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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian-built 2011 Holden Cruze Series II has been unveiled at Holden’s Vehicle Operations plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, sporting new styling, new engines and new performance variants.

The Cruze SRi and range-topping SRi-V have joined the Cruze CD and Cruze CDX in the range.

The sports variants are powered by a new 1.4-litre intelligent turbo induction (1.4 iTi) engine, which produces 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque.

Both models return combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.4 litres/100km when teamed with a new six-speed manual transmission and 6.9 litres/100km with the six-speed automatic. All models with the 1.4 iTi engine are uequipped with uprated Watts link performance suspension.

In an unusual twist, the sports models actually produce less power than the entry-level CD and CDX, even the on-paper specs suggest the turbo will easily out perform the 1.8-litre Ecotec engine, which is carried over from the Series I model.

The 1.4 iTi produces its 103kW at 4900rpm compared with the naturally aspirated 1.8, which doesn’t hit its peak 104kW until 6200rpm.

The Ecotec engine also produces 24Nm less torque, and that is not until 3800rpm. The 1.4 iTi stays at peak torque between a much more usable 1850-4900rpm.

The smaller engine is also more frugal, with the 1.8-litre unit consuming 7.0 litres/100km with the five-speed manual and 7.4 litres/100km with the six-speed automatic.

Those after fuel savings, however, won’t be able to look past the new 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is now the most fuel-efficient vehicle built in Australia, overtaking the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Power is up nine percent and torque is up 12.5 percent compared with the outgoing model. The diesel now produces 120kW and 360Nm at 1750rpm.

Combined cycle fuel consumption is just 5.6 litres/100km (six-speed manual) or 6.7 litres/100km (six-speed automatic), and CO2 emissions from the manual drop to 147g/km.

Holden says all models have been refined to offer more controlled and predictable handling and a smoother and quieter ride.

From the front, Holden has clearly tried to make the Cruze look more like the little brother of the Commodore, rather than its adopted Korean cousin.

The grille and lower air intakes have all been softened to more closely resemble the traditional Australian sedan, and even the entry-level model scores sporting mesh material in the openings.

The rear has undergone only minor changes around the bottom of the plastic bumper.

On the whole, the updates work well and all look fairly cohesive. The orange indicator lights are perhaps the only features that look a little 1990s.

The entry-level Cruze CD model gets a six-speaker audio system with CD, USB/iPod connectivity, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, automatic headlights, 16-inch steel wheels and body-coloured door handles, as well as five-star ANCAP safety with six airbags (dual front, side and curtain) and electronic stability control.

The CDX model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob, heated front seats, rear park assist and chrome exterior highlights.

The SRi entry-level sports option scores front and rear sports styling with rocker covers, rear lip spoiler, five-spoke 17-inch wheels, chrome door handles, blue cloth trim, fog lamps and leather steering wheel and gearknob.

The top of the range SRi-V adds leather seats, heated front seats, passive entry and start Sensor Key, rear park assist, and a seven-inch LCD screen with integrated satellite navigation, premium audio with 10GB hard drive, CD/MP3 rip and store capability and pause live radio functionality.

Pricing of the 1.8-litre models is unchanged, while $500 has been added to the price of the 2.0-litre diesel models.

The 2011 Holden Cruze Series II range goes on sale in late-March for the following Recommended Retail Prices:

Cruze 1.8-litre petrol

  • CD manual – $20,990
  • CD automatic – $22,990
  • CDX manual – $24,490
  • CDX automatic – $26,490

Cruze 1.4-litre turbo

  • CD manual – $22,240
  • CD automatic – $24,240
  • SRi manual – $24,490
  • SRi automatic – $26,490
  • SRi-V manual – $27,990
  • SRi-V automatic – $29,990

Cruze 2.0-litre diesel

  • CD manual – $24,990
  • CD automatic – $26,990
  • CDX manual – $28,490
  • CDX automatic – $30,490



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