2011 Holden Series II Cruze CDX Diesel Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Ancap

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

Excellent fuel economy, loads of acceleration.

What’s Not

Rear seat legroom can be tight.

X Factor

Australian-made, high quality small car.

  • Country of Origin
  • Price
    $28,740 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    4 Cylinders
  • Output
    120 kW / 360 Nm
  • Transmission
  • ANCAP Rating
  • Airbags
    Driver & Passenger (Dual), Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
  • C02
    147 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
  • Towing (braked)
    1200 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    695 kg
Andrew Callaghan | May 26, 2011 | 5 Comments

Vehicle Style: Small sedan
Price: $28,490 (as tested)

Fuel Economy (claimed): 5.6 l/100kms
Fuel Economy (tested): 6.5 l/100kms


The new Australian-made version of GM’s global small car, the Series II Cruze, gives Holden a strong contender in one of the most hotly contested segments in the Australian market.

The Cruze, across the model range, has a level of refinement and quality about it to at least match - and in some cases, better - its main rivals.

And in the CDX, the Cruze has one of the segment's strongest and most affordable diesel engines under the bonnet.


Quality: The top of the dash is the only area to let the quality feel of the interior down. Its hard plastics are a contrast to the chrome and black finish of the rest of the dash and the generally pleasing tactile surfaces throughout.

The instrument cluster is housed in pod-like segments and the overall design and layout of the controls is excellent.

Comfort: Heated deep bucket-seats with excellent lateral grip provide good comfort and support for the driver and front passenger. The rear passengers also have comfortable seating with a foldable arm-rest in the middle.

Equipment: The CDX is very well-equipped having a six-speaker audio system with radio, CD and USB input, power windows and mirrors and 17” alloy wheels.

Cruise control and controls for the audio system are conveniently mounted on the leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Storage: The boot has a 445 litre capacity, with 60/40 split-fold rear seats increasing the usable space. Up front, there are the standard cup holders and a lockable glove box.

There is also a handy compartment on the dash for storage, as well as a sunglasses holder above the driver’s door.


Driveability: The Ecoline turbo diesel produces a very respectable 120kW of power and a lusty 360Nm of torque. This results in an abundance of urge from a standing start and brisk acceleration.

The manual transmission can feel a little jerky at first - the low-down torque of the diesel can take a bit of getting used to - but you soon settle in to the characteristics of the diesel and the shift action is good.

Refinement: The suspension is well-tuned for Australian roads and certainly better than some of the Cruze’s Euro competitors; some are simply too hard for our broken secondary roads.

Noise, vibration and handling (NVH) is low, despite the diesel under the bonnet (it’s only noticeable under acceleration).

Suspension: On-road performance is good. McPherson struts up-front and torsion bar rear gives a smooth ride while maintaining a feeling of connection with the road for the driver.

The CDX is tuned for family driving (and is no surgeon’s knife) but cornering and fore and aft chassis balance is surprisingly good.

Braking: Disc brakes all round; braking is responsive with reasonable feel.


ANCAP rating: 5 Stars.

Safety features: Front, Side and Curtain airbags, ESC, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Traction Control. Force limited 3-point height adjustable seat belts, 3 child restraint anchor points.


Warranty: 3yr/100,000kms

Service costs: Service intervals are set at 15,000kms/12 months. Service costs may vary, check with your local Holden dealer.


Ford Focus TDCi Hatch ($27,790) - The Focus is a match for compliance on poor Aussie roads, but Holden’s Cruze has the edge in power and torque. The Focus’ interior has dated badly, too, and the Cruze beats it for cabin quality. (see Focus reviews)

Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi SLX ($26,590) - The cheapest high-end diesel small car is also, in our opinion, the best. The i30 SLX CRDi presents superb value along with an excellent mechanical package, as well as a comfortable interior. (see i30 reviews)

Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion ($28,990) - The Golf Bluemotion is only available in a fairly basic specification and with no automatic option, but it still benefits from a frugal diesel drivetrain and VW’s typically high level of quality. (see Golf reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.


The Series II Cruze provides a quality, Australian-made, small car alternative. We especially like the on-road performance and refinement for Australian roads.

The strong diesel engine under the bonnet of the CDX has considerably more power and torque than its logical closest competitors, with exceptional fuel efficiency, and at a highly competitive price.

The new Cruze CDX is good buying.

Filed under: Featured, review, Holden, Cruze, Holden Cruze, diesel, holden cruze cdx, sedan, Manual, fwd, small, family, Advice, 4cyl, 4door, 2011 holden cruze cdx, holden cruze diesel, 2011 holden cruze diesel, 6man

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  • Helen Jones says,
    4 years ago
    I am currently. considering. the diesel. Cruz. I need. to know if it will tow a camper trailer weight approx 1200kg. If not what other not too large car would you suggest. Thanks
    • Steve M of Sawyers says,
      3 years ago
      I have a May 2011 build JH 6 speed diesel. I towed an 8 x 4 trailer loaded with about 750kg of steel beams and sheeting for my shed from Rockingham to Sawyers Valley (up Greenmount Hill). Hardly knew it was there.
      Just sit the revs around 1850 and let the torque do the work.
      On the down side I just had the 27500km service done (I change my oil at 7500km) and it cost $403.00 The filter alone is $106.07+GST, the low ash synthetic oil is 98.27+GST. add $24.00 of other bits and $138.00 of labour and the GST and that is an expensive service.
      Upside is open road fuel economy of between 5.8 & 6.2L/100km over 3 trips with 4 people and luggage between Perth and Dongara, depending on head wind, driver patience etc.
      City traffic consuption is about 6.8L. Sawyers Vallye to Kewdale & back every day uses between 5.9 & 6.2L/100km depending on traffic and driver patience/fun factor. (Yeah I like to give her a boot full occasionally). Seats in the early Ausi built cars are way too hard but the new ones are good. No warranty issues in 22,550km since July 2011 so cant comment on the backup as I haven't needed it.
      • scott whitsed says,
        3 years ago
        I have a 2009 diesel cruze auto,i got it at 7000km and its done 38000 km very happy with it ,unreal performance for a 2 litre. Going to trade it on another diesel cruze very soon or private sale if any body interested.
    • scott whitsed says,
      3 years ago
      it will tow a 1200 kg trailer no problems.i have a 2009 diesel and its got so much torque its fantastic
  • jeff egan says,
    4 years ago
    I recently bought a holden cruze hatch cdx diesel auto i am extremely happy with the whole package and even saving a few dollars on fuel its just perfect thanks holden
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