Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDI LT - CHEVROLET CRUZE Car Review

Review

Added: 07 Nov 2009
Last update:

SOMETIMES a manufacturer introduces a car which becomes a milestone of success. Such is the potential of the Chevrolet Cruze.

The model I drove may be just another medium-sized, four-door diesel saloon, but it had that 'wow' factor that somehow sets it apart from many competitors.

To define this you have to look at the history of Chevrolet in this country. The famous American brand returned to give a boost to the ailing Daewoo marque which had previously been taken over by the American giant General Motors.

So if you buy a UK Chevrolet you are not getting an American gas guzzler, but a Korean car which sits behind the golden bow tie badge of Chevrolet.

The Daewoo cars which majored on fantastic customer service could have been much better. When GM stepped in the range was gradually improved but the Cruze has made a quantum leap in terms of quality without compromising the value for money approach which has always been a hallmark of the brand.

Classed as a compact sedan in American terms, the Cruze features four-door coupe styling and has a sizzling close-to-the-ground stance which draws many second glances.

I always judge a car's people appeal by the number of interested inquiries I receive from passers-by. The Cruze proved to be a a remarkable magnet for interest which was only exceeded in recent times by a Maserati.

But it is the combination of vastly improved fit and finish, good looks, punchy performance plus the finishing touch of very high value that makes Cruze a statement of the way ahead for Chevrolet in the UK.

What GM has actually done is re-invent the Vauxhall Cavalier, the saloon that was the darling of the sales reps and family drivers in decades past. The Cavalier was one of those right-price, right-time good-to-drive cars that made a fortune for the company.

Whether the Cruze will make a fortune remains to be seen but its pricing has to attract a vast amount of interest. My test car, a 2.0 VCDI in LT trim with sat nav costs £16,195 (£15,445 without options.) and represented exceptional value.

There are also much cheaper versions with 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines and the whole range does represent some very serious competition to the current in-house stablemate the Vauxhall Insignia.

It raises the bar over quality in the value compact segment and by the look of things its residual values could be surprisingly good.

Developed to satisfy European tastes in design and chassis performance, highly-specified Cruze is the brainchild of a multi-national design team, based in Korea with input from colleagues in Germany, the United States and Australia.

But the proof of the pudding is how it drives and happily the 2.0 turbo diesel really excels.

With a punchy 150PS on tap - enough to give a 130mph top speed via a neat five-speed manual gearbox, it returns a healthy combined economy figure of 50.4mpg.

Add a 0-60mph sprint of 8.7 seconds and a little of this car's character starts to emerge.

Cruze is a textbook example of revolutionary being much better than evolutionary.

FAST FACTS

Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDI LT

Price: £15,445

Mechanical: 150ps, 1999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max speed: 130mph.

0-62mph: 8.7 seconds

Combined mpg: 50.4

Insurance group: 10

CO2 emissions: 149g/km

BIK rating: 15%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

Words: Ian Johnson

Keywords: Chevrolet, Cruze