I’m not afraid to admit that when the Holden Cruze first hit Australian roads I was a little sceptical.
I was sceptical because in my opinion the other Holden’s with roots in South Korea have been really disappointing. These models include the superseded Barina and the current Captiva.
If you want to take it a step further I was never really a fan of the Vauxhall inspired Astra’s and Vectra’s either.
So when the Cruze came along I was braced for the worst.
But 12 months ago I had a drive, a series two Holden Cruze powered by Holden’s 1.4 litre turbo petrol engine and six speed manual gearbox.
I was absolutely blown away by the car.
In recent times I have been getting about in one of the new hatch derivatives – again CD spec and powered by the 1.4 litre turbo.
This time however the Cruze was an auto.
I’m really pleased to say that all the elements that I found so pleasing last year remain just as enjoyable today.
The little petrol engine punches well above its weight, so well in fact I reckon if you didn’t tell people the capacity they would think it was at least a 1.8 litre.
The six speed auto isn’t the best transmission in the world however.
It takes a few moments to find drive, takes a second or two to find the right gear at low speeds, and it allows the Cruze to roll back on hill starts, in saying all of that it does the job and it’s not a reason not to buy.
My personal preference would be for the six speed manual which better allows you to squeeze a little more out of the turbo engine and costs $2300 less.
Fuel economy is pretty good, the claimed figure is a combined 6.9 litres per 100, in mostly city driving I managed just over 9 litres per 100 which is quite reasonable and right on the claimed urban consumption of 9.5 litres per 100.
From an external styling perspective I don’t think the Cruze losses anything in hatch form; it’s still a very crisp looking design.
Inside the cabin of the Cruze you will find a really well thought out and attractive interior.
The good points include a great looking dashboard, generally nice quality plastic and materials, heaps of good sized storage spots, reasonable leg room, and very generous boot space.
A couple of small complaints however, the entry level CD does get a bit of boring grey plastic on the centre dashboard fascia around the stereo/climate control areas.
The seats are a touch on the firm side, steering wheel and arm rests could also be a little softer, and once again there’s no footrest (a point every motoring journalist has made!).
Most importantly the Cruze CD is very well appointed.
Standard features include a trip computer, Bluetooth capabilities, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, air-conditioning, and USB and MP3 inputs.
It’s safe too – five star ANCAP rated, and environmentally friendly with a five star green vehicle guide rating.
Summing it up the Cruze CD hatch is a generously appointed, safe, reasonably comfortable and enjoyable car to drive.
Priced from $25,040 for the auto it also represents good value for money.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2012 Holden Cruze
- Engine: 1.4 litre turbo petrol producing 103kW and 200Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000kms
- Origin: Australia
- Price: From $22,740
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Holden JH Cruze.