$19,490 – $31,790
Good: Sporty exterior and tasteful interior design; lots of storage compartments; good value for money; 1.4-litre turbo petrol and the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines
Not so Good: The dated 1.8-litre petrol engine is only slightly cheaper than the newer 1.4-litre turbo option.
Design and Engineering
Good : The Holden Cruze hatch arrived Down Under in November 2011, joining the successful Cruze sedan.
Featuring the same dynamic proportions that have seen the Cruze sedan win favour around the world, the hatch stands out for its short front, rear overhangs and wide stance. The design gives the Cruze hatch a sporty and athletic appearance.
Not so good : However, the Cruze’s athletic and sharp lines do get lost in the lighter exterior body colours.
Interior and Styling
Good : Inside, the Cruze hatch makes use of the sedan’s ‘dual’ cockpit design with quality soft touch plastics covering the dash and other components instead of the usual hard stuff that Holden usually use. There is also a fabric insert on the dash that we think is a neat touch.
The instrument cluster is very clear and concise, and is easily read at a glance. The driving position is fantastic with firm, supportive front seats. Both tilt and reach steering controls make it easy to find the perfect driving position for you. There are lots of useful storage compartments around the cabin with decent room provided for both front and rear passengers.
The Holden Cruze hatch offers up a fairly generous 413-litre boot that can expand to a 1254-litres when the 60/40 split rear seat backs are folded flat.
Not so good : Rear seats could offer more under-thigh support for adult passengers, and though the front seats are sporty, they’re also a little tight, and could be a tad uncomfortable for larger drivers. Noticeably, there is no driver’s footrest.
Good : The Cruze hatch offers customers the choice of three four-cylinder engines. The entry level petrol is a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre with 104kW of power and 176Nm of torque.
Next up is a sporty 1.4-litre turbo petrol offering 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque.
And rounding out the engine line up is a 2.0-litre turbo diesel producing 120kW of power and 360Nm of torque.
The 1.4-litre turbo petrol accelerates smoothly with minimal turbo lag and the six-speed automatic transmission offers smooth shifts for effortless driving.
Not so good : The 1.8-litre petrol is by no means quick and doesn’t sound sporty and is the Cruze’s weakest link in our opinion.
While the 1.4-litre turbo petrol sounds a little harsh as the revs rise and its real world fuel economy is thirstier than it should be.
Ride and Handling
Good : The Cruze’s suspension has been specifically calibrated for Australian roads, providing a smooth, uninterrupted ride. It is perfect for daily driving, equally in traffic or on the open road. All grades fitted with the 1.4-litre turbo gain electric power assisted steering and a Watts link rear suspension set-up. The steering is smooth and direct while the ride is comfortable. While it won’t out-handle a Volkswagen Golf GTI, the steering and suspension setup in the 1.4-litre does do a commendable job while on a budget.
Not so good : The entry and mid spec Cruze’s suspension feel like they’re tuned more for comfortable cruising than carving up a mountain side, but with the engines that are available that is not such a disadvantage. It’s a notch behind the best small class “drivers” cars.
Buying and Owning
Good : All grades score a five-star ANCAP safety rating. Safety features include six airbags (driver and front passenger front and side and full-length side curtain), Electronic Stability Control incorporating anti-lock braking system, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control. High levels of equipment come standard, with entry models coming with standard features like Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free mobile phone use from compatible devices, cruise control, rear power windows, six-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats, automatic lights with programmable “follow-me home” headlight functionality and remote keyless entry and advanced six-speaker multimedia audio system with AM/FM radio, in-dash MP3 compatible CD player, and USB input with iPod compatibility to enable complete control of the device through the audio system controls.
Not so good : The 1.8-litre petrol engine is not outstandingly economical even with its 6-speed automatic transmission.