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  • Positives: steering & handling; interior styling
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2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test
by Nadine Armstrong

2009 Holden Cruze CD Review & Road Test

The struggle to be noticed

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Holden Cruze CD – 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, SOHC, turbo diesel, six-speed auto – $25,990

Options: none fitted

CarAdvice Rating:

– by Nadine Armstrong

With its homogeneous styling and extensive ‘small car’ credentials, the new Holden Cruze wedges its way into a crowded line-up of disturbingly similar cars.

2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test
2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test
2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test
2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test

More grown up than the Astra, but not quite grasping the maturity of its slightly larger sibling, the Epica, the Cruze suffers from your classic ‘middle child’ syndrome.

Its form, economical engine and respectable price point are not unique selling points. It’s starting on the back foot, but no more so than many of its rivals.

While the Cruze does not leap out and scream, well, anything, it’s far from offensive or disappointing. We’ve just seen it all before; where’s the benchmark?

Its exterior styling is classic, conservative and cohesive. Even proportions made up of large flat panels give the Cruze a solid appearance, while some nice body lines and the occasional splash of chrome add visual appeal and focus points.

Colour-coded wing mirrors and door handles add to a smooth, clean exterior. It looks nice and its design will no doubt stand the test of time.

It’s inside the cabin where the Cruze comes into surprisingly slick form – and well above its competition. Our test vehicle had a leather, plastic, cloth trim combination that worked together beautifully.

The cloth trim wraps in a continuous band from the side doors all the way across the dash. The lines flow nicely and the various interior components blend seamlessly.

2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test
2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test
2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test

This more tactile selection of finishes gives the cabin warmth and added visual appeal. As for cleaning and maintaining an expanse of cloth on these areas, time will tell.


Every element of the Cruze feels well built, from solid closing doors to smooth rolling dials and solid buttons. There’s nothing flimsy or budget about the fit or finish.

The centre console and instrument cluster are simple and easy to navigate or decipher. The centre screen display however, is a little underwhelming and basic.

Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel, four-cylinder engine, the Cruze delivers 110kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm at 2000rpm, but how does this translate to on road performance?

From a stand still, the Cruze suffers distinct turbo lag. On many occasions, where seconds felt like minutes, I found myself willing the car forward in the absence of movement.

On the move, as you creep into the torque band, this is not a problem and auto gear selection feels good and the power at hand is more than adequate.

Overall handling of the Cruze is dynamic and very satisfying. Its steering is firm and turn in is beautifully responsive, and power through the exit is smooth and composed.

There’s minimal body roll and well balanced suspension is quick to diffuse a range of road finish flaws, running the standard 16-inch steel wheels.

The Cruze handled all manner of driving conditions with confidence and ease – the sluggish take-off aside.

On a test cycle that was weighted more to short-trip around town driving rather than long freeway hauls, the Cruze delivered reasonable fuel economy of around 8.5 litres per 100km – a little over the 6.8 litres per 100km claimed.

On the down side, the diesel engine gives off an intrusive, agricultural gurgle that may well be heart-warming to farmers, but I prefer a quiet cabin, unless of course it’s the alluring rumble of something far more exciting.

Although the seats are firm and lack adequate bolstering, the driving position and overall level of comfort is pretty good. The well executed interior design creates a nice, almost premium ambience with ample space.

As you enter the rear seats, there’s a noticeable drop in standards. Seats are slab-like and reminiscent of a ’70s bench seat and heating/cooling is delivered via in floor vents. However, space, head and leg room, is good.

The Cruze offers load versatility you would expect from this segment, with simple to operate 60:40 split folds seats which produce a flat base to cater to larger loads.

In cabin storage is good, with lots of handy storage spaces and cup holders in front and back.

While the Cruze’s large pillars – all of them – are great for safety and build rigidity, they get in the way. Visibility is poor and in some instances completely obstructs the drivers view. I found that I had to be overly cautious with every manoeuvre. At a minimum, rear parking sensors, which come standard on the CDX model, would be a plus.

The Cruze was awarded a five-star ANCAP rating and has six airbags: front, side and curtain. In addition, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control and brake assist all come as standard.

The Cruze ticks all of the standard requirement boxes – and in some areas, such as interior styling, it excels.

However, when you’re the middle child, you need more than the basics to make an impression. Holden has missed a chance to rock the boat and intimidate the relatives. Some gentle, rebellious behaviour never hurt anyone; if only to be noticed.

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
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HOLDEN CRUZE BREAKDOWN

2009 Holden Cruze - Review & Road Test
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Holden Cruze Specs

CD : JG : 1.8L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 6 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
HOLDEN
Model
CRUZE
Variant
CD
Series
JG
Year
2009
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$7,150 - $8,130
Dealer Retail
$8,510 - $10,120
Dealer Trade
$5,500 - $6,500
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.8L
Max. Torque
176Nm @  3800rpm
Max. Power
104kW @  6200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
74.2W/kg
Bore & Stroke
80.5x88.2mm
Compression Ratio
10.5
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.23
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
60Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1402
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1477mm
Length
4597mm
Width
1788mm
Ground Clearance
143mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  Unbrake:695
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
10.9
Front Rim Size
6.5x16
Rear Rim Size
6.5x16
Front Tyres
205/60 R16
Rear Tyres
205/60 R16
Wheel Base
2685
Front Track
1544
Rear Track
1558
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
On the cross member LHS
Country of Origin
Korea