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2013 Holden Cruze Sportswagon Review

Joel Helmes reviews the Holden Cruze Sportswagon.

Holden Cruze Sportswagon review

Joel Helmes reviews the new Cruze Sportwagon.

There is no bigger fan of the Holden Cruze than me. Well, technically that’s only partly correct, you see the Cruze offers three different engine choices, one is a winner and the other two are sub-par.

The new Sportswagon version only offers the two disappointing engines – the 1.8 litre petrol and 2.0 litre turbo diesel.

Sadly the ultra-impressive 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine is limited only to the sedan and hatch variants.

There’s also another difference between the hatch, sedan and wagon – the Sportswagon is completely manufactured in South Korea, the hatch and sedan are screwed together in Australia using mostly South Korean components.

Now, and it may just be psychosomatic, but for some reason the Cruze Sportswagon just didn’t feel as tight and well put together as the (mostly) Australian product.

My test vehicle was fitted with the 1.8 petrol engine and power plant that only comes mated to a six-speed auto transmission. I can quite easily sum this engine up in one word – lacklustre.

With only 104kW and 176Nm on tap, it gets the Cruze off the line OK but the more it’s pushed, the more it resists. If you want to overtake at any speed it has a good hard think about it and then delivers very little action.

Compare this to the 1.6 turbo petrol; an engine that in manual form will quite happily and impressively accelerate away at speed even in 6th gear and you can see why I have my engine preference.

The 1.8 is also a bit noisy and fuel consumption is nothing to write home about either – I averaged 9.1L/100km in city driving, the official figure is a combined 7.4L/100km.

Beyond that the Cruze Sportswagon offered a harsh ride, thanks mostly to 50 series tyres on the standard 17”alloys, the steering though is direct (albeit perhaps a touch heavy).

In the cabin the Sportswagon offers the standard Cruze layout – but don’t go looking for the impressive MyLink infotainment system as found in other Holden models, the Sportswagon misses out. That also means no satellite-navigation or reversing camera (though you do get rear parking sensors).

A glaring omission in the Cruze is a driver’s footrest; combine this with firm seats, rock-hard armrests and steering wheel and the comfort levels are well down on where they should be.

Cabin storage areas are also only adequately sized, leg room front and back is just OK too. Boot space though in the Sportwagon is pretty impressive.

Chunky ‘A’ pillars do tend to affect forward visibility but the view from the driver’s seat is otherwise quite clear.

One area where the Cruze can’t be criticized is safety – it boasts a full five-star safety rating.

Summing it up – the Cruze Sportswagon is nicely styled and pricing is OK, overall however it was another disappointing glimpse at GM’s South Korean sourced vehicles, the engine in particular is a major let-down.

NUTS and BOLTS

Engine: 1.8 litre petrol delivering 104kW and 176Nm

Transmission: Six-speed auto

Safety: Five stars

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000kms

Origin: South Korea

Price: From $25,790

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