This 1.4-litre turbo-engine replaces the old 1.8-litre unit and totally transforms the mid-range Cruze, as it is now a more effortless car to drive. There is 103kW and 200Nm on tap and because the torque is available low down, you can maintain momentum without taking massive spoonfuls of throttle.
It is not really possible to achieve the claimed 5.8litres/100km, however, I will say that with some freeway and city driving, I managed around 7.7litres/100km, which is still impressive.
The Cruze would benefit from a more modern infotainment system such as the one seen in the Sonic RS and Trailblazer, as the current setup is beginning to fall behind that of its competitors. There is one department where it does shine and that is boot space -at 425 litres, it is one of the most practical cars in its segment.
We had the 1.4T LS sedan on test, which costs R249 600 and comes with a 5-year/120 000km warranty and a 3-year/60 000km service plan. I believe the Cruze offers good value within its segment, although it will have a tough time against the recently introduced Toyota Corolla and the Korean siblings, the Kia Cerato and Hyundai Elantra.