2011 Holden Cruze Series II CD Diesel – 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, six-speed automatic with Active Select: $26,990 (Manufacturer’s List Price)
New styling, new engines, and more features, the Holden Series II Cruze is a serious contender for Australia’s best small car.
Holden has been building cars for 63 years and its latest model, known as the Series II Cruze, will offer Australian buyers a quality alternative to more expensive small car offerings from Asia and Europe.
Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux, has every right to be confident about the potential of the new Series II Holden Cruze, when he told the press corps:
“We have worked hard to improve on the current model by tailoring the Cruze to better meet the needs of Australian motorists”
“We think our locally developed range ticks all the boxes for people who appreciate style, comfort and convenience, as well as high-tech performance options and great interior space.
“Cruze also remains one of the safest small cars on the market and more than ever it represents exceptional value for money in true Holden tradition.”
We’ve just put over 140 kilometres on the clock of the base model Series II Cruze CD, powered by a new generation 2.0-litre DOHC common-rail turbodiesel engine, and bottom line is that it’s pretty impressive.
It’s not the 120kW that excites (although that’s up by 9 percent on the previous diesel powertrain), it’s more the 360Nm of torque kicking in as early as 1750rpm that makes this car such a treat to drive, and one of the main attractions of the new Holden Cruze sedan.
At 110km/h, this new diesel emits no more than a gentle purr at a fraction under 1500rpm. In-gear acceleration from 80km/h is even stronger, making overtaking on multi-lane highways seem effortless.
There’s also very little engine noise intrusion inside the cabin. In fact, it’s by far the quietest diesel engine in the small car segment at least from those cars I’ve driven over the last six months. That’s true even when you stomp on the throttle, there’s still nothing more than a soft murmuring emitted inside the cockpit.
Holden is using an electronically controlled single turbocharger with intercooler, which while offering smooth power delivery, does suffer from initial throttle lag, so it’s best to feed in the power progressively, unless you’re higher up the rev range.
The six-speed auto transmission delivers smooth and seamless shifts through all forward gear ratios, but it’s not an overly quick shifting unit in the same way that a multi-clutch gearbox is.
Part of yesterday’s test route included a good stretch of twisty road close to the start of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, where we took advantage of the Active Select (sequential manual shifting) option on this transmission. It allows driver’s to load up the revs in each gear ratio, for a far more enjoyable driving experience than if left in auto mode.
I particularly like the hydraulic steering on board the Series II Cruze for its weight right from dead centre and the communication through the nicely moulded sports leather steering wheel.
There’s plenty of grip from the front end and the Cruze is well behaved through the twisty bits, even when pushing on a little quicker.
Apart from the general refinement of this Series II Cruze, it’s a particularly comfortable small car, especially up front behind the wheel. The standard pews are very well bolstered and hold your torso bolt upright, even when throwing the car into bends.
While there isn’t a lot of soft touch material around the dashboard, Holden have employed quality materials throughout the interior, especially the fabric inserts that have a nice tactile feel to them.
The console in the Cruze is particularly attractive, with all the switchgear nicely laid out for good functionality and in easy reach of the driver.
There’s a heap of standard features on board the Cruze, even in this base model CD trim.
Series II Holden Cruze CD standard feature highlights:
· Engine options of 1.8L ECOTEC engine, 1.4 iTi DOHC turbo petrol or 2.0L DOHC turbo diesel.
· New 16-inch wheel trims
· Six-speaker multimedia audio system with radio, in-dash CD, USB flash drive/iPod/MP3 compatibility
· Steering wheel remote audio and cruise controls
· Graphic information display
· Six airbags – front driver and passenger, front side impact, side curtain
· Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
· Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
· Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
· Traction Control
· Brake Assist
· Collapsible pedal assembly system
· Air conditioning
· Power windows all round
· Automatic headlamps
· Body-coloured door handles
· Watts link performance suspension (paired to 1.4 iTi model only)
Unlike the majority of vehicles in the small car class, the Cruze is a proper five seater with decent leg and headroom for rear-seat passengers.
Luggage space in the Cruze is also good, although Holden will launch an all-new Cruze hatch model later this year that will offer further convenience.
All three Series II Cruze engines meet the Euro 5 emission standard and the diesel in manual guise can return fuel economy figures of 5.6 litres/100km. That performance alone makes it Australia’s most fuel-efficient locally built car.
The other exciting new powertrain for the Cruze is a 1.4-iTi turbo petrol engine, which develops 103kW and 200Nm between 1850 and 4900rpm. This same variant is also equipped with the new Watts link performance suspension.
CarAdvice will be testing this Cruze variant today, and will provide a separate review of the car shortly.