Chevrolet Cruze VCDi Hatchback - CHEVROLET CRUZE Car Review

Review

Added: 10 Mar 2012
Last update:

FOR Louis Chevrolet, the Swiss-born co-founder of the famous automobile marque which bears his name, his motto was simple: “Never Give Up”.

And that same philosophy has been the cornerstone of the company’s way of thinking throughout it 100-year history.

With the reintroduction of the brand into Europe in 2005, Chevrolet took the bold decision to showcase their products on the racetrack by entering the rough and tumble world of touring car racing, first with the Lacetti then with the new Cruze saloon.

Back-to-back World Touring Car Championship titles in 2010 and 2011 for Frenchman Yvan Muller helped make the racing Cruze a firm favourite with WTCC fans the world over, while Jason Plato also helped promote the brand when he lifted the 2010 British Touring Car Championship title, also in a two-litre 158mph racing Cruze.

Thanks to a range of modern vehicles, including the Spark supermini, Aveo family hatchback, Captiva SUV, Orlando people carrier and Camaro muscle machine, the Cruize did its bit to help Chevy sell more than 12,500 vehicles in the UK last year.

New at the end of last year was the introduction of a five-door hatchback version of the family-sized Cruze, which offers more practicality and load-lugging capabilities than its saloon-styled sibling.

Retaining the bold styling of the saloon, with its in-your-face two-part grille highlighted by the large gold bow-tie design Chevrolet badge, visual impressions are that the Cruze is no shrinking violet and means business on the road.

Get behind the wheel and you certainly won’t be disappointed, for the 160bhp two-litre oil-burning unit is a real gem, pulling plenty of torque from 1,750 revs, helping to give the car a top speed of 127mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.5 seconds.

While the Cruze is something of a smooth operator on open roads, the six-speed gearbox does take a bit of working at lower speeds in busy town traffic, but that doesn’t seem to compromise fuel consumption in any way. Official figures show the car capable of nearly 37mpg on the urban cycle and 50mpg combined.

Prices for the Cruze VCDi diesel range from £17,195 in LT trim to £19,295 for the LTZ Executive, which comes with leather seats and built-in satellite navigation. Automatic versions are available for a £1,000 premium.

At these prices, the Cruze looks something of a steal when compared with many of its mainstream competitors and when you consider that many of the car’s components are also found on the far more expensive Vauxhall Astra, its specification and data listings certainly make for good reading.

It’s hard to find fault with the car’s interior design. Some of the plastics and fittings could be a little more pleasing to the touch, but with its budget price you can understand Chevrolet have had to make savings somewhere along the line.

That said, there are some neat touches, such as the use of fabric coverings on the dash and unusual ambiant blue lighting on the dials.

Cabin space allows four adults to be transported in comfort. The seats are comfortable and supportive and there is an abundance of cubby holes all around. There’s even a couple of cupholders housed in the armrest which folds out of the rear seat back.

Boot space is up to the mark. With the seats up there is room for 413 litres, while with the 60-40 split back seat folded this increases to 883 litres. However, the seats don’t fold flat, so the overall carrying capacity is a little compromised.

Safety issues on the Cruze are well catered for. The car has been awarded the top five-star rating in Euro NCAP tests helped by its array of front, side and curtain airbags, ESP, traction control and advanced braking systems.

Reliability should not prove any sort of problem for the Cruze’s longevity and Chevrolet have shown confidence in all their products by offering a five-year/100,000-mile warranty throughout their vehicle range.

With its chunky, masculine looks, the hatchback addition to the Cruze saloon should help the marque win over many new customers and with a smaller 1.7-litre diesel engine due later in the year and an estate version also waiting in the wings, there’s certainly no sign of Chevrolet giving up anytime soon.

 

FAST FACTS

Chevrolet Cruze VCDi Hatchback

Price: £17,195

Mechanical: 160bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.5 seconds

Combined mpg:  50.4

Insurance group: 22

CO2 emissions: 147g/km

BIK rating: 23%

Warranty: 5yrs/ 100,000 miles

Words: Bruce Booth

Keywords: Chevrolet, Cruze, hatchback, Family Cars, Chevrolet, Cruze, Manufacturers, £15-20,000, 147