On the outside
Since the rear end was my least favourite part of the sedan, you'd imagine that hacking it off would solve the issues. However, unfortunately, I must report that I'm even less of a fan of the back end now than ever before. It's as though someone in a board room somewhere decided that a hatch was a great idea for the range and were so psyched about it they forgot to inform the design team until the 11th hour that moulds were needed in the factory, like yesterday.
The rear end aside, I think the Cruze is still exceptionally good looking and the range hasn't really aged or tired since its launch in 2009. The bold front end and flared flanks give it an edge over the softer looking competition.
On the inside
The interior is characterised by harmonious, flowing lines with quality soft-touch materials used throughout. This is a high quality interior that really stands out amongst competitors. The design team worked wonders in making occupants at the front feel cocooned - using the twin-cockpit layout from a Corvette as a template - while maintaining the overall spaciousness of the entire cabin.
Behind the wheel
Powering my Cruze hatch was a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol motor linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. There's 103kW and 200 torques to make the Cruze go, during which it'll sip at a rate of just 7.6 litres/100km. Not too bad that.
The 'box is probably the biggest let down, being long in throw and quite imprecise in its action. Snap changes are out of the question.
Sportiness is definitely not a priority though, which explains the lack of feel through the steering. Nonetheless you'll find the Cruze pleasant to drive. It's comfortable, exceptionally quiet and offers decent levels of grip when required.
Add into the equation all the equipment you could possibly need, all of which is standard and you've got yourself all the car you'll ever need. It really is that good. If you can live with that rear end, or have a particularly short garage, the hatch will serve you well. Otherwise just get the sedan instead.
Engine: 1364cc 4-cylinder turbopetrol
Acceleration 0-100km/h: 9.3 seconds (claimed)
Fuel Consumption: 7.6l/100km) (claimed)
Service: Three-year/60,000km service plan and five-year/120,000km warranty