Holden Cruze good value but lacks finesse
Holden has lightly breathed on the Cruze range for the 2015 model year. Hatch, sedan and wagon models remain with each body style offered in a number of trim levels. The “Series II” changes are relatively minor: that controversial new front fascia, added technology such as a remote start system and satellite navigation with voice control on some models.
Interestingly, the 2.0 litre diesel version we sampled last year has been dropped, and buyers can now only choose from a 1.8 litre naturally aspirated petrol or the 1.6 litre turbo petrol found in the sporty SRi and SRi-V models with a choice of either a six-speed automatic or a five-speed manual.
We sampled the middling luxury-focused CDX sedan with the automatic gearbox.
What we like:
- Roomy cabin
- Comfortable ride
- Voice control convenience
- Reasonable value for money
Not so much:
- Driveline refinement
- Fuel economy
- Cheap satellite navigation system
Price and Equipment
The Cruze CDX sedan fitted with the six-speed automatic retails for $24,840 plus on road costs. On paper, this presents as very reasonable value. The standard CDX package includes Holden’s MyLink system with internet applications, satellite navigation with Siri voice control, automatic headlights and wipers, leather seats with front seat heaters and remote start and turn signal repeaters which form part of the 2015 update, along with front LED running lights.
There is also a host of airbags and passive safety equipment to protect occupants in the event of a crash.
When approaching the MY15 Cruze, press the lock button on the keyfob, followed by the remote start button and the engine will spring into life, as will the single zone climate control, heating or cooling the cabin at your most preferred temperature.
The Cruze’s cabin offers plenty of space for five occupants and up front especially, passengers enjoy impressive amounts of head, leg and shoulder room for a car of this class.
Holden has adorned the dash with a number of textures and different trims to enliven the cabin environment; to an extent, they’ve been successful. The piano black and brushed aluminium effect inserts are relatively tasteful, although some other plastics on the door trims feel a little cheap and underdone.
The leather trim is of decent quality and, handily, there is three-step seat heating to help take the edge off chilly days. However, the front seats aren’t equipped with any form of electric adjustment, and passengers must make do with cumbersome ratchet adjusters for both the backrests and seat height settings. The front chairs are comfortable enough, if a little firm.
The Cruze CDX utilizes Holden’s MyLink infotainment system which is shared with many other models within the Holden range and is the control centre for the radio, CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and internet based apps Pandora and Stitcher. The system can be operated via the touchscreen, buttons on the dash (some of these are too small and fiddly, especially those for the navigation) and of course the Siri voice control system.
The voice control system is definitely one of the better systems we’ve sampled, with only the very occasional misinterpretation of driver commands.
Siri can also recognise instructions for the sat nav system, which is a handy safety feature, but the navigation maps themselves are a little disappointing. The graphics could do with more detail and the system can be very slow to recalculate a new route should the driver miss a turn. Instead, the system will instruct the driver to “make an illegal U-turn” to return to the pre-planned route and will only begin recalculating after the car has travelled a considerable distance. This is similar to the issue we experience in the Holden Malibu and one we think Holden needs to be prompt in addressing.
The small font on the instrumentation is something we complained about on the previous Cruze. Unfortunately, this gripe hasn’t been addressed as part of the update. Luckily there is a large digital readout nestled in between the analogue gauges.
Rear seat accommodation is more than adequate for for three. The rear bench is also sufficiently comfortable, if a little flat.
The Cruze’s boot is a large, useable space of 445 litres, although the boot opening itself is a little small, potentially making the loading of bulky objects a little difficult.
Engine and Transmission
The Cruze CDX is powered by a 1.8 litre petrol four-cylinder engine that develops 104kW @ 6300rpm and 175Nm @ 3800rpm. In our test car, this engine was paired with the optional six-speed automatic.
At low and cruising speeds, the engine is relatively quiet and hushed. However, dial up more power for a quick overtake or to accelerate up a steep hill, and the engine begins to feel and sound strained and underpowered.
The auto box doesn’t seem to be the ideal partner in crime for the powerplant, as it can hold gears for too long and then change abruptly when it comes time to swap cogs.
Combined fuel consumption was 9.2 litres per 100 kilometres. It is worth noting that our press car had only around 1,500 kilometres on the odometer during the assessment period.
On The Road
On the road, the Cruze rides with a good deal of compliance, effectively absorbing road surface imperfections and preventing them from filtering into the cabin.
Handling is stable and predictable and the hydraulic steering has a satisfying weightiness to it, relaying sufficient feedback through to the driver when cornering.
When it comes time to finding a park, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera help prevent low speed collisions. The camera offers helpful guidelines too, although images could be a little blurry at times.
The Holden Cruze CDX is fitted with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS) as well as dual front and side airbags and full length side curtain airbags.
The entire Cruze range has been awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Servicing and Warranty
The Cruze range is backed by Holden’s three year 100,000 kilometre warranty and a lifetime capped price servicing program. Prices are capped at $239 for the first four services for Cruze models with the 1.8 litre petrol engine.
Holden Cruze CDX Series II Specs
Make and model: Holden Cruze CDX Series II
Engine type: 1796cc double overhead cam, 16 valve naturally aspirated petrol four-cylinder with variable valve timing
Power: 104kW @ 6300rpm
Torque: 175Nm @ 3800rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres
Dimensions: 4615mm long, 1797mm wide, 1477mm high and 2685mm wheelbase
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut Rear: Compound crank axle
Steering: Rack and pinion steering
Country of Origin: Australia