HOLDEN CRUZE SRI-V REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Small sedan
Fuel Economy (claimed): 6.4 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 6.8 l/100km
Revised suspension, a six-speed manual transmission and a thrifty yet strong turbo-charged engine give the new Australian-built SRi-V Cruze performance to match its style.
The result is a Cruze that can now compete, on its merits, against the best in the small car class.
Quality: While the finish on the dash top and doors is a little plain, the leather-trimmed seats and silver and gloss black trim appears to be robust, well fitted and durable.
Comfort: There’s little to quibble about, but short drivers may find a lack of forward seat travel. Rear seat headroom can be tight below the swooping roof – width on the other hand is generous all round.
Equipment: The SRi-V features a brilliant 10Gb audio with ‘pause and play-back’ for live radio along with navigation and DVD capability. It also comes with heated seats, proximity key and push-button start, cruise control, 17-inch alloys and a subtle bodykit.
Storage: Boot space is a generous 445 litres and is enhanced by 60:40 split/fold rear seats. Unfortunately, the hinged arm still hangs deep into the boot space. If you’re unaware of it, you can crush the shopping if you’re loaded up and slam the boot.
Top and bottom of the dash feature small-item storage, there’s a handy-sized glovebox and front door pockets with bottle holders.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: While the previous 1.8 litre engine continues on in CD and CDX variants, the SRi and SRi-V get the new 1.4 litre ‘Intelligent Turbo Induction’ (iTi) engine.
Despite losing 1kW to the larger engine, the new 1.4 iTi turbo more than makes up for it with an additional 24Nm of torque available from just 1850 RPM.
While performance isn’t eye-watering, it is strong enough to give the Cruze real zest when required. Better still, even under duress, the efficient new engine returns a very modest fuel consumption - we averaged 6.8 l/100k despite some spirited driving.
Refinement: From idle the new engine is near-silent and free from vibration; and, as revs rise, the composure remains. The shift action of the six-speed manual is also pleasant, but let down by a light and somewhat numb clutch.
We were also a little disappointed to find that the Cruze is blighted by excessive tyre-roar across all but the smoothest of sealed surfaces.
Suspension: Front suspension is MacPherson strut; the torsion beam rear axle gains a stability-enhancing Watts-link on 1.4 iTi models. Comfort is exceptional and handling (turn-in and cornering) feels planted and secure.
Braking: Four wheel disc brakes with vented front rotors provide secure stopping with progressive pedal feel.
ANCAP rating: 5 stars
Safety features: ABS brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, six airbags, front seat belts are height adjustable, with pretensioners while all seats feature three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3 years/100,000kms
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
Toyota Corolla Levin ZR ($27,990) – A hatch-only proposition, but line-ball for price and a matter of splitting hairs for equipment and value. Ultimately though, not as rewarding to drive as the turbo Cruze. (see Corolla reviews)
Mazda3 SP25 ($29,255) – A higher price also brings with it the benefit of added performance, but at the cost of poorer fuel economy. A small navigation screen and lack of leather trim put the 3 on the back-foot. (see Mazda3 reviews)
Kia Cerato Koup ($23,690) – For the budget conscious, the Cerato Koup delivers an impressive visual punch with neat interior styling and a sexy coupe body. Versatility, driveability, refinement and equipment all trail the Cruze however. (see Cerato reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Holden’s Cruze was already a competent small-car contender and the raft of refinements brought by the series II update only serves to strengthen its case.
The value on offer with the new Cruze SRi-V turbo, the handling balance, flexible engine and brilliantly innovative audio system take another strong step in the right direction.
It’s a very good drive and well worth consideration.