Holden has lifted the veil on its version of General Motors global small car offering, the Cruze. Previously shown as a Chevrolet and Daewoo, Australia's own version stays true to the international design but scores a unique grille.
Set to replace the unloved Viva and sit below the European Astra, the Cruze - slightly larger than a Toyota Corolla - will come as a sedan with two levels of trim: entry level CD and more luxurious CDX.
The Cruze will come impressively-equipped with a six-speaker MP3 and iPod compatable CD player, steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, electronic air conditioning and a trip computer. The CDX also receives heated leather seats, 17 inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and rear park sensors.
On the safety front a new stronger body structure is complimented by Electronic Stability Control, Anti-lock brakes, Traction Control and six airbags.
With a fresh new interior design and greatly improved build quality and handling package, the Cruze is intended to improve perceptions of Holden's small car range (above the lacklustre current offerings).
The Cruze looks alright: the sharp rising crease along the belt-line and the sloping curve of the roof works well. The interior too is modern, surprisingly spacious (although head-room at the back looks a little compromised), and nicely finessed with metal highlights.
Engine choices include a 103kW 1.8 litre, while a grunty 110kW 2.0 litre turbodiesel is also available. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Pricing is expected to be sharp, sub-$22k. The first models to appear in Holden showrooms in the second quarter this year will be fully imported, with Australian-production of the Cruze beginning 2010.