1 Jun 2009
HOLDEN’S Cruze replaced the Belgian-built AH Astra hatch – which had fallen victim to an unfavourable exchange rate out of Europe – and the Daewoo Lacetti-based JF Viva range in June 2009.
Six airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), traction control, collapsible pedals aid all models in achieving an ANCAP five-star crash-test safety rating, while cruise control and steering-wheel mounted audio controls are included on every vehicle.
The automatic is a six-speed type, and is available in lieu of the standard five-speed manual gearbox.
Two engines choices are on offer from launch, with the volume seller expected to be GM’s familiar but revised 1.8-litre twin-cam 16-valve Family-1 ECOTEC four-cylinder petrol unit.
Now in its ‘GEN III’ guise, it develops 104kW of power and 176Nm of torque – with 90 per cent the latter occurring between 2200 and 6200rpm, thanks to continuously variable valve timing that employs a compact hydraulic vane type phaser “to flatten out the torque curve” according to Holden.
More torque is available via GM/VM Motori’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine familiar to owners of the Holden Captiva SUV and Epica sedan.
It uses common-rail fuel injection and an electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger with intercooler.
Power and torque are rated at 110kW and 320Nm respectively, with 90 per cent of that available from 1750 to 3500rpm.
The diesel engine is only available in CD spec.
Fuel consumption ratings are 7.0 litres per 100km for the 1.8 petrol manual (1.8 petrol auto: 7.5L/100km) while the 2.0 diesel manual returns 5.7L/100km (2.0 diesel auto: 6.8L/100km).
Suspension is by MacPherson strut-type at the front and what GM Holden calls a compound crank rear axle (a solid torsion beam item), which means that the Cruze avoids the costly multi-link designs found beneath the Focus and Mazda3, among other rivals.
Also conventional is the employment of a hydraulically powered rack and pinion steering system, and four-wheel disc brakes.
The engineers worked hard to quell NVH noise/vibration/harshness levels.
Dimensionally the Cruze sedan is a large small car for its class, measuring 4597mm long, 1788mm wide and 1477mm high, with a wheelbase of 2685mm, front track of 1544mm and rear track of 1558mm. This puts it about on par with the generation-before-last Holden JR/JS Vectra (1997-2002).
The 400-litre boot is aided by a split/fold rear-seat backrest.
Standard features include all the aforementioned safety gear, along with items like air-conditioning, power windows, remote central locking, cruise control, steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise switches, auto-on headlights, six-speaker CD/MP3 audio, a trip computer, heated exterior mirrors, and body coloured door handles and mirrors.
In the $23,990, petrol-only CDX, leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear park assist, 17-inch alloy wheels (the CD is fitted with 16-inch steel wheels shod with 205/60 R16 tyres, and front fog lights.
When it was new