Downsizing with more vooma, Chevrolet has tried to pump some life into its C-segment competitor, the Cruze.
When it was first launched a few years ago, the sedan firmly cemented its intentions to challenge the ever-popular Toyota Corolla. Later, the bow-tie brand introduced a hatch derivative, which certainly got people talking, particularly on the subject of styling.
Now Chev has revealed something new - its first turbocharged powertrain in South Africa and it will be found under the bonnet of the newly refreshed Cruze sedan and hatch ranges.
Those familiar with the General Motors (GM) family tree will know that Chevrolet and Opel fall into the GM stable. Opel already has a turboengine in its Astra line-up and it is this 1.4-litre turbocharged Ecotec petrol engine.
Set to replace the outgoing 1.8-litre naturally aspirated motor, this 103kW/200Nm engine proves that downsizing is clearly the way of the future.
The performance delivery is smooth and there isn’t a hint of turbo-lag as the powertrain, which is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, is comfortable off the mark, doing the 0-100km/h shuffle in 9.3 seconds onto a top speed of 195km/h.
Chevrolet has found the perfect blend of performance and frugality, because while it delivers a brisk and fairly responsive ride, the 5.8 litres/100km fuel-consumption figure is what will really impress, coupled with Co2 emissions of 135g/km.
In terms of on-the-road feel, nothing has changed and the Cruze still feels planted and provides a ride true to a C-segment vehicle.
Along with its new heart, the Cruze received a minor nip and tuck and some of the cosmetic changes include LED side indicators integrated into the door mirrors and a chrome belt on the hatch, along with two additional colours - Mars Stone Blue and Blue Sapphire.
Hardly noticeable, I’m sure you’ll agree. But at least the standard features are plentiful across the LS- and LT-spec ranges, including one-touch-up and -down front electric windows, while LS-specific options include leather upholstery, a sunroof and the ‘Driver’s Pack’ which incorporates automatic climate control and rear parking sensors. New model changes notwithstanding, the entry level 1.6 sedan now also benefits from the addition of ESC, something the rest of the Cruze range still enjoys.
The introduction of ESC in the entry level sedan means the entire Cruze range now has a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
The introduction of the new turbocharged Cruze models to the range allows Chevrolet to target a new market of drivers that wants fuel-efficient cars but not sacrifice on the performance they love.
The 1.4T LS sedan and hatch is supported by the Cruze 1.6 and 1.6 LS sedans along with the 1.6 LS hatch.
All Chevrolet Cruze derivatives are sold inclusive of a 5-year/120 000km warranty and a 3-year/60 000km service plan.