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.
ON THE ROAD
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 AND SERVICING
Service costs: Service intervals are set at 15,000kms/12 months. Service costs may vary, check with your local Holden dealer.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
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.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
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.