HatchBack to Back: Holden gets Cruzey With SRiV and CD

Cruze SRiV profileWith the release of Holden’s VF Commodore imminent, it’s been easy to forget that Holden’s other investment, the Cruze, has also had a bit of an upgrade. Although exterior and interior remains virtually unchanged, it’s the addition of a new engine and some tech that has the Cruze in the news.
A Wheel Thing had the the SRiV, with the new 1.6L turbo against the standard CD with 1.8L naturally aspirated; there’s a significant Cruze CD profiledifference to the drive, as one can anticipate, yet the CD hangs on….
There’s little doubt that the Cruze is due for a tidy up, both outside and inside; with the Commodore and the forthcoming Malibu sharing a family look it would make sense for the Cruze to cop a redesign to align it with its bigger siblings. It’s not unattractive however the sharp and edgy look, especially the hawklike headlight cluster now clashes with the softer, more rounded Holden range. The rear on the sedan does have a resemblance to the new Commodore and Malibu whilst the hatch and wagon rears just don’t seem to fit.
The interior in both the CD and SRiV is comfortable enough, with different shades to the plastic trim to help differentiate plus the dash is subtly different. The display offers info such as aircon settings, outside temperature, plusCruze CD seats personalisationCruze SRiV dash settings. There’s heated seats in the SRiV and somewhat oddly, with this car being a manual (the CD was an auto), I sat closer to the console and my left knee would contact the fan speed for the aircon and all of a sudden there’d b a blast of air…Both cars have Holden’s new MyLink integrated entertainment system, however tCruze CD dashhe screen is set an inch or so deep in the plastic which makes the touchscreen experience somewhat lacklustre. It does offer new internet apps and Bluetooth music streaming from most Bluetooth enabled handsets. Cruze SRiV seatsIt should really be a flush mount design, for better ergonomics, as the finger tip needs to cross over hard plastic and the interface has the stations buttons at the bottom of the screen… Cruze CD bootPlastics are of a good build quality but there’s not a lot of softness or padding whilst switchgear on the tiller is generic General Motors. In the rear, there’s plenty of cargo space, with the split fold Cruze SRiV hatchseats opening up to a considerable amount of room. There’s cloth seats on the CD with the SRiV getting leather.
Both cars have a great ride quality, with the suspension being rejigged to give a slightly more sporty ride in the SRiV and a touch more comfort in the CD, thanks to massaging of the struts and dampers plus a stiffer rear torsion beam setup. Both hang on through corners and with the change to more Australian spec tyres from Bridgestone, there’s a little less road noise but more grip.
The 1.6L turbo engine replaces the 1.4iTi powerplant, with the latter still available as an option; there’s more usable torque across the engine’s powerband, with 230Nm available to play with. A Wheel Thing’s test cars were the hatches, with the SRiV delivering a six speed manual experience; naturally, it’s got a light clutch whilst the actual shift itself is a little unrefined, with the spring pressure not as tight as it could be (more confidence in the feel of the throw) and the shift from second to third seems as if the slot for third gear is half an inch too far to the right, as more than once the lever seemed to hit a wall, rather than slotting home. The CD has the 1.8L engine and was mated to the six speed auto. It’s a slug by comparison and nowhere near as economical either, with a good combination of short and long runs Cruze CD fuelCruze SRiV frontseeing 3/4 of a tank used and just 400kms on the trip meter. The gear changes in the auto don’t “slur” into each other, with a small gap, almost like a manual change instead, between each gear. It’s not bad but it’s disconcerting when a smoother change is expected.
Helping the Cruze cause has also been a price drop, up to $3500 plus the extra equipment weighs in with a value of around $1200 to $1600.
There’s no doubt at all that the Cruze is a vital component of Holden’s armoury; it’s up against vehicles like the Mazda3, Kia’s Cerato, the Focus or i30. It matches well but does, in A Wheel Thing’s opinion, need an overhaul of the interior and exterior.
For more info: http://www.holden.com.au/cars/cruze

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