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Holden Cruze SRi-V review

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    The Series II Cruze is easily recognisable but with a few facial tweaks.

Stuart Martin road tests and reviews the Holden Cruze SRI-V.

Holden Cruze SRI-V 4
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  • Flexible engine
  • Sat nav display
  • Ride/handling set up
  • Cabin space
  • Low noise levels
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  • Indecisive auto
  • High tail (camera required)
  • A-pillar on thick side
  • No standard bluetooth

Not often does the sequel surpass the original, but for Holden's sake Cruze II had better. Holden will be hoping the second incarnation follows in the footsteps of The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II and Aliens as second incarnations that surpassed the first instalment.

The introduction of the Adelaide-built Cruze brought with it the SRi-V model, packing the Austrian-built 1.4-litre low-pressure turbo four-cylinder (shared with the Opel Astra) and a Watts-link controlled rear suspension.


The new Cruze flagship starts from $27,990 - plus $2000 for the auto as tested - and carries as strong list of standard equipment - the feature highlights include leather-trimmed seats with heaters, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, air conditioning, satnav and premium sound system (with 10 gig of storage and live-radio pause function), all controlled via a 7in colour LCD screen, automatic headlights and a rear lip spoiler. But a notable absence from the factory features list is Bluetooth - but Holden says its a dealer-fit option for around $500.


The new 1.4 litre turbo four - shared with Opel Astra - has double overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Holden says the turbocharging can deliver torque comparable to a naturally-aspirated engine more than 2.2 litres in capacity - the little four boasts 103kW at leisurely 4900rpm and 200Nm of torque stretching from 1850 to the same 4900rpm engine speed.

The 1.4 comes with a new six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, with the manual claiming 6.4 litres per 100km. Stump up the $2000 for optional (as tested) six-speed auto and the consumption claim rises to 6.9 litres per 100km, although out time in the car (with plenty of metro work) had 9.3 on the trip computer. Also added to the new top-end models is a Watts link set-up the carry-over compound crank rear suspension, which Holden says improves the resistance to cornering forces.


The Series II Cruze is easily recognisable but with a few facial tweaks, the grille and the front indicators, extra chrome accents among the changes range-wide - the SRi-V gets body add-ons, a bootlid lip spoiler and 17in alloy wheels to sex up the basic sedan bodyshape. It's not as sexy as the incoming hatch but there are certainly less-attractive small sedans on offer in the marketplace.


The Cruze bears a five-star ANCAP safety rating with six airbags, stability and traction control, four wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution and a bodyshell built using 65 per cent high-strength steel. Front occupants also get seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters.


I recently spent 1000km behind the wheel of a CDX turbodiesel automatic and it impressed for its on-road composure, beefier (than the asthmatic petrol 1.8) mid-range and cabin comfort and space. The SRi-V builds on the latter and the little turbo four does much to swing the balance back towards petrol engines within the Cruze range. The only concern came when the six-speed automatic flared some changes and hestitated on others, something that hopefully is not typical of the breed.

Given the Commodore has only 51 more litres, the 445 litres of bootspace is ample (Corolla claims 450 litres, Focus boasts 510) but not class-leading for a "small" car. But what does feel like it will put Cruze to the top of the heap is the ride/handling compromise, which is hinting at firm without going all the way there.

It's refined and quiet; the interior feels as though it has taken a step forward as well, with the new satnav set-up making the Commodore's look a little lack-lustre - although the controls are a little less intuitive. The seats are firmer than those from SeriesI but still feel supportive in the right spots and comfortable.


The Adelaide-built Cruze has more than filled the shoes of its Korean-built forebear and the new petrol engine is a pleasant and effective powerplant; add the hatch (with this engine and a manual gearbox we suspect would be best) and the small car battleground is going to be an even tougher place to be ...


4 out of 5


Price: from $27,990 (auto $2000)
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km
Resale: 70%
Service interval: 15,000km or 12-months
Economy: 6.9 l/100km; 164g/km CO2
Safety equipment: six airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, EBD
Crash rating: 5 star
Engine: 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre 16-valve four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission: six-speed auto, front wheel drive
Body: 5-door, 5 seats
Dimensions: 4629mm (L); 1788mm (W); 1477mm (H); 2685mm (WB)
Weight: 1439kg
Tyres: 17in alloy wheels; 215/50R17-91V tyres, sealant and air compressor kit, 16in spare optional


Price: from $29,255
Engine: 2.5-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 122kW/227Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Body: 4-door sedan
Thirst: 8.6 L/100km, 91 RON, CO2 204g/km
"Drive one and it's not hard to see why it's the top-selling small car in Australia ... for now."

