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by Daniel DeGasperi

Local engineers have been busy re-engineering the Holden Cruze, which will be heavily upgraded in March 2013 – launching neatly between the VF Commodore’s reveal in February and on-sale date in April.

A Holden spokesperson confirmed to CarAdvice that the Cruze will get a reworked 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, a “higher performance” variant with a powered-up turbo engine, and a suspension tune (again) revised by local engineers.

The Cruze will also pick up the revised exterior and interior previewed by the Chevrolet Cruze (pictured) at the Paris motor show in September.

The Cruze’s 1.8-litre Ecotec four-cylinder dates back to the 1998 TS Astra, but was revised with variable valve timing for the 2007 AH Astra update.

Acknowledging that the ageing 103kW Ecotec struggles to compete with rival engines, the spokesperson said engineers have “reworked the valve timing system and cylinder head” for the 1.8-litre to help breathe new life into the entry engine.

At the other end of the Cruze range, a higher-performance variant will debut, featuring a more powerful turbo engine. Apparently, Holden engineers found they could do “a lot of things with that [engine design]” to increase power and torque beyond the current car’s 103kW and 200Nm.

The spec level will likely top the current SRi-V flagship, a warm rather than hot hatch, priced from around $32K.

A true hot hatch version of the five-door Holden Cruze still seems unlikely, after Holden boss Mike Devereux dismissed such a plan in 2011.

Meanwhile the new cabin (shown below) will on flagship models feature a seven-inch touchscreen entertainment system, dubbed MyLink. The system will be rolled out on GM products worldwide – firstly on the Barina CDX launched today, probably in the VF Commodore early next year, and definitely with the all-new Malibu mid next year. The MyLink system works like a smartphone, using third-party ‘apps’ to control music and navigation options.

Early next year, the ‘Pandora’ application will be launched, which connects to an internet-equipped smartphone via a Bluetooth connection to stream online music to the car’s speakers. Pandora allows users to select a song from its expansive online playlist, then provides the option of automaticaly creating a playlist based on the user’s music taste.

The sytem is free, but a 40 second advertisement is played after every four songs. Holden estimates that based on two hours usage per day, a “worst case scenario” is that Pandora will use 1.5-2Gb of smartphone internet data per month.

Other apps currently available include Stitcher, a simpified version of Pandora that offers internet radio stations and podcasts, BringGo, a satellite navigation app, and Siri, which uses the car’s Bluetooth microphone to ‘answer’ a driver’s questions – GM will work with Apple to integrate the iPhone-derived Siri into its MyLink system.

The changes will form the last major upgrade for this first-generation Cruze, which launched in 2009. GM’s global small car will enter its second generation in 2015, which is confirmed to be produced in Australia.

It will finally pension off the 1.8-litre Ecotec – the new model will provide the opportunity to engineer new drivetrains – and will need to take Holden through until 2022, the date after which the continuation of its local manufacturing operations must again be renegotiated with the Australian government.

  • Monk

    Give it to Walkinshaw.  They know how to fire up these beasts!

    • Noddy_of_Toyland

      Yes, for 50 grand I could fire up this ‘beast’ as well. Whaddajoke

      • Pro346

        The engine upgrade costs 6-7 k……that’s the same price you got to spend on a VW Dsg box so it don’t go boom when you feed a little more power in.

    • Jober As A Sudge

      HAHAHA. Oh geez that thing was a dud. How did they screw that up?

    • Dudeface

      I really hope you were being sarcastic… lol

  • Kampfer

    No wonder why Cruze 1.8 feel so underpower… TS Astra Kerb Weight: 1155kg; Cruze Kerb Weight 1,402 kg.

    • Golfmother

      Just another Daewoo special to excite the baby bogans who cannot afford a crummerdore , buts its  a HOLDEN it must be special .

      • bored with trolls

        do you just cut and paste the same boring comment over and over?

    • Zaccy16

      exactly, horrible engine, unrefined, harsh, i don’t think any mild modifications will make much of a difference

  • Twosandys

    By the time that Malibu surfaces it’ll be looking like an old mans car!

  • Dave W

    Meh… I was excited when I clicked on the link to this article…

    For $32k, I’d rather buy the Veloster and get myself a gazillion of features and a 1.6L turbo instead of 1.4L.

  • Scotty

    Really Golfmother. all you seem to be able to do with anything to do with holden is refer it to Daewoo. you do understand that they have not used daewoo products for a long time and the misconception with it all is GM bought a Daewoo factory site for its GM based vehicles.

