2016 Holden Cruze SRi Z-Series Review

2016 Holden Cruze SRi Z-Series road test and review.

The Holden Cruze and I go back a long way and I’ve always been a bit of a fan of the turbocharged petrol engine, especially when matched to the six-speed manual transmission.

In 2016 though the question is whether the Holden Cruze is still aiming up well against its competition, the answer to that is both yes and no.

One reason that there aren’t as many Holden Cruze SRi Z-Series cars leaving Holden showrooms is quite simply the pricing. Sure, the Cruze range kicks off with the competitively priced Equipe grade model, but choose an SRi Z-Series and you are just north of $27,000 for a manual, $29,340 auto.

You could say that the standard features justify that price, we are talking reverse camera, push-button ignition, 18” alloy wheels, heated front seats and sat-nav, still, I think given the competition here that Holden might be aiming a bit high, especially given that Australian small car buyers aren’t exactly pushing each other out the way to buy one!

Thankfully, there is no price difference for either the hatch or the sedan variant.

The 2015 styling update was also a bit off-target I think. The front styling looks gawky and awkward and that’s a shame as I quite like the look of the Series One Cruze. Overall, in 2016, yep, it’s starting to look a bit tired.

Same goes for the cabin, nothing has really changed in six or so years and it’s starting to feel that way. There is nothing necessarily wrong with the cabin, it’s just falling behind rivals in terms of styling and functionality.

And then if you were to buy a Cruze SRi Z-Series you would end up with an engine that suits some driving styles, but not all. Only 1.6 litres in capacity and boasting 132kW and 230Nm, the engine cruises along nicely on the highway and has surprisingly long legs, the issue is the turbo-lag when driving around town.

The engine really needs to be revved and driven to keep the turbo providing maximum effectiveness and while that’s OK, it’s not the style that most high-spec small car buyers are likely to be looking for.

Sure, Holden has dressed-up and is marketing the SRi Z-Series as the ‘sporty’ Cruze, but it really isn’t that sporty in feel or particularly quick, even when driven to its maximum potential.

I know, it sounds like I’m beating the Holden up, that’s a shame because the overall engineering and design package is better than that. The chassis feels stiff and the car is quite well-planted on the road, the steering is nicely tuned and the Cruze rides along admirably.

The MyLink infotainment system (which isn’t the latest generation of the system) is still a winner and there’s reasonable legroom front and back, as well as a good-sized boot.

I’m also a fan of the Holden Cruze cruise-control system which allows you to incrementally adjust your set speed up/down by 1km/h and all grades of Cruze in 2016 come with a full five-star ANCAP safety score.

Prestige paint, anything but flat red or white, will cost you an additional $550.

Summing it up; I have always had a soft spot for the Holden Cruze, in 2016 though and especially taking the pricing and front styling into account, I’m not as enamored with it as I was a couple of years ago.

It’s still a reasonably good car, it’s just a bit past its ‘use by’ date.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Holden Cruze SRi Z-Series

Engine: 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 132kW and 230Nm

Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic

Safety: Five stars

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km

Origin: Australia

Price: from $27,140

About the author

Joel Helmes

Joel is the founder, editor and managing director of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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