Holden Cruze CD Sedan Series II

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Cars
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Holden Cruze CD Sedan

Holden Cruze CD Sedan Series II

Series II Cruze’s are now being built in Australia alongside the Commodore,and while I didn’t have an opportunity to drive the Series I, which was built in Korea, I am told that the difference between them is quite large. The car passed the first test because when I picked up offspring from school they declared the car to be ‘cool’. To be fair they said the same thing about the Hyundai Getz we had last month so it may be that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

It comes with most things you would want in a car, air conditioning, CD player, cruise control, heated side mirrors, iPod connectivity, 6 airbags, stability control and a few other bits and pieces that most people, including myself, deem necessary. All in all, when I found it didn’t have something I had to remind myself that this was a $20 990 car.

The Exterior

I quite like how the Cruze looks. The body itself has clean well differentiated lines that makes rivals, such as the Mazda 3, quite frankly, look a bit of a mess. It’s bold while still remaining conservative. Overall though, there is very little difference on the outside between the Series I and Series II Cruze. The car I was testing had steel wheels with hubcaps which puts it a little behind the Toyota Corolla but on par with the Mazda 3 Neo. I’m still not 100% sure on the tail lights but it is definitely something I could live with.

The Interior

The interior of the Cruze is a genuinely nice place to be which is fortunate. The first hour with the vehicle was spent in one of the worst traffic jams I have ever seen on the West Gate Bridge. This been caused by four morons crashing their cars into one another. The interior was probably the biggest surprise of the entire car. The base model Commodore, the Omega, is a horrible place to sit with grey, dreary plastics and basic creature comforts. I was expecting much the same.

One of the questions I had after picking the car up was, ‘Has this car been specced up?’ Turns out the only option that had been installed were the Rear Park Sensors. Where I was expecting flat seats with no support the exact opposite had been installed. Where I expected to find dull, dreary plastics I instead found a faux brushed titanium. Sure the plastic was hard and probably cheap to produce but no-one said that was the way it had to look. All the dials, knobs and switches were surrounded with a chrome bevel which added a certain level of class.

At night the dials are surrounded with a cheery blue glow, by day they are quite easy to read, although the entirely optimistic indicated top speed, 220 km/h is a bit of a laugh. All the controls are reasonably intuitive to use and well placed, the iPod connects without a hassle and is totally controlled by the steering wheel controls. The stereo itself is a little low-rent and several radio stations kept dropping in and out of reception. Another point of annoyance was the lack of lighting around the ignition which means you’re constantly scratching the trim around it as you search for where to put your key. No left foot rest means there is nowhere to put your left foot when you’re not changing gears and the gap between the clutch and the firewall is a little bit too narrow for my foot. I was also surprised by the lack of Bluetooth connectivity which, in my humble opinion, should not be an option. But really, I’m nitpicking here.

Driving

This is, unfortunately, where the Cruze falls down a little bit. The biggest weakness with the car is the 1.8 litre engine. Although the output of 104kW of power and 176Nm of torque seem perfectly reasonable, the car itself is heavy at 1385 kg and around town I had to work the engine a little harder than I would have liked. Holden’s claimed fuel use of 7.0L/100Km is a little bit hard to believe as I struggled to achieve 8.5L/100Km.

The engine aside, the Cruze is a good car to drive. Just near my house there is a road which, with all its pot-holes and ruts is probably the worst road in Australia. At 60 km/h the Cruze skipped over it without too much bother. Road noise is kept to a minimum and fits within the overall comfort levels of the cabin. Holden has done a very good job tuning this chassis and suspension to local driving conditions giving steering a well weighted feel and providing a limited amount of feedback through the wheel.

Although I’m reasonably tall, 191cm, the car was comfortable for me to sit in all positions, except the rear middle seat and even with the driver’s seat back there was ample space in the back seat for the offspring. Boot space is large enough to fit a couple of good sized suitcases and the spare wheel was of the full-sized variety, not sure whether this is standard but you could probably negotiate this with the dealership.

Overall

This is the first review of a vehicle that I have actually done so it’s a bit hard to give it score out of 20 or a star rating until I have reviewed other cars. Probably the best thing I can do right now is ask the following question, “If I had to spend my own money, would I buy this car?” You know what? I would, although I would probably spend the extra cash and upgrade to the CD-X. While I’m at it I would also take the 1.4 L turbo engine.
The Cruze remains a particularly important vehicle in the Holden line-up. They have invested a large amount of money upgrading the Elizabeth plant to manufacture it. Now that the Cruze has passed the Mazda 3 as the top selling small car it appears that their investment will pay off.

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