We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering -- would you buy one?
What is it?
The entry level Cruze hatch, but even then you choose between 1.8 litre or 1.4-litre turbocharged four cylinder engines, the turbo is similarly equipped but costs $1250 more.
Prices start at $21,490 for the 1.8-litre CD. The turbo 1.4-litre costs $22,740 (nothing like rounding up the figures?). Both figures are before on-road costs.
What are competitors?
Chiefly the Ford Focus, but there's plenty of others to choose in this segment including the market leading Mazda3. Focus is more expensive but more sophisticated.
What's under the bonnet?
Don't be fooled by the figures, the 1.4 is actually the more powerful of the engines and more economical too. It produces 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque, compared to the 1.8's 104kW and 176Nm (and lower in the rev range too). The larger torque figure is the key.
How does it go?
Not bad. You wouldn't know it's a 1.4. But it likes a firm hand and starts to get confused in stop-start city traffic. The auto seems to have trouble syncing with the amount of boost the turbo is delivering which changes quickly.
Is it economical?
The turbo is good for 6.9 litres/100km compared with the 1.8 which delivers 7.4. We were getting 7.5 litres/100km from the 60-litre tank after 630km.
Is it green?
Gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from the Govt's Green Vehicle Guide, with a greenhouse rating of 7 out of 10.
Is it safe?
With six airbags and stability control all variants receive a full five stars for safety from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
Is it comfortable?
Apart from the fumes given off by the plastics it's okay. Easy to get in and out of, plenty or room inside, but no driver's foot rest to be found.
What's it like to drive?
Not bad. The ride quality is very good and we'd expect nothing less from Holden. Pretty quiet inside too. Comes with a reinflation kit but a full size spare is a no cost option (recommended).
Is it value for money?
Well, you get Bluetooth standard along with voice recognition. But don't get too excited because the Bluetooth doesn't support media streaming and we couldn't get the system to dial a number no matter how slowly (or quickly) we said the number. Holden can't tell us what version it is.
Would we buy one?
If only it didn't stink. The price is right, peformance is adequate, it's relatively well equipped for an entry model and the ride and handling are also very good.
Holden Cruze Hatch 1.4-litre CD
Price: from $22,740
Warranty: 3 year roadside assist, 100,000km
Safety rating: 5 star
Engine: 1.4 Litre, 4 Cylinder, 103kW/200Nm
Transmission: 5-speed, manual front wheel drive
Thirst: 6.4/100Km, 153g/km CO2