2013 Holden Cruze Launch Review

Tony O'Kane | 35 Comments

2014 HOLDEN CRUZE REVIEW

What's Hot: Local chassis tuning hits the mark, zippy 1.6 litre turbo, MyLink could be a winner
What's Not: No interior improvements in trim or build quality
X-Factor: TMR top tip: Buy the SRi manual. It's a proper performance bargain.

Models Driven: Cruze SRi hatch manual, Cruze SRi-V hatch automatic, Cruze Equipe sedan 1.4t automatic, Cruze CDX sedan 1.8 automatic

Vehicle type: Small sedan/hatch
Price: $19,490 (Cruze Equipe 1.8 manual) to $28,690 (Cruze SRi-V auto)

Power/torque: 104kW/175Nm (1.8 petrol), 103kW/200Nm (1.4 petrol), 132kW/230Nm (1.6 petrol), 120kW/360Nm (2.0 diesel)
Fuel economy claimed l/100km: 7.0 (1.8 petrol MT), 6.8 (1.4 petrol AT), 7.4 (1.6 petrol MT), 6.7 (2.0 diesel AT)

It’s world’s apart from its predecessor, but you’d struggle to tell them apart.

That’s because the improvements to Holden’s Cruze sedan and hatch are largely under-the-skin. And, although the changes aren’t readily visible, there is a world of difference between the MY14 Cruze and the car it replaces.

Holden has extensively re-engineered the Cruze, revising the suspension and tyres of all petrol models, while adding a punchy 1.6 litre turbo to the SRi grades.

The 1.8 litre petrol, 2.0 litre turbodiesel and 1.4 litre petrol turbo carry over, however the six-speed auto that’s offered on petrol models has undergone substantial revisions to improve driveability.

There’s also enhanced connectivity, thanks to Holden’s MyLink infotainment system now standard across the range.

But most enticingly for new car buyers, the prices have been slashed.

Officially on sale at the end of this month, the 2014 Cruze line-up will start from just $19,490 for the Cruze Equipe 1.8 petrol manual, which replaces the $21,490 CD 1.8 as the entrypoint to the range.

The range tops out at $28,690 for the SRi-V auto, representing an $800 saving in retail price - not counting the added value from the more powerful 1.6 turbo engine and MyLink system.

In fact, every model has had its price clipped, with up to $3500 being lopped off pricetags. Good value? You betcha.

So the Cruze is now a better car to drive, but costs less.

Is that enough to keep it relevant against a brace of new small cars from Holden’s Japanese and Korean competitors - not to mention its traditional rival, Ford? That's the question.

We went to Tasmania to sample the 2014 Cruze range to find out.

THE INTERIOR

Were it not for the new seven-inch LCD touchscreen of the MyLink system sitting atop the centre stack, you’d be hard pressed to identify the 2014 Cruze’s cabin as being any different to the outgoing model.

Seats, trim and switchgear are unchanged, and although there’s plenty of room front and rear, material-quality throughout is average.

Still, it’s a functional cabin, and one that’s now a lot more inviting thanks to the MyLink infotainment hardware.

Besides the usual radio/CD/Aux audio functions, MyLink is designed to work in conjunction with the driver’s mobile phone to deliver enhanced connectivity options.

When hooked up to a mobile’s data connection, MyLink can stream music using the Pandora or Stitcher ‘apps’, in a similar way to how a modern smartphone uses apps.

There’s a home screen with big icons showing which apps are installed, and you navigate using a touch-sensitive screen.

It’s not as slick an interface as your average iPhone or Android device, but when more apps become available the MyLink system should come into its own.

There’s no plans for an internet browser app, but future apps could deliver weather and traffic information to the driver. Those with a Siri-enabled iPhone will also eventually be able to access the versatile voice assistant using a steering-wheel mounted button, rather than having to touch the phone itself.

Besides the high-tech gadgetry, the feature count has risen for 2014. On the base model Equipe, foglamps 17-inch alloys and reverse parking sensors are now standard.

The CDX adds keyless entry and start, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a reversing camera, while the SRi-V gets all of the above along with climate control.

ON THE ROAD

Key criticisms of the Cruze since its introduction centered around poor grip from its Kumho tyres and an automatic transmission that although adequate, could be indecisive whan faced with a hill.

That’s now all changed with a newly-honed chassis and driveline.

The changes apply only to the petrol-engined models, but they are extensive. There is new shift mapping for the six-speed auto and upgraded internals give it better driveability.

While the previous model tended to 'hunt' on inclines, the new auto picks the right ratio and holds it until the road starts to level out.

It’s something that you appreciate more in the 1.8 litre models, where peak torque is just 175Nm and peak power of 104kW arrives at 6300rpm.

SRi and SRi-V variants get a sport-shift mode for the auto, which holds gears for longer and kicks down when braking into a corner.

