing mi­nus­cule in world terms.

And the old Cruze will not be mak­ing life easy for the new boy, as deal­ers will bend over back­wards to flog you the last of the cur­rent model, adding all the ex­tras that make out­go­ing mod­els such rel­a­tive bar­gains.

Handy to have

Top-end mod­els of the 2016 Cruze will have the first wire­less charg­ing Ac­tive Phone Cool­ing fea­ture, with an air vent to cool the charg­ing bin. Be­cause cooler phones last longer, don’t you know?

But one ex­tra that is still good to get is Chev’s MyLink CCR, with a colour touch-screen dis­play that is this ve­hi­cle’s shin­ing tech­no­log­i­cal bea­con. It is com­pat­i­ble with most smart­phones and al­lows you to stream your mu­sic via Blue­tooth. You can also ac­cess your play lists, mu­sic and much more through the easy-touse USB port.

I ac­tu­ally pre­ferred tak­ing calls over the car than on the smart­phone’s crappy speaker and I re­ally don’t see what Chev can add to the MyLink with­out just mak­ing the sys­tem bulkier and slower, as has hap­pened with iTunes.

Also handy to have are the USB charger, hu­mid­ity-sens­ing air con­di­tion­ing and cruise con­trol.

All in the name The cur­rent Cruze 1,4 SL au­to­matic is no charger. I could not get it to do 0-100 km/h un­der 14 sec­onds.

Among mod­ern cars, this is gla­cial ac­cel­er­a­tion, but afore ye judge, there are ex­ten­u­at­ing fac­tors. The au­to­matic 1,4 Cruze car weighs 1 873 kg in its socks, with 60 litres of petrol add another 44 kg, while my svelte self and as­sorted man bags take the Cruze’s “wet” weight to over two tons.

To speed up all this weight, the 1,4 turbo makes “only” 103 kW from around 5 000 rpm, which means at the start of the 0-100 km/h dash, my right foot lib­er­ated only a smidgen of a Watt to move each of my ex­tra-fat kilo­grams. Watts are not, how­ever, what the Cruze is about. As the name im­plies, the Cruze is for cruis­ing and it is when you drive like a man who pays for his own petrol that the proven 1,4 mill comes into its own, ef­fort­lessly pulling the com­pact sedan with all 200 New­tons from a low 1 850 rpm.

Watch the space These 200 New­tons make for pleas­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion in sec­ond gears, which is what you need in city traf­fic, and al­low the en­gine to only sip at cruis­ing speeds.

Driven thus, the ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months or 15 000 km, with a ser­vice plan of three years or 60 000 km in­cluded in the price, as is Chevro­let’s war­ranty and road­side as­sis­tance for five years or 120 000 km.

When Chevro­let deal­ers an­nounce spe­cial deals on the now strait-laced Cruze to make space for the curvy Cruze, you could do a lot worse than have a look. For as 50 Shades teaches, strait-laced hides a lot of sat­is­fac­tion in un­ex­pected places.

Cruze pric­ing L 1,6 R230 400 LS 1,6 R247 200 LS 1,4 turbo R262 500 LS 1,4 auto R272 400 • al­wyn.viljoen@wit­


The 2016 Cruze (left) is like 50 Shades of Grey and makes the out­go­ing Cruze (right) look like a fifties Grey Col­lege year­book by com­par­i­son. But as 50 Shades teaches, strait-laced hides a lot of sat­is­fac­tion in un­ex­pected places …

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.