Price: from $31,490
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 102kW/189Nm
Transmission: 4-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Body: 4-door sedan
Thirst: 7.7 L/100km, 91 RON, CO2 181g/km
"The yardstick for many, Corolla's small-car crown has slipped a little."

Price: from $23,490
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 107kW/185Nm
Transmission: 4-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Body: 4-door sedan
Thirst: 8.2 L/100km, 91 RON, CO2 169g/km
"A better car than its numbers would suggest, but still needs to improve"

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 25 comments

  • Love the car - but the Sat-Nav was already way out of date when I brought it new 3,000 ks ago - and now Holden wants $450 to upgrade to a current map.  That is Holden gouging its customers!

    SatNav Perth of Perth Posted on 02 November 2012 9:40pm
  • Climate control? For this top $ and yet no rear air-conditioning vents for rear passengers as was typical in older even basic Commodore models! Not expecting independent airflow, yet just the option to have some flow of air at rear tailored for individual preference would have been welcome.

    Lex Luzon of Queensland Posted on 10 August 2011 10:37am
  • When they give the Cruze the 1.6 Turbo the specs will read something like these from the Opel Insignia1.6 Turbo ECOTEC is a sedan/saloon with 5 seats, 4 doors and front wheel drive (FWD). It has been announced in 2009. The automobile has the following dimensions: width - 1858.00 mm, length - 4829.00 mm, height - 1498.00 mm. Additionally, its rear track is 1586.00 mm, its front track is 1585.00 mm and its wheelbase is 2737.00 mm. The Opel Insignia 1.6 Turbo ECOTEC engine is 4-cylinder with 4 valves per cylinder, double overhead camshaft (DOHC), 1598 cc, turbocharged. It is fitted in the front of the vehicle and its alignment is transverse. It also has inline-arranged cylinders. The cylinder diameter is 79.00 mm and the piston stroke length is 81.50 mm. The compression ratio of the pistons is 8.80:1. The maximum power and maximum torque generated by the engine are 132 kW / 180 ps at 5500 rpm and 231 Nm at 2200-5500 rpm respectively. The model’s fuel system is electronic fuel injection (EFI). The oiling system used for lubricating the engine’s parts is wet sump. From 0 to 100 km/h the vehicle can accelerate for 8.90 s. This model has a drag coefficient of 0.27.

    Rats of Brisbane QLD Posted on 01 August 2011 10:27pm
  • @Vic. Extortion? You?re kidding right. Look what else it gets as entry optioning. A sat-nav on any other car will cost at least 2k. I’d prefer the only option needed be $500.

    Kanel of Nsw Posted on 18 July 2011 11:42pm
  • ... but there’s no auto climate control available at any price, and $500 extra for add-on Bluetooth is just plain extortion.

    Vic of Melbourne Posted on 18 July 2011 12:38pm
  • Had my SRi for 2 weeks now, extremely happy with the finish and driveability of the 1.4 turbo 6sp manual. Already done nearly 2000kms, superb fuel economy of 6.5 l/100km on the highway so far.Great car!

    Col from Canberra Posted on 07 July 2011 2:02pm
  • as a new cruze owner i would have to say this car is a beauty i couldn’t be happier with it well not perfect in every way it is pretty close in the ones that matter and i would recommend it to anyone

    Happy Sri-V owner of melb Posted on 26 May 2011 12:16pm
  • @ motormouth - “As I said it was Jan and it was a 2010 plate sale, nothing about and end of model runout”. 2007 wtf? how is that relevant? the mkII went on sale in 2008 so it’s not really a comparison is it. As for Europeans not buying Japanese cars I’m sure Honda would disagree with you the Jazz has been a top 10 seller in the UK over the last decade. However the most amusing bit about your comments is the fact you say that “we are” less patriotic than Europeans and that much of the European built vehicles are below Japanese standards…. and you bought an Astra, ipso facto(according to you) the Astra(Belgium built) is an example of a better built vehicle than Japan has to offer ? that?s kinda fail times 3

    David Watson of Sydney Posted on 17 May 2011 12:05pm
  • odd with focus and the mazda 3 being basicly the same car underneath yet it has very different reputations and perceptions in different countrys.

    jason of melb Posted on 16 May 2011 11:08am
  • Fantastic! All we need now is for HSV to bring one out with an AWD and the 3.6 V6 in it. With an over the radiator air intake and a sports exhaust, of course. By the way Tim, if you had bothered to read it, you would have noticed that there is a diesel engine available. It would probably help if you got to bed a little earlier, judging by that yawn.

    bob of hobart Posted on 12 May 2011 4:24pm
  • @ David Watcon - the reason you got such a good deal on Focus is that it is in run-out. The reason I bought an Astra over one was that even in 2007, the Focus’ interior seemed horribly dated and a little bland. The reason Focus outsells Mazda3 in Europe is that Japanese cars are not as well regarded in Europe as they are here. Europeans tend to be a lot more patriotic than we are and prefer to buy local product, even though much of it is well below the standard of the Japanese.