It does a pretty fair job of predicting which gear the driver wants to be in, and we didn’t feel the need to resort to manual mode.

The Cruze SRi, with a cracking new 1.6 litre turbo engine, is a whole new kettle of fish.

With 132kW and 230Nm it’s got enough pull to make the SRi feel quite sporty at the wheel. And, with peak torque on tap from just 2200rpm, it’s got plenty of tractability for around-town driving

The manual transmission that’s hooked up to the 1.6 turbo as standard is a slick unit too, with a nicely defined gate and a light clutch.

But as impressive as the powertrain and drivetrain improvements are, it’s the chassis that truly shines.

By switching tyre supplier from Kumho to Bridgestone, the Cruze has greatly improved mechanical grip.

On the SRi and SRi-V variants, firmer spring and damper rates sharpen 'turn-in' and feel for the road, while a re-profiled rear-axle improves resistance to body-roll.

It feels a much better balanced car all round.

For the driver, it means a car with improved agility and grip that can be pushed harder - especially on the 18-inch wheels and Bridgestone Potenzas of the SRi-V.

On the twisting mountain roads of Tasmania, chassis competence of this kind can come in handy.

If there’s an area that needs improvement (besides the lack of suspension changes for the diesel), it’s the electric power steering in the SRi. Although accurate and smooth, it doesn’t convey as much feel as we’d prefer for a ‘sporty’ model.

FIRST DRIVE VERDICT

Although still dominant in the sector, Holden’s Cruze sales have been in decline lately, a result of being near the end of a model cycle.

This greatly improved 2014 Cruze range however, which offers more for less, and, in the case of the 1.6 litre turbo, also offers a fiesty drive, will help arrest that slide.

It really is a compelling buy; the new Cruze gives you plenty of car for your money.

In our opinion, the pick is the SRi manual. For $22,490 you get a car that handles superbly, comes well-equipped, has enough power to keep a Veloster Turbo honest, but costs nearly $10k less.

Now, if only Holden could have spruced up that interior...

PRICING (excludes on-roads)

The 2014 Holden Cruze officially goes on sale at the start of April.

  • Cruze Equipe 1.8 MT - $19,490
  • Cruze Equipe 1.8 AT - $21,690
  • Cruze Equipe 1.4 AT - $23,190
  • Cruze Equipe 2.0 AT - $25,690
  • Cruze CDX 1.8 AT (sedan only): $24,190
  • Cruze CDX 2.0 AT (sedan only): $28,190
  • Cruze SRi 1.6 MT - $22,490
  • Cruze SRi 1.6 AT - $24,690
  • Cruze SRi-V 1.6L MT - $26,490
  • Cruze SRi-V 1.6L AT - $28,690

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Filed under: Featured, review, Holden, petrol, Cruze, Holden Cruze, diesel, sedan, hatch, automatic, Manual, fwd, small, family, Advice, special-featured, 5door, 4door, 6m, 6a, 5seat, available, 25-30k, 15-20k, 20-25k, 2013my, 2014my, 2014 holden cruze, 2014 cruze, 2013 holden cruze

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  • FrugalOne says,
    2 years ago
    5 likes
    It still looks/feels old school smile

    Interesting powertrains though

    And although good that its Made In Australia, the quality and attention to detail will never be of Made In Japan
    • Jason says,
      2 years ago
      2 likes
      I am loathe to agree, but for cars, 'Made in Japan' is better quality and more trustworthy than 'Made in Australia'. I wish it wasn't true.
      • JoeR_AUS says,
        2 years ago
        1 like
        Excepted smile, but then I would have to drive it sad
      • MotorMouth says,
        2 years ago
        7 likes
        Who cares? Locally made cars are well built and reliable so what does it matter if cars from Japan are incrementally better, especially when that is ALL they have to offer? Mazda3 is about the only Japanese small car that has any hope of competing with this new Cruze and it looks like Holden have them beat, in terms of both value and performance, across the range.
        • JoeR_AUS says,
          2 years ago
          5 likes
          Yes, agree!

          I just looked to buy a Mazda 3 SP25 and they are over 30k. Makes SRV look a bargain, waiting for test drive.
  • Brett says,
    2 years ago
    8 likes
    I would happily own a Cruze over any of the low end Euro trash models in the market now.

