Chevy seeking to prosper from United’s glory
THE biggest pre-season football transfer this year had nothing to do with a star striker.
It was Chevrolet forking out a reported $500m-plus to replace Audi as sponsor of Manchester United.
So when TV cameras focus on gum-chewing gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson in his pitch-side dugout, or the team’s millionaire substitutes alongside him, they now also pick up the yellow bow-tie badge of Chevrolet engraved on the back of the seats.
And that means Andy Higgins is, in soccer parlance, “over the moon”. The recently appointed managing director of Chevrolet UK is a lifelong United supporter, born within a hefty goal kick of the Old Trafford stadium.
Little surprise then, that the club’s glitzy trophy museum at the stadium should stage the UK press launch of the latest Chevy’s model.
The Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon is a five-door estate car version of the Ford Focus-sized Cruze saloon, unveiled three years ago to become the US company’s most successful model, with over 1.3m sold worldwide. From the central door pillars rearward, the estate is all-new. The rear seat is a fixed bench, with the backrests split 60:40 to drop forward into a fairly flat boot floor extending to 1,650 mm according to our tape, about average for its class, for an expanded capacity of nearly 1,500 litres.
There are tie-down points for larger items of luggage and a hidden storage compartment under the boot floor.
Useful in the fairly plain cabin is a split-level glove box. The heavily cowled instruments can be difficult to read. Given the sharp improvement in eastern Europe and Far East competitors, the South Korean Cruze smacks of a last generation. The doors and tailgate clang rather than clunk.
But it carries five-star safety credentials, a fiveyear warranty and offers most of the latest gizmos. The Station Wagon range starting at £15,375 runs to four engine options between 1.6 and 2.0 litres – two diesel and two petrol – and three trim levels.
Standard are air con, electric windows and mirrors, cruise control, six airbags, two-way adjustable steering column and audio controls on the steering wheel.
Top LTZ trim includes climate control, Bluetooth, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, 17-inch alloys, satellite navigation and rear parking sensors with reversing camera.
On the road, we tried the new 1.7-litre turbo diesel engine with stop-start as standard. It generates an impressive 130PS and torque of 300 Nm. By stirring the six-speed gearbox, tempting a raucous note, it can reach 60mph in 10 seconds.
With combined fuel consumption rating of 62.7mpg and a CO2 output of a tax-friendly 119g/km, it is the most frugal unit ever offered in a Cruze, although the computer in our car was recording a more modest 44.7 mpg.
ON SIDE: The Cruze has become the company’s most successful model.