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Chevy Cruze update leaves Holden cold

Big deal: Major revisions to GM’s small car staple, the Cruze, have been met with a muted response from Fisherman’s Bend.

A low-key response to major Cruze update from Holden leaves future of model in limbo

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Chevrolet logo25 Jun 2015

By TIM ROBSON

HOLDEN has reacted cautiously to the reveal of the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze, despite it being lighter, larger and more economical than the locally made car.

The local arm of General Motors would only say that it would take a “very close look” at the car, which is due to go on sale in up to 40 markets worldwide in 2016.

“The all new Cruze is a very exciting next generation product,” read a statement from Holden. “However, we have no announcements to make at this time.”

The company has made no secret of its desire to source the bulk of its future products from European sources, including the similarly sized, Opel-built Astra.

With the now-larger Cruze and the latest generation five-door Astra to be built on the same D2XX platform and thus be similarly sized, it’s believed that Holden may import just the sedan version of the car from its Korean facility when local manufacturing of the Cruze ends in 2017, adopting the full Astra line-up going forward to cover the small hatch segment.

“Holden is absolutely committed to leveraging GM’s global product portfolio to provide the best vehicles for our customers and as such will take a very close look at this vehicle,” the statement concludes.

The new Cruze is longer, lower and lighter than the current car, and will launch in the United States in four levels of specification, before being pushed out to up to 40 markets worldwide.

A new alloy 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection that makes 113kW and 240Nm will initially power the range, with a diesel due for US release in 2017. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a six-speed automatic available as an option.

Claimed fuel economy is 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres when fitted with the six-speed automatic transmission, and it will cover 0-100km/h in eight seconds.

The new platform and the lighter engine have netted average weight savings in the order of 113kg across the range.

The line-up – comprising L, LS, LT and Premier – will run a MacPherson strut front end with revised bushes and geometry, complemented by a torsion beam rear end. All cars will also run electrically actuated power steering.

An RS package can be optioned for the Premier, offering 18-inch rims and unique ‘zed-link’ rear suspension, as well as additional interior and exterior trim.

It sits 68mm longer than the local car at 4666mm, 25mm lower at 1458mm and on a marginally longer (by 15mm) 2700mm wheelbase. The Cruze’s front and rear track dimensions have also been marginally widened.

A revised interior includes new materials, a new steering wheel and GM’s MyLink infotainment system that incorporates Apple Play via a 7.0-inch touchscreen, with an 8.0-inch screen available as an option on higher grades. An Android version for MyLink will be rolled out later in 2016.

Chevrolet claims the Cruze sedan has 17mm more legroom and 51mm more knee room for rear passengers than the current model.

Ten airbags, including seat-mounted side-impact air bags front and rear and front knee air bags, are fitted across the line, and work together with a newly designed body that uses a higher percentage of high-strength steel. The body is said to be 27 per cent stiffer and 24kg lighter than that on the current Cruze.

Side blind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist and forward collision alert, tyre pressure monitors and daytime running lamps are also available, depending on spec and grade.

“The 2016 Cruze builds on a very successful program that introduced Chevrolet to new customers the world over,” said president of General Motors North America Alan Batey.

“We retained all the attributes that made the original Cruze a hit around the globe and built on them to make this car more sophisticated, more fun and more Chevrolet.”

More than 3.5 million Cruzes have been sold worldwide since the car’s launch in 2008. In Australia, Holden has sold 6249 Cruzes this year, down 13.9 per cent from this time in 2014.

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