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Used car review Holden Cruze 2009

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    The Cruze hit the market in 2009 as a four-door sedan in CD and CDX versions.

Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Holden Cruze 09: its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when buying it.

The Cruze is arguably the most important new model Holden has introduced in the last 30 years or more.  At a time when the local market is fundamentally changing and moving into small cars in a way that could not be imagined even a few years ago, Holden took the plunge and committed to a new generation of small cars.

The Cruze was the most important piece in the modern Holden jigsaw puzzle.  Then Holden boss Mark Reuss excitedly pronounced it as the reinvention of the company when unveiling the Cruze in 2009.

The Cruze, he said, was Holden's first serious attack on the small car market; one the company was very serious about.  Designed by GM's Korean division the Cruze was initially sourced from Seoul, but with plans to build it locally.


The Cruze hit the market in 2009 as a four-door sedan in CD and CDX versions.  With crisp lines and a clean, chiselled look the Cruze sedan   comfortably slipped into the small car crowd, but that could be an issue for anyone wanting something different.

While it was a pleasant looking car it somehow left you wishing for more.  The interior was well put together and pleasantly styled with all the   features you could wish for.

Inside there was generous space, with impressive head and shoulder room for four, although the rear was a little squeezy if you wanted to seat three in the rear.  The CD got cruise standard, plus air, multi-function steering wheel, height and reach adjustable steering, height adjustable seats and power windows and mirrors.

Move up to the CDX and you got all of that and more. You sat on leather trim, gripped a leather steering wheel, and listened to CD sound.  If there was a criticism it would be the backlit instruments, which were buried deep in a binnacle and as a result were dark and could be difficult to read in some conditions.

Cruze buyers could choose from a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel.  At its peak the 1.8-litre engine was putting out 104 kW and 176 Nm, while the diesel peaked at 110 kW and 320 Nm.

The performance with the 1.8-litre engine was spirited without being breathtaking, while the turbodiesel had plenty of urge low down in the rev range.

There was the choice of five-speed manual and six-speed auto transmissions, with final drive through the front wheels.  The manual was a nice shifting unit, while the auto was smooth and unfussed, and offered manual shifting.

On the road the ride was firmish without being hard or uncomfortable.  It was well controlled and handled all surfaces with aplomb without   ever losing its poise.  The steering was well weighted and progressive with good feedback for the driver.


Pay $15,000-$19,000 for a 1.8-litre CD, add $3000 for a diesel engine.  Step up to a CDX and pay $18,000-$22,000 for a 1.8-litre, add $3000 for a diesel engine.


The build quality of the Cruze was generally of a good standard, the fit and finish neat and tidy, and few complaints have been received at Cars Guide.  That said, the complaints of high oil consumption and problems with the interior trim experienced by one reader should be noted.

When checking cars before purchase check the fit and finish of the interior trim and ask for a service record.


With front, side and head airbags the Cruze was well equipped to handle a crash.  When tested by ANCAP it was awarded five stars out of a possible five.


Holden says the 1.8-litre Cruze is E10 compatible and will return   7.0-7.5 L/100 km, when tested by Cars Guide the it returned 8.3 L/100km.  When powered by the turbo diesel engine the fuel consumption dropped to 6.8 L/100 km.


Margaret Cameron is disappointed with the lag in response of her turbodiesel Cruze CD manual, which she says makes overtaking a problem. She likes the safety and layout of the Cruze, but says the seats are uncomfortable and she would like a footrest for the left foot. Overall she says the 2006 Astra diesel she owned before the Cruze was better.

Shelley Edgell says her Cruze is fantastic to drive, the fuel economy great at 6.1 L/100 km, the interior comfortable with everything close at hand, although there are times she would like a sixth gear.

John and Carol aren't at all happy with their Holden Cruze CD petrol.  It has consistently used oil since they have owned it and they have had trouble getting Holden to fix it. They have also had problems with a number of interior trim panels needing to be replaced.


