2011 Holden Cruze SRi-V road test and review.
We’re a spoilt bunch in 2011. How can an Australian built, front-wheel drive, four-cylinder Holden be so good?
Most of the time I am a glass half-full kind of person, but when I learned I was to road test and review a 1.4 litre turbo Holden Cruze SRi-V I will admit I had flashbacks to the Holden Camira!
I know, I know, a lot has changed since the 1980’s but I just had this terrible feeling that I was going to be really disappointed in this car, I certainly wasn’t expecting what came my way.
Five minutes after picking the car up I was grinning from ear to ear, the Holden Cruze Series two is a real winner.
The now locally-built Holden Cruze is essentially the same on the outside as the imported series one; I guess when you’re on a good thing stick with it.
It’s a good looking car; everything fits together nicely and seems to be made of quality materials.
One thing that stood out to me straight away however was the quality of the paint job, there is certainly a bit more of an ‘orange peel’ effect in the paint than I was expecting and you could see a slight difference in tone between the metal body panels and the plastic front and rear bumpers.
I happened to park the Cruze next to a current shape Commodore and was surprised how little difference there actually is in size. When you put the two vehicles together you can also see real similarities in the designs.
The dashboard controls for the stereo are a little too complex for my liking, luckily there are steering wheel mounted controls at hand.
The opposite side of the steering wheel houses the control buttons for the cruise control.
I felt the air-conditioning/heater controls were set to low down on the dash and with a number of buttons on the control panel you do have to take your eyes off the road to make a change.
Once again the overall feel of the dashboard, buttons and control is that of quality.
I thought the vehicles gauges were particularly attractive and easy to read.
One thing that I felt the Holden Cruze could use however is a footrest.
A good comprise here, the Cruze gripped nicely when pushed into a corner at speed and yet potholes were barely felt.
The ride and handling of our modern cars thankfully has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years and the Cruze is a good example of how much better modern cars are to ride in.
Our test car was fitted with Holden’s 1.4 litre intercooled turbocharged engine mated to a six speed manual transmission.
The engine boasts 103Kw of power and 200Nm of torque.
For a relatively large car the small capacity engine really does a terrific job of getting the Cruze moving.
There is a slight hesitation down in the revs before the turbo kicks in but put your foot down and the Cruze has more than a respectable amount of acceleration.
I am still scratching my head trying to work out why the car has a six speed gearbox however.
Driving in the city I never even got close to using 6th.
On the highway at 100Km/h the cruise revs at 2200rpm in fifth and about 1800rpm in sixth.
To me it just seems unnecessary, by the time you get into sixth on an Australian highway the chances are you will be faced by a hill or a bend in the road and having that extra gear really just means more work for the driver.
Also when going downhill in 6th the vehicle really wants to roll away meaning you have to use the brakes or drop a gear to control your speed.
I averaged about 7 litres per 100 on the highway, a touch over 8 litres in the city, a good result but more than Holden’s claim of a combined 6.4 litres per 100.
The new series two Cruze has a five star ANCAP safety rating, the vehicle’s green guide rating is four and a half stars.
It’s now no surprise to me that Holden have been selling the series two Cruze like hotcakes, generally Australian car buyers get it right and I think they are spot on here.
The Cruze offers a great mix of comfort, sportiness, size, economy and safety.
If you are considering joining the masses check out the 1.4 litre four cylinder, I reckon it will be the engine you choose.
The series two Holden Cruze starts from just under $21,000