    I like to have peace of mind that if i keep a vehicle longer than its warranty period it isn't going to start costing me a fortune to maintain.
    • Balthazaaaaaargh says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      No, you'll just lose all that money in poor resale value instead... (I kid I kid!)
      • JC says,
        2 years ago
        5 likes
        Check out the resale price of a VW out of warranty! Most wholesalers won't even touch them for fear of the costs associated!!!
        • stephen griffin says,
          2 years ago
          1 like
          Scarey VW.dry
  • bob says,
    2 years ago
    i hope they make it so as the hood lining does not fsll out my cruze has done 9000 and the lining is falling out
  • MotorMouth says,
    2 years ago
    7 likes
    I really don't understand the criticism of Cruze's interior. The SRi-V I test drove yesterday was really nice inside - roomy, comfortable, ergonomic and easy to work out (centre stack). The quality is about the same as Mazda3, I reckon. It goes really well, too. At around $26k drive-away, an SRi is going to be very hard to beat.
    • Chris says,
      1 year ago
      2 likes
      Hi there

      I brought a new Cruze SRI-V 1.4 about three months ago. It is a very rough ride driving around the city in Auto. Some times when in auto you feel that its in the wrong gear. I am bringing it back and I hope to get a 1.6 as I believe that all the 1.4 problems have been sorted in the 1.6.

      Cheers - Chris
  • Dani says,
    1 year ago
    They have missed some very important factors for starters
    The navman system is different it relies on a phone app that costs $100 a year.
    Chlorophyll has been deleted
    The new colours only come out in the July made cruzes
    And the normal navman comes out in the July models
    • sue says,
      1 year ago
      1 like
      I am in the process of purchasing a holden cruise equipe my14. I asked for a tom tom to come with the car for free. Am still not sure about this car yet

  • Peter Burris says,
    1 year ago
    Have just bought a MY14 Equipe 1.8 Manual over a Mazda 3. Got a great deal for, in my opinion, a better "value for my dollars" than either a Corolla or Mazda.
    • CAZZO says,
      1 year ago
      2 likes
      What about resale and reliable?

      Corolla, THE best "real world" car on the planet smile
  • Andrew says,
    1 year ago
    1 like
    My 2013 cruze sriv is the best car I've ever owned.
    It's fun to drive economical as anything and loves
    Corners and with that six speed manual box wow.
    With close to 40 k on clock now it's starting to loosen up
    And surprises me with every drive, owning several
    Commodores even an ss I really don't miss the power
    If the v8 bring on a hsv version and I'm signed up gr8
    Work holden
    • John says,
      1 year ago
      5 likes
      Have been driving my SRi MY14 1.6 turbo for a month now and have to say (even though I suspect few would be reading this) that it is fantastic.
      When doing my research I drove various brands as I was downsizing from a Falcon SR and was keen to find a punchy 4 to match it so I could save on fuel over time but still enjoy a sporty drive when I wanted to. I eventually drove a Cruze 1.8 which I found to be an A to B car with some nice features. Then I drove a 1.4 SRiV 012 demo for fun which had better features and was punchier but the new 1.6 was, and is, another creature altogether. The Cruze interior is contemporary in style with a mix of snazzy and basic trims for the modest price. Everything is easy to get to, works well and, especially at night, looks great. The new Mylink system was not a feature I was particularly attracted to but it looks sharp, is a fun feature to have and is easy to use. The suspension and drivetrain are nicely tuned. Numerous drives through the hills confirmed what I had read online. City economies depend on how I choose to drive. Am definitely saving heaps even though I like to Use the turbo from time to time. Friends of mine have reported that the rear compartment is roomy and they had a good view on our trips away. I will stop now as I think I am sounding a bit like an ad but just wanted to share my thoughts as I'm amongst the first to get my hands on the real deal. smile
      • Julie Schneider says,
        1 year ago
        Hi John ,
        I test drove a Cruze equipe on Friday just gone. What I didn't ask the sales person was whats the difference with the turbo?? I noticed you said you like to use it time to time... is there much of a difference??
        Julie smile
  • Ken says,
    1 year ago
    4 weeks ago I signed up to buy 2014 SRI V cruze sedan only to be told the next day its an 8 week wait because of colour {regal pea***}seems strange to me they must be concentrating on vf commodore
    • Gazzainbris says,
      1 year ago
      We placed an order in late June for the 1.6 MY14 SRi-V Hatch in Perfect Blue. Had to wait a whole because we wanted one of the new ones to come out with SatNav included in the My Link system. Finally picking it up the Friday. It's been about a 10 week wait. Will let you know later on first thoughts.
  • Minsik says,
    11 months ago
    1 like
    smile SRi-V just one month old. Its the fun car to drive. Handles well and feels like its sticking to the road no matter what speed. Feels like a light car with good steering even though fact is it is a heavy car.

    Feels like an extension of the driver and makes a 60+ year old feel like an 18 year old. How is that possible, its the first car I have owned for me. It just felt right.
    Everything works, engine had poke, transmission had good ratios, only a little hesitant at low rvs/speeds that can be overcome by driving technique.
    Good sound system that has good USB and audio command detection system. Still learning how to use that but "verbose off" has simplified the commands and voice prompts to the basics getting rid of all the bumphhh.

