Holden released the 2015 model Cruze with what it calls a “bold new look”, although I’m not sure about it being bold it certainly did create a lot of talk during the week I had it to review.
Unfortunately for Holden most of the comments about its new look weren’t very flattering, especially from current Cruze owners.
The SRiV sits on top of the Cruze range and the SRiV I’m testing here came with the optional six-speed automatic transmission and is priced from $29,340 or $2200 more than the manual version.
The new front end styling features a twin grill, chrome strip on the lower front bar and LED daytime running lights. The SRiV rides on redesigned 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
Slip behind the leather bound steering wheel and it seems like not a lot has changed and it really hasn’t
Apart from the heated leather front seats which now come with suede inserts, while the seats offer a decent amount of comfort and support I did find the seat a pain to adjust thanks to a fiddly lever.
The instrument panel is well set out and easy to read in any light and features a digital speedo which comes in handy these days with mobile cash machines (sorry speed cameras) popping up everywhere.
The dash is a sea of hard plastics which I found a bit of a letdown, now while I don’t go fondling the dash a lot while driving I think the hard plastics give the interior a more low rent feel then it does have.
Equipment levels on the SRiV are great and it comes with a few new features including rain sensing wipers and remote start.
The Mylink multimedia system offers full Bluetooth connectivity and allows you to access net based apps like Pandora and Stitcher via your smartphone.
I found the system easy to use, the sat nav with live traffic updates works great and comes with a handy feature that it can read your text messages to you.
Something my eldest daughter found quite amusing which resulted in many messages with strange words and phrases just so she could the system read them out.
The Cruze is one of the biggest small cars on the market so front and rear legroom is great as is the boot space which expands from its 445 litres capacity thanks to the split fold rear seat.
On the road the SRiV drives wonderfully, the steering is well weighted and offers a good amount of feel and sharpness.
The Cruze corners impressively thanks to its slightly stiff suspension and sits nice and flat in corners without any noticeable body roll.
While being on the firm side the ride is comfortable, you do feel some imperfections in the road but it’s not crashy and even mid corner bumps weren’t unsettling.
The SRiV Cruze is powered by a 132Kw 230nM 1.6L turbo 4cyl engine which stacks up well on paper but I found it lacked some go at lower rev’s.
However get some rev’s on board and it proves to be a rather keen performer and the 1.6L will happily spin to red line in any gear.
At 10.5/100km the fuel economy is not stellar compared to some non turbo small cars I’ve tested over the same trip.
I’m sure someone could achieve better figures as I think I was enjoying the turbo a little too much.
The six-speed auto is well suited to the engine and the shifts are smooth, the sport shift function works great and will sense your driving style and will adjust the gear changes accordingly.
Should the desire arise you can also change gears yourself via the shifter.
The Cruze has a 5 star safety rating and has a list of safety features as long as your arm including ABS, ESC, 6 airbags and comes standard with rear parking sensors and a rear view camera which is handy on this car thanks to the lmited rear view thanks to the tapering rear glass.
While the Cruze has been around for a few years the latest incantation proves it can still compete relatively well in the small car market.
The SRiV does have some downsides the hard dash plastics, lack of driver’s footrest, front seat adjustment and the engines preference for 95 RON fuel.
However the SRiV Cruze still offers a rather attractive package with a long equipment list, 5-star safety rating, generous cabin space, good performance and the added piece of mind of a 3 year 100,000 km warranty, lifetime capped price servicing.