    • Golfmother

      Yes it is a daewoo factory with loverly daewoo parts assembled into a loverly holden crude .

      • Zaccy16

        exactly golfmother, but gullible aussies think that it was produced from scratch here because its a ‘holden’

        • Golfmother

          Dead right , i love the chevy bow tie badge , how big is big , straight off a truck , junior bogans can get em off ebay for their mums crude .

          • Zaccy16

            yep or there crummodores

          • Golfmother

            Ghost golfmother has sucked down one too many getting his posts all mixed up , whos who

    • $29896495

      Daewoo was always GM owned. if not quite 100% initially  When GM decided they wanted it, they just starved it of parts and brought them to their knees. this purchasing the remaining shares for a song. The bodies were Italian designed unlike these things which are kicking around now.

      Just in reference to exterior and interior changes, what changes? Looks the same to me.

      • Zaccy16

        yeah it still looks cheap and nasty

        • $29896495

          You mean still is cheap and nasty

          • Zaccy16

            thats the one!

        • Bent6brigade

          That’s your opinion,polio boy.

        • Legnab

          You’re still cheap and nasty .

    • matt

      just ignore it, hes proving a hypocrite its quite amusing, fully sik stage one bru!!!!

      • matt

        lowered and 410NM bru! fully sik city car bruu!!!!

        • Golfmother

          Nothing like a wave or torque to ride when cruising in the country, effortless with magic ECONOMY .

          • Hung Low

            Just like driving a standard Falcon Bungle

          • Golfmother

            HAAH , 300 kilos heavier and sucking down the juice .

          • $29896495

            Here’s a thought, Holden are pushing around a car much the same size and weight as an early 90s Commodore. with only just around 100 kw. think about that for a minute.

          • Sydlocal

             Huwtm, the Cruze is close to the size of the original VB Commodore from the 70s-80s, not the VP etc from the early 90s. Also those Commodores were not over endowed with power either considering the 202 straight 6 produced 71kw, the 253 V8 produced 87kw with the 308 topping the range out with 114kw that at some stage was updated to 125kw. You were correct with the weight comparison, but to the wrong car. It is similar in weight to the VB SL/E. The Cruze SRi-V with only 103kw conducts the 0-100km/h in around the same time as the manual VB 5L SL/E V8.

            Maybe you should have done more than just thought about it for a minute and actually checked your ‘facts’ first?

          • $29896495

            OK syd, I stand corrected. you got the general gist though.  

  • Martin

    Hopefully they get rid of those foul taillights with the update for something a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

    • Hung Low

      You should see the tailights in the Golf wagon! Beaten with the ugly stick with Mexican build quality to boot, a double whammy!

      • Zaccy16

        not mexican south african, the only vw that was sold here made in mexico was the horrible beetle in the early 2000

        • Captain Nemo®™

           Don’t forget about VeeDud’s Rolf with a boot the awful cheap n nasty Jetta
          Cobbled together in Mexico from the cheapest materials available.

        • O Perham

          Zaccy, your 100% wrong. The Golf wagon is built in Mexico in the same factory that builds the North American Jetta’s. Open the door and look at the build plate.

  • Andrew M

    I must say Im not a fan of how the update in technology leads you needing an internet subscription to operate your vehicles features.

    Why does everything have to use a remote server or App to operate.

    It annoys me how my Galaxy phone uses data (hence more costs) just to do the simplest of things that my old Nokia could without racking up data usage.

    Now it seems that the network providers are into deals with the car manufacturers to start inflicting user charges to have a functional console

    • $29896495

      Basic functionality can be gained by turning your data off. As for the rest, you are right. They want to network us all and pull more money when they can. More of your 1984, creeping in. With live in a Science Fiction world. 

      • Doctor

        Yes, 1984 seems to be going to arrive about 30 years late.

    • Dave W

      It’s not necessary to go online to play music though. You can just play the songs from your mobile or MP3 player. I consider these OEM systems to be bloatware and will opt out if I can.

      Speaking of which… Can you option out stuff that suppose to be standard in a car? Like this MyLink in the flagship model.

      Anyway, there are plenty of high quality aftermarket entertainment systems with touchscreen that comes with HDD which you can load with movies and MP3s. 3rd party GPS also provide more functionalities at a much lower price point.

      • Andrew M

        I understand some functions are still available, but what Im saying is the way its heading even some of the basic functions use data, and a lot of the time you dont realise its running in the back ground.

