Cruze'in on by in a world-wide saloon - CHEVROLET CRUZE Car Review


Added: 31 May 2010
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FOR me this is a perennially difficult time of year, the months that set me aside in tribe homme as A Bad Man. Not in the criminal sense, of course, but when it comes to keeping the boys’ end up.

You see I don’t own a bag of golf bats and I have no idea what goes on during a game of cricket, other than, bizarrely, in the heat of battle both gangs retire to take tea. With cake.
The click of willow drift on leather? Well I’d rather not while there is still waterboarding in the world.

So at the pub there are voids in the conversation I feel obliged to fill with more strong drink. Until the cars bit, when I am quite at home. But not entirely.

You see eventually talk will lean towards the manly attributes of motors with magic in the name - Veyron, Vantage, Zonda. Which is about as realistic as taking turns to describe what you reckon all those Dorothys would look like without the gingham. It’s just not something you will ever know. I might. You won’t.

But it makes the point of how captivated we are by marques romance.

I will take as my text an US icon, the Chevrolet. Hardly Koenigsegg but still the stuff of some American dreams.

Mr B Springsteen, a popular musicalist, has done as much as any to bolster the sweat-dreanched, hard-man, Jersey nights image of the Chevy, turning it into a domestic cash crisis in Chevrolet Delux and suggesting a mechanically impossible fuel injection modification to a ‘69 automatic on Racing in the Street.

Born to Run? No, that was about pumps.

Good grief, in America there is even an actor chappie called Chevy Chase, which is rather like naming your child Tranny Van.

General Motors, then, was on to a safe thing looking to sex up the lacklustre Daewoo brand. Daewoo Matiz? I don’t think so but ‘I’ve got a little Chevy’ hardly puts the owner on a sticky cricket garden or whatever they call it.

The Cruze is pretty new to the ball game. It’s a truly world car, made in Korea but also in Russia, China, India, Australia and Lordstown, Ohio. A ‘value’ model based on the Delta 2 platform, should you be asked.

Today we will focus on the 148bhp, two-litre diesel turbo version, a genuinely impressive motorway tool, smooth and quiet, with useful thrust around the 70-80mph region even if further down the curve things are a little less refined.

It’s not slow, either, 10 seconds to 62 and a top speed of 130mph are quite acceptable numbers from a car that will do 50mpg and cough up 149g/km of miners lung.

Spec in the bargain £15,000 LT model is impressive. The usual electrics; windows, mirrors and sound system and passive protection with the only bolt on option being sat-nav.

So what’s wrong? Well nothing so long as you will settle for a four door saloon. The four-speed automatic can be driven for hours without discomfort although the interior is hardly by Chippendale and some may find the instrumentation design rich for European tastes.

Seek out the B roads and it handles well. Take out the family and you can afford cheeseburgers. The Cruze is, indeed, a car for all seasons. But about as iconic as peas.

For many this will kill the magic of a marque which was part of the filling for American Pie. They won’t like it. It’s just not cricket.

Words: Steve Orme

Keywords: chevrolet, cruze