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by Daniel DeGasperi

An eagle-eyed CarAdvice reader has snapped a duo of lightly-facelifted 2013 Holden Cruze hatchbacks being tested in Sydney ahead of its March launch.

But the big news surrounding this updated Holden Cruze won’t be the new colour palette – which will adopt VF Commodore colours including the ‘hero’ Fantale orange metallic shown – nor the redesigned alloy wheels, but what’s under the bonnet of, and inside these, SRi-V test cars.

An all-new engine will debut in the 2013 Holden Cruze range, a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine already seen in the Cruze’s close relative, the Opel Astra, where it produces 132kW and 230Nm.

According to a Holden source, the engine has been locally tweaked, so the new Mazda 3 SP25-rivalling Cruze flagship may produce more power and torque. It was initially thought local engineers would tune the existing 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, however Holden has stumped for a larger capacity engine.

Holden is also promising a hugely improved steering, ride and handling package than that offered by the current Cruze, which launched here in 2009 and switched to local manufacture in 2011. It claims Australian engineers have done extensive work on the current car to deliver major dynamic gains.

Holden’s MyLink infotainment system, seen in the Barina CDX and VF Commodore, will feature on the revised Cruze, the seven-inch touchscreen integrated into a new look dashboard previewed earlier this year on the facelifted Chevrolet Cruze. The new GM global software will offer the ability to download ‘apps’, including live music streaming via a Bluetooth connection to utilise mobile phone internet, with apps called Stitcher and Pandora.

Unfortunately, the 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine will remain part of the base engine line-up, with Holden engineers only tweaking the old engine to improve its performance and economy. Likewise the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and 1.4-litre turbo petrol will carry over from the current model.

This will be the current, first-generation Cruze’s final facelift before the all-new model arrives in 2015 or 2016.

The big news when this 2013 Holden Cruze launches inside of two weeks, however, will be the 1.6-litre turbo SRi-V caught testing here…




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