    Sri-V pack is the best value with 18" wheels and tyres, Australian sports watts link suspension and quite comfortable ride considering the suspension with tight tyre pressure.

    Cruise ctl is ok but it is not agressive at keeping the speed. runs away a bit downhill!

    Overall very satisfied and at a good value price. Nearest competition is a lot dearer.
  • Bobby says,
    11 months ago
    2 likes
    I thought my cruze was Xmas when I purchased it. It now has 45k on the clock . So far the inside door handles are flaking paint . I had to take it back after 2weeks to put out a few flashing lights in the dash . One head light is out. I have had to spend $647 on new brake pads. Last week I invested another $1k on a split coolant hose and some other seal bull*** . 5 days later after I get the car back from a seaside dealer in Melbourne , the motor is missing and spluttering . The car is 3 months outside of warranty . Poor me.
    • CAZZO says,
      11 months ago
      1 like
      I thought my cruze was Xmas when I purchased it. It now has 45k on the clock . So far the inside door handles are flaking paint . I had to take it back after 2weeks to put out a few flashing lights in the dash . One head light is out. I have had to spend $647 on new brake pads. Last week I invested another $1k on a split coolant hose and some other seal bull*** . 5 days later after I get the car back from a seaside dealer in Melbourne , the motor is missing and spluttering . The car is 3 months outside of warranty . Poor me.


      I said it before, and will say it again

      STICK WITH "MADE IN JAPAN"

      The End

      • Michael says,
        8 months ago
        1 like
        I am about to purchase a new Cruze. The test drive was good and best of all - Australian Made. All cars can have a lemon and I have experienced a very bad new Mazda 3 years ago. Japanese is not all good and I want to help save our car industry if possible.
  • Rachael Warlond says,
    7 months ago
    3 likes
    I've been looking for a new car and didn't even consider the Holden Cruze. I'd concentrated more on Asian models and was really impressed with some of them, but then coincidentally I got a lift home from a friend who had a new Holden Cruze diesel. Even as a passenger I was impressed by it's quiet engine and lack of road and wind noise. This got me thinking to test drive a couple of the Cruze models. I was most impressed in the SRiV with automatic 6-speed transmission (MY14). It's incredible value for money. Does everything except make you a cup of coffee. Auto lights and wipers on, rear parking sensors and camera, SatNav, heated front seats, climate control air, leather interior and so much more. Then I drove it and totally fell in love with it. It is honestly so beautiful to drive, even though it only has a 1.6 litre engine, it's turbo charged and has heaps of power and yet it does it quietly and without fuss. It really does make the Asian cars look and feel ordinary and even though it's classified as a small car it's got almost as much room inside as the medium sized Camry.
    Truly, forget the fact that it's a Holden and test drive it. Anyway, long story short, I bought one and have not for one minute regretted my choice. I actually like driving now - yes, it's that good!!!
    • Emma Wiles says,
      7 months ago
      Rachael's story could have been written by me. I have had the same experience with the SRiV Automatic and purchased it on the spot. We had been looking at VW, Mazda and Subaru but thought "we'd just have a look" as we were driving past. My husband and I were hooked and we pick it up next week. biggrin Talk about smart looking and driving like a dream. I can't wait!!!
      • Guest says,
        7 months ago
        Have you picked up your new car?
    • DE says,
      7 months ago
      1 like
      Be sure to take it back for it's safety recalls..... LOL
    • Coppo says,
      5 months ago
      Same as Rachael,only had been waiting months for release of new Mazda 3s. By the time a few options were added I would have been looking at around $30k. MY14 SRi has better performance and handling for closer to $20k and I got the colour I wanted. Couldn't be happier and better service than most Mazda dealers were presenting.

  • molly says,
    5 months ago
    6 likes
    Before you waste your money on one of these heaps of garbage, google Holden Cruze product review by real people I reckon that will change your mind.
  • Cass says,
    5 months ago
    5 likes
    My ten month old cruze was towed to the dealership cause it doesn't turn over and the smell of petrol is so strong you could smell it inside the house ( the car was sitting on the lawn). Got told by the dealership they don't know what's wrong with it and now I have to wait until they "work it out" so not happy and totally regret buying this car.
  • Nick says,
    3 months ago
    All these comments re asian built or Australian? The Holden cruze has been rebadged its actually a Chevrolet Cruze American most likely assembled in Mexico like many other American cars these days to be competitive. Google chevycruze.com
    • paul says,
      1 month ago
      nonsense!,the cruze is a "world car" and sold and built in many countries around the globe,the my14 cruze is built in aussie,in fact the hatchback is australian designed and not sold in the american market,so it is not a rebadged chevvy
  • molly says,
    24 days ago
    As sad as it is Paul, you also have been sucked in by General Motors Australis. It is common knowledge that the cruze captiva barina and trax are all rebadged daewoos good luck.
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