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Cruising in Chevrolet’s Cruze

18.09.2015

THE Chevrolet Cruze has been one of those cars that remain anonymous; can you remember when you last noticed a Cruze on the road? Neither can I and yet, the car sells well, with 274 units being sold in August 2015 alone. It’s a one-dimensional machine; transportation with a reasonable amount of space is its brief, which works well for the rental car industry or a family person who requires basic transportation.

Recently, I drove the updated Cruze, in 1.4T manual hatchback guise as Chevrolet attempt to play catch-up with offerings from Korea, Ford and the ever-green Corolla.

What’s new?

The exterior of both the sedan and the hatch feature an updated front grille and a new fog lamp and LED light design, while the rear end of the hatch model remains the same. I still think the hatchback version of the Cruze is quite an unattractive car however, the sedan looks far better, in my opinion.

Inside, both models are unchanged, apart from the addition of the Mylink infotainment system in the LS models, which I happened to have on test. The Mylink system really lifts the interior of the car; it looks a lot more modern and adds features such as Smartphone integration, Bluetooth and USB compatibility on a colour-screen display and a marked improvement from the blue-lit digital item in the pre-facelift model.

Powertrain

The 1.4-litre turbo petrol model that I drove has 103kW/200Nm on tap, which makes for decent progress with great in-gear overtaking acceleration and very good fuel consumption. I managed to achieve 7.2 litres/100km during my time with the car which isn’t very close to the 5.8 litres/100km claimed figure, but sill impressive.

I do think that the six-speed manual in the car isn’t quite up to scratch and would rather opt for the new six-speed automatic that is available with this motor in the sedan variant. That being said, this segment isn’t renowned for its manual gearbox feel, so what the Cruze provides is more than adequate.

Ride comfort and handling

This is perhaps where the Cruze impressed me the most… it is a very comfortable car on the open road, simply set the cruise control to the national speed limit and the Cruze does what its name suggests very well indeed in a very silent manner. The Cruze hasn’t been set up to be supremely sporty however, I would certainly not call its handling poor - just adequate.

Verdict

The updated Chevrolet Cruze is overall, a nice car; it ticks most of the boxes for a good daily drive and has the standard specification to compete well with its rivals. However, the updated Ford Focus 1.5-litre turbo in both hatch and sedan guise is, in my opinion, the better option in this segment despite its slight premium over the Chevrolet.

Warranty and service plan

The model that I had on test comes with a three-year/60 000km service plan and a five-year/120 000km warranty.

Price:

Chevrolet Cruze hatch 1.4T LS  R265 200

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Article written by Sean Nurse
18.09.2015
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