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
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 • email@example.com
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 …