Cruze cleans up its act - CHEVROLET CRUZE Car Review

Review

Added: 06 May 2012
Last update:

CHEVROLET is increasing its drive for business and fleet customers with the introduction of the cleaner 1.7-litre diesel Cruze.

Only available with the hatchback body and six-speed manual gearbox, the new engine has been tuned to be particularly fuel efficient and green, emitting only 117g/km, which means it qualifies for free road tax in the first 12 months and just 17% BIK.

The latest Cruze 1.7 VCDi produces 130ps, accelerates from 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds and has a top speed of 124mph and its combined fuel figure is 62.7mpg.

Three trim levels will be available, with equipment identical to comparable models in the Cruze line-up.

The entry-level LS, which comes with air conditioning, ESC, remote central locking, follow-me-home headlamps, electrically-adjustable mirrors and electric front windows, is priced at £16,725.

The mid-range LT is £17,825 and with this you get 16-inch alloys, powered windows all round, fully adjustable steering wheel, front fog-lights and parking sensors at the back with leather interior detailing.

The range topping LTZ, priced at £18,685, gets standard cruise control, 17-inch alloys, auto-dimming mirror, automatic headlights, climate control, rain-sensing wipers and aluminium-effect interior detailing.

Chevrolet UK managing director Mark Terry said: “The new 1.7 VCDi gives Chevrolet a real opportunity to compete in the core area of the five-door hatchback market, where tax implications, fuel economy and CO2 emissions are critical.

“The new engine gives Cruze a much broader appeal to fleets and really helps underline our commitment to growth in this key business area. With the five-door now established in the market and a station wagon imminent, the Cruze range keeps getting better and better, and is just what our customers and dealers are requesting.”

Available initially in the five-door Cruze, the estate variant of the 1.7 VCDi model will appear later in 2012, giving the car even greater appeal to fleet and retail customers.

The new Cruze engine proves you don’t have to suffer poor refinement if you opt for a cleaner and greener model.

It is perfectly capable of making the five-door, five-seater Cruze move with the flow of traffic without any problems and its smoothness and quietness is impressive.

Driven two-up on our evaluation, the 1.7-litre engine was a good starter, pulled well and seemed surprisingly flexible while it never sounded strained or overworked.

It is matched to a precise yet light action six-speed gearchange with good ratios and we never seemed to want for the right gear for any conditions in town, country or on main roads.

Match these attributes to the feelsome brakes and reasonably well balanced power steering with its compact turning circle and you have a car which is very easy to drive and live with.

With these come firm seats and good room for five, with particularly high headroom, and there is a decent sized boot behind the slightly tall rear sill, and the capacity can gradually be increased as the offset split rear seat backs are folded down but you do not have a completely flat floor because the rear squab is fixed.

The ride quality is good over most surfaces although it can be a little lively on bad bits but whatever you are driving on the noise from the suspension and tyres lets you know what is underneath.

There is some body roll on tighter turns but no noticeable pitching or dipping.

Over a mixture of roads we averaged between 42 and 60mpg without any particular effort on our part while observing the suggested change-up points displayed on the fascia.

There is no doubt the introduction of the 1.7-litre greener engine is good for the Cruze, widens its appeal and will attract new owners but it’s arrived in a competitive sector with many keenly priced rivals. 

Words: Robin Roberts

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