GLOBAL land­ing

The Holden Cruze ramps up the badge’s pres­ence in the dom­i­nant small car seg­ment, re­ports KEVIN HEP­WORTH.

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

IT will re­place both the As­tra and Viva at that end of Holden’s range, and the en­gi­neer­ing pack­age will be re­skinned to build a lo­cal ver­sion be­side the Com­modore next year.

The global Cruze will ar­rive in show­rooms next month at a very sharp rec­om­mended re­tail price of $20,990 for the 1.8-litre petrol with five-speed man­ual. The 2.0-litre diesel is $23,990 in man­ual trim while a higher-specced CDX ver­sion of the petrol car is also $23,990. A six-speed au­to­matic adds $2000 to all mod­els.

The ex­ter­nal styling of the im­ported car has lit­tle “wow” fac­tor about it, but that will be changed when the lo­cally­built ver­sion rolls out of Ade­laide next year in sedan and hatch form.

But the in­te­rior styling, into which Aus­tralian de­sign­ers have had far more in­put, is pleas­ant and rea­son­ably er­gonomic.

Space is good with im­pres­sive head and shoul­der room for four, the blue back­lit dash and in­stru­ment dis­plays are go­ing to come down to per­sonal taste but there is no deny­ing the im­pres­sive lack of wind and tyre noise fil­ter­ing into the cabin.

The petrol en­gine is a worked-over 1.8-litre ver­sion of the GM Fam­ily 1 four cylin­der Ecotec petrol, with 104kW of power and 176Nm of torque, 90 per cent of that on tap from 2200-6200rpm. The diesel ver­sion is a 2-litre turbo unit with vari­able vane ge­om­e­try and 320Nm of torque (90 per cent from 1750-3500rpm).

Fuel econ­omy for both en­gines is good with the petrol re­turn­ing of­fi­cial fig­ures of 7L/100km for the man­ual and 7.5L for the auto. The dis­par­ity in the diesel is far greater with the man­ual an im­pres­sive 5.7L/100km and the auto a lessso 6.8L.

The base CD cars come stan­dard with a five-star safety rat­ing, six airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity, anti-lock brakes, 16in steel wheels, en­gine im­mo­biliser, cruise con­trol, multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel, height and reach ad­justable steer­ing, height ad­justable seats, MP3 plug-and-play au­dio com­pata­bil­ity, 60:40 split fold rear seats, air­con­di­tion­ing and power win­dows and mir­rors.

The CDX adds leather trim, heated front seats, 17in al­loy wheels, fog lamps, rear park­ing sen­sors and sun­glasses holder.

While the petrol en­gine cruises hap­pily at the top end get­ting there is a bit of task and the en­gine pos­i­tively buzzes with any at­tempt to get away from stand­still with any ur­gency.

The high pres­sure com­mon rail diesel, on the other hand, uses its greater torque far more ef­fec­tively over the lesser rev range.

The au­to­matic is good, the man­ual far bet­ter. That will not re­late to sales of the cars in a pre­dom­i­nantly au­to­matic mar­ket, but it is a fact.

Dy­nam­i­cally the Cruze is not quite bench­mark, steer­ing feel is well-weighted with enough off-cen­tre sneeze fac­tor to give a re­laxed feel without any hint of be­ing sloppy.

Feed­back is good with a strong lin­ear pro­gres­sion as the steer­ing loads and un­loads through cor­ners.

Chas­sis sta­bil­ity is good with lit­tle body roll and just a hint of sus­pen­sion bump over sharper cor­ru­ga­tions.

First take: The global Cruze ar­rives in Holden show­rooms next month priced at $20,990.

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