Chevy hatches another winner - CHEVROLET CRUZE Car Review

Review

Added: 16 Jul 2011
Last update:

WITH distinctive sporty lines, a choice of engines and three trim levels, the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback looks set to pick up where the saloon left off – as an award-winner.

Motorists these days want a lot from their cars and thankfully the Cruze hatchback appears to deliver on all counts.

It has great looks with a sculpted front end, smart light clusters and a horizontally-separated radiator grille with the Chevrolet emblem proudly sitting in-between.

In addition, there are body-coloured door mirrors, smart alloys and a chunky looking rear end that reflects the vehicle's sporty prowess.

But there's so much more to this five-door hatch than looks.

It is comfortable to drive, offers plenty of room for four adults – five at a push, has a lot of appealing technology, comes with a whole host of safety features and even has a price tag that won't break the bank.

Chevrolet believes the 1.6-litre petrol-powered model in mid-trim - the LT - will prove the most popular with customers and priced at £14,895, it's very clear to see why - even though there's the bottom-of-the-range LS which costs just a few pence under £14,000 mark.

The interior boasts a fairly simplistic yet appealing design with a move from the mass of plastic on the dashboard to half fabric styling that may sound quite weird and tacky, but in reality looks pretty good.

There is a dual cockpit layout style with a large central stack housing many of the function controls and there's plenty of creature comforts to help make any journey that little bit more enjoyable.

For example, the LT model offers cruise control, electric windows, parking distance sensors, a leather multi-function steering wheel, a good audio system with plenty of modern device compatibility, follow-me-home headlights and plenty more besides.

The spec increases even further on the top-of-the-range LTZ models with the introduction of Bluetooth, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, larger alloys and there is also an additional Executive Pack that can be added which brings with it leather trim as standard along with sat nav and heated seats.

The 1.6 petrol LT model offered a good all-round ride.

My only real gripes were the slightly obscured rear view visibility due to rear headrests and I found the acceleration a little sluggish between fourth and fifth gears. But it was excellent weaving through busy traffic and held its own on faster moving roads too.

The suspension was very good even on uneven road surfaces and cabin noise relatively quiet at all times.

If you are looking for that little bit more power and acceleration, the 1.8-litre petrol-powered model could be the ideal choice at £16,095.

There was definitely no sluggish behaviour with this model and generally the all-round handling seemed a little more refined.

But for me, the real daddy of the bunch was the mighty 2.0-litre, diesel-powered LTZ automatic model.

It cruised with ease at higher speeds, shrugged off any problems at sharp bends and ambled with ease through built-up traffic.

The six-speed automatic transmission was very smooth and acceleration deceptively fast. Admittedly, it rakes up the price a little to £18,795, but in my opinion, it's worth saving a little longer for this particular model - and being the LTZ model, it came with all those additional bells and whistles too.

All Cruze hatchback models offer plenty of storage options with a massive boot compartment that can easily be increased further thanks to split-folding rear seats.

There is a large-ish glove box, a central bin and seat pockets.

And Chevrolet has the safety aspect covered too as models boast a high strength safety cage, six airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control and traction control as standard.

The prices range from £13,995 to the top notch, all-specced-out model at £20,295 and with 10 models varying in engine capacity, fuel options and trim levels, there will almost certainly be a Cruze hatchback to suit all tastes.

Words: Maxine Ashford

Keywords: Chevrolet, Cruze, hatchback, First Drive, latest, Chevrolet, Cruze, Manufacturers, £10-15,000, 147