Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2014 Holden Cruze SRi Z Series.
The Holden Cruze probably hasn’t been the sales star that Holden was hoping it would be.
While some critics have never warmed to the model, I have always had a real soft spot for the versions of the Cruze fitted with the turbo-charged petrol engine, in fact I had the previous SRi-V grade as a 2011 car of the year finalist. I also had it as an honourable mention in our 2012 best car competition.
Previously only a 1.4 litre capacity, the new SRi Z Series boasts a larger 1.6 litre capacity and it really is the pick of the Cruze engine range.
I checked out the six-speed manual version, a combo that will cost you from $26,890 – a little over $2,000 less than the automatic version.
Boasting 132kW and 230Nm, significantly more than the 103kW and 200Nm in the smaller 1.4 litre turbo-charged petrol offering, acceleration is more than respectable. Most importantly, that 230Nm helps you accelerate easily away even in 5th or 6th gear.
The six-speed transmission feels great and the ratios all feel spot on, be warned though – starting off on a steep incline will require some generous use of the accelerator (as I found out while negotiating a steep driveway).
Steering is great, the ride – even with 45 series tyres on the 18”alloy wheels is remarkably good and the handling is impressive.
I averaged about 10.5L/100kms in a week of wholly city driving, the official combined rate for the Cruze SRi Z Series is 7.4L/100kms.
Inside the cabin you will find a nice mix of leather trim, chrome work, brushed alloy and silver highlights. The dashboard has a nice shape and while the centre control buttons are a little busy – most of these functions can be by-passed by way of the steering wheel controls or the large centre touchscreen.
The infotainment system is of course the MyLink system – it is just about as good as any other system you will find. With Stitcher Radio available through the system you can listen to the Behind the Wheel podcast each week without any fuss!
Sat-nav, a reversing camera and easy to use functions – the centre display screen and the MyLink system really are a highlight.
The leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob are nice touches, I’ve always liked the Cruze instruments and the driver info screen is large and easy to read and easy to navigate through as well.
Legroom front and back is really good, the A and C pillars though are a touch chunky and thus visibility from the driver’s seat in the Cruze isn’t great. The lack of a driver’s foot rest is also a constant disappointment.
On the plus side though – everything in the cabin of the car I had fitted really nicely, the Cruze has a nice quiet cabin too and the glove box and door storage areas are nicely sized. The centre armrest bin though is a touch small.
Some more positives to mention in the Cruze SRi Z Series – push button ignition, key-less entry and a really generously sized boot.
As you might expect the 2014 Holden Cruze range comes with a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up: The Cruze SRi Z Series is a car that I would be more than happy to own myself. I’m a big fan of the little turbo engine and I always enjoy the combo with the six-speed manual transmission.
With good fuel economy, plenty of standard features, good looks and a top safety rating there really is no good reason not to give the Australian built offering a test drive.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 132kW and 230Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: Z Series from $26,890