        How long before they just switch to internet radio and you cant even listen to the local station without a subscription.

        They talk it up as being really high tech and user friendly when infact these sort of system just cost more money to run, and they are always tripping over themselves.

        These systems are far less seemles than the systems not affected by outside subscriptions

  • Robin_Graves

    “The Cruze’s 1.8-litre Ecotec four-cylinder dates back to the 1998 TS Astra” which was the same as the Daewoo Nubira (1.6 and 2.0) which both dated back to the Camira ‘Family II’ What lovely pedigree.

    • $29896495

      for some reason, I find that depressing.

    • Doctor

      Did you have to remind me about the Camira? Some skeletons are best left in the cupboard. 

      • Mad Max

        Can you belive there is a Camira car club? They actualy book out places like Calder to race each other and drag the cars????

        • $29896495

          Really?? You mean there are actually some left that haven’t rusted away to nothing? And there are people that are into to them? No accounting for taste.

  • twincharger

    Looks classy,quality interior,love the bow tie.

    • Doctor

      Bow tie? Shouldn’t that be Bogan tie? :-)

      • Bent6brigade

        You tell me,doctor of what?

  • Andy Whitby

    Please tell me we are not getting that front end, that will be a step backwards in styling i think !

  • Larry0071

    I have a US version 2012 Chevy Cruze 2LT RS automatic with the 1.4L Turbo and love the thing! It is dirt cheap, gets fantastic fuel economy and I personally enjoy the body lines on the car. The one argument I have is that the Pioneer premium system can not link via Bluetooth or USB cable to my Galaxy SIII for music. It will only link for phone function on any phone running Android ICS or Jellybean+. It,s a bummer. I have 10 gigs of music on my phone and use Iheartradio/pandora but I can not use these in my 2012 Cruze or my 2012 Camaro 2SS/RS Transformer 3 Edition with the Boston premium stereo. Chevy needs to keep up with sofware updates to enable the cars to function with the handsets being sold. A selling feature that is not updated and supported in a timely fashion is not a selling point, it is a point of contention.
    (I’m aware this is a Au site, and admit that I am not from around your parts. I am in Pennsylvania, USA)

    • $29896495

      As far as liking how it looks, there’s no accounting for taste. In reference to your other points, it seems that GM no matter what the car is called suffer the same issues world wide. It amazing reading letters from US sites, they could be Aus. Same issues, same attitudes. The company is really does behave the same every where.

      • Larry0071

        It’s interesting to me that in owning the #1 selling phone on the globe today, GM has no response for me about when my 2 new cars that cost me $44,000 and $21,000 will have software updates that will allow the advertised features to work. The dealership suggested that I re-read the car owner’s manual.

        I really like both of the cars, but the MS Sync system in the new Ford vehicles looks like a much better car to phone communication system.

        I see the Camaro maybe going away for a 2014 Shelby GT500 and the Cruze going away for a 2014 Focus. My wife loves her 2011 Malibu, she plans to run it until the wheels fall off.

        But in the end, if GM spent more energy keeping my cars updated and relevant, I would not be looking at Ford as an answer to my issues.

        • $29896495

          The simple answer to that is of course that, a certain manufacturer, is playing in an area that they nothing about. the S111 is designed to blue tooth to anything and like Blue ray players google (android) phones can be updated to the latest version. Though obviously people throw them out rather than do this.

          With cars, you need blue tooth streaming for music as well as the link for telephony. Re-reading the owners manual means they have no idea, other wise they would take two minutes and link it for you.

          From what I’ve read, the system may not work because it is mainly meant for i Phone, not android. If you test the blue tooth with another phone, and it links you know it’s the phone. If it only works with an iPhone, it’s the program and you are stuffed.

  • Shanepglancy

    Hop it can be better than a xr5 turbo.

  • Spinksj6

    can i pre-order a new cruze before they all go or have to wait too long?


  • wre

     you are the bogan of all bogans

  • Josh Robbins

    Also, if you had half an idea you’d know that the series II is australian Built, they come straight out of the Adelaide factory. the model which is still assembled in Korea is the Sports wagon variant pictured.

    • $29896495

      It doesn’t change the fact that it is Daewoo designed and engineered. Simply bolting together a CKD cruze does not make it Australian in the true sense of the word.

  • Josh Robbins

    Not really…..the original 3.8L V6 that came about when the VN surfaced only had something in the vincinity of 120/30kw and it was a GUZZLER!