VW GOLF 2009: Classy European hatchback delivers plenty of European pizzazz in a small package. Well built, choice of petrol and diesel engines, refined ride and handling. Pay $18,000-$24,000.

FORD FOCUS 2009: Euro Ford looks the goods, rides and handles well, has zippy engines and is generally well built and reliable. Pay $17,000-$21,000.

TOYOTA COROLLA 2009: The traditional small car benchmark is well built, reliable with plenty of equipment. Well respected the resale of Corollas makes it a good proposition. Pay $16,000-$24,000.


Safe, well-built and roomy small car for the family. 70/100

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • Ive been looking to buy a cruze CDX, i test drove the 1.8 ltr petrol manual and they are under powered and worse with air con on so that the only fault there but the 2.0 deisel auto goes really well, im wanting to drive the manual deisel and when i do i will give you my verdict

    brett poulson of dubbo Posted on 06 October 2013 10:54pm
  • My drivers door handle chrome is peeling off, its like sharp a blade. I seriously sliced my finger. Other than that , had only pleasure driving my Holden CDX.2009 now 40,000k Len Kahn Melbourne 21 June 2013 11.40.a.m.

    Len Kahn of Melbourne Posted on 21 June 2013 12:41pm
  • I really like my Holden Cruze, it's solid exterior and I like the interior with all its features. But I don't like 1.8 litre petrol and transmission in mine, it feels under powered and transmission slow to change making you feel like it is jerks the car back and forth when changing. I would much prefer the newer 1.4 turbo or diesel.

    Matt Melb of Melbourne Posted on 28 November 2011 2:17pm
  • I've put 48'000kms on my Cruze CD diesel in 15 months. The car itself hasn't missed a beat, although the chrome door handles are peeling and the odd rattle eminates from the dashboard somewhere. My main issue has been with the Holden main dealers. At 45'000kms, the front brake pads were due for replacement. No brake pads in stock. No wheel-covers in stock. No replacement door handles in stock - If it was a NSU RO80, I could understand, but it's the 6th best selling car in Australia for crying out loud! 3'000kms later and I'm still waiting for replacement brake pads.

    Jeremy of Mulgrave Vic Posted on 14 January 2011 10:16am
  • Recently rented a Holden Cruze, drives well, good fuel economy, good handling on bitumen and gravel. But the driver's footwell was very narrow, nowhere for the right leg to rest when on cruise control. Aching right leg.... And some weird instrumentation and controls. You never seem to be low on fuel until you realise that you're nearly empty - the gauge has been placed upside down and runs from right (full) to left (empty). And push the centre of the circular airflow control and suddenly your bum's on fire! Its not the A/C unit, it's the driver's seat heater! Yep, it's an odd configuration of instruments, and it takes a while to work it out. Must have been designed by some young hotshot who wants to change the way we've always done things in left-hand-drive. So if you don't mind the cramped driver's position and narrow seat, and can get used to the unusual configuration, it's a good value car which handles well.

    Philip Kirran of Perth Posted on 05 January 2011 7:45pm
  • My husband and I are very impressed with our Cruze CDX diesel turbo. We buy a new car every three years and this car is tops- better than my last Honda Civic.

    Josephine Goss of Black Rock Victoria Posted on 04 January 2011 6:36pm
  • and it is a 1.8

    alex Posted on 29 December 2010 7:01pm
  • leeanne - should've taken it for a test drive. .I don't know what they sell for second hand but maybe it might be better selling it for what you can now rather than being stuck with it for 6 years.

    alexc Posted on 29 December 2010 7:00pm
  • Very disappointed with my CD petrol 5 speed manual Cruze. Has very disappointing take-off and when the air conditioner is on it is worse. The money I?ve paid and now I?m stuck with it for 6 years on finance so buyers beware.

    leeanne of Elizabeth sa Posted on 05 December 2010 7:52pm
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