March 2013, was the end of one era, and the start of another. Holden bought out the MY14 Cruze range and what a delight that was. While mechanically the CD and CDX stayed mostly the same, they received an upgraded Australian designed automatic gearbox and the 1.4iTi to the lineup. The main changes happened to the SRI and SRI-V models as they are now powered by the 1.6t petrol motor. The SRI-V also receives Watts Link rear suspension. Technologically, the MY14 Cruze range also gets MyLink, GM’s global infotainment system.
About a month and a half ago, I was fortunate enough to come across a great deal on a 2013 MY14 Cruze SRI-V manual sedan. The moment I lay eyes on her, I fell in love. The Red Hot duco glistening in the midday sun, making the white wall beside it glow red, from the reflection, was a big jaw-dropper. Being a dealer principals car, it came with many options, factory and aftermarket such as bonnet protector, headlight protectors, weather shields, as well as a muffler delete feeding into a twin tipped straight pipe.
The exterior is tremendous. Looking front on, the lowered stance to the other models, with the black plastic accents, make it look nice and quiet, but will also tear your face off if you make it angry. From the side, the way the bonnet flows into the windscreen, into the roof, back window, then falling away suddenly after hitting the bump of the lip spoiler followed by the sudden drop of the boot is transcending. The factory 18 inch alloys fill the guards nicely, and are a great design. The rear of the Cruze is the most aggressive looking with the wide 235 tyres, lip spoiler and black plastic accents giving it a menacing stance. Fortunately it already had a nice exhaust set up installed, as the twin tips fill the exhaust slot beautifully, unlike the stock, which I personally feel, lets the car down in style as the small exhaust tip leaves a huge gap in the bumper showing the hideous muffler.
The interior is well thought out. The seats are full leather, which aren’t plush, but they are comfortable. The dash is magnificent, and looks like your gazing down a telescope at the instruments. You have the ability to choose a variety of different digital displays, such as speed, Trip, fuel consumption, distance to empty, coolant temp, speed alert (very handy) as well as having the sat nav directions come up. This is very useful if you don’t want to look at the massive 7 inch touch screen. The MyLink system has everything you need, Sat Nav, FM/AM radio, Pandora and Stitches, which are online music and radio streaming apps run through your smart phone, plus the ability to make and receive phone calls and texts is outstanding. There aren’t many buttons on the center console, and storage is plentiful. However, the bin is a little small, but the arm rest does move, so it’s easy to get into a comfortable position.
The way it drives is amazing. When the windows are wound up, there is almost no road noise apart from minor tyre noise on rough roads, and slight exhaust note from the straight pipe. When you wind the windows down, you hear the exquisite exhaust note which burbles and pops whenever it is given the opportunity. There is an intoxicating induction noise while the turbo spools up, followed by the hypnotizing hiss from the blow off valve releasing the pressure. The 132kw motor is very responsive, while the acceleration can be sluggish until 2000rpm, when the turbo starts spooling, at which stage you’re propelled in front of the person beside you at the lights. The suspension is naturally firm, but even with the low profile tyres, it rides the bumps well. The combination of the 235/45R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres and the suspension set up with the watts link suspension make for mountain drives to be enjoyable, and fast with very minor body roll, even through fast corners. In saying that, it feels like there is more roll as skinnier people like myself don’t completely fill the seats.
All in all, the 2013 MY14 Cruze SRI-V is a great package, especially for P-Plater’s, even if it has a checkered past with the Korean built models. Although the fuel consumption is a little high for a 1.6t (9.5/100km around town), it’s not about the miles per gallon, but the smiles per gallon.