    MotorMouth of Sydney Posted on 12 May 2011 2:37pm
  • please stop saying australian built, thats misleading! its aussie ASSEMBLED.

    troy s of townsville Posted on 10 May 2011 8:11am
  • *Yawn*.. Where’s the diesel engine? Where’s the hybrid model? Where’s any compelling reason to buy this car? Or preferably, where’s the Hybrid diesel (or hybrid diesels in general)?

    Tim of Sydney Posted on 07 May 2011 3:37pm
  • finally an australian built daewoo.

    JoeR of Ryde Posted on 05 May 2011 8:22am
    If you read the article, it mentions manual cruze has economy of 6.4L/100kms… NOT under 6 as you claim .
    Besides , the auto is claimed to use 6.9L/ but instead , on test , it used 9.3L…  dont get fooled by manufacturers claims… especially holden..  They claimed the commodore (3.0L v6) was more fuel efficient than the falcon, yet on many tests, including DRIVES 1000km test, the falcon used less fuel then the 3L or the 3.6L commodores, yet it was faster than the commodores.
    my experience with falcons is that the fuel consumption figure can be bettered once the car is run in… but with commodores, the fuel consumption gets worse with age.

    nik of sydney Posted on 06 May 2011 12:38am
  • Not sure about the article, it infers that the series II cruze is better….. well you’d hope so. However there are a number of comparisons in the article which confirm what I discovered in Jan this year when buying a “small” car. The cruze is not a small car, if comparing it with the Corolla, Mazda3 and Focus. The cruze is larger than a small car, probably explains the poor Epcia sales (turning circle alone is evidence enough, pretty much turned around and went back to the dealer). The final decision went down to the Mazda3 vs the Focus (tested as well a Corolla, Lancer, Cruze and i30), amazed at the price difference between the Mazda3 and the Focus, both drove really well but optioned to the same level the Focus was $3500 cheaper. Interestingly the Focus outsells the Mazda3 10 to 1 in Europe so it must be the Boganstralia factor, chose the Focus, if I wanted a larger car would have considered the Cruze but maybe for the burbs

    David Watcon of Sydney Posted on 06 May 2011 12:25am
  • I have been reading the Cruze reviews since the series2 was launched and the everyone seem to give great reviews apart from the poeple who owned them. Just read Whirpool forums and Productreview website. Carsguide, in particular, rave about them them like its the best thing since sliced bread. Carsguide also state this cars has a 70% resale value which is extremely hard to believe.

    Bruzzer of sydney Posted on 05 May 2011 2:44pm
  • Opel have made some real dogs lets hope this is better.

    Alan D Fraser Posted on 05 May 2011 9:49am
  • Small capacity low pressure turbo 4 are the way forward, everybody realises this except the Japanese. The Cruise with manual transmission would slip under the 6.0’s which makes the others in the high 7s to 8.6 look bad.

    JoeR of Ryde Posted on 05 May 2011 9:22am
  • I own one of these great cars. The turbo 1.4 ltr autoi s just fantastic! I traded a 2 year old Mazda 3 for the Cruze. I am more than happy with the performance and economy.

    Boss Man of ACT Posted on 05 May 2011 9:19am
  • Opel have inflicked some real dogs on us in the past starting with the 1.6 Torana
    The TS Astra was a servicing nightmare lets hope they get it right this time

    Alan D Fraser Posted on 04 May 2011 5:54pm
  • @ Real Shak, if you want to talk “cobbled together”, you can’t go past Mazda3, with design input from Ford, Volvo and Mazda. The new 1.4 iTi Cruze engine puts every mass market Japanese small car to shame. It is Euro quality at a Korean price and you can bet your bottom dollar Mazda are taking it very seriously indeed. Cruze has already consigned Corolla to no. 4 in the small car segment and the new up-spec models are capable of going head-to-head with Mazda3 now. I reckon this time next year Cruze will be heading for Commodore’s no. 1 spot.

    MotorMouth of Sydney Posted on 04 May 2011 4:43pm
  • I just wait for the 1.6L Turbo 132 Kw and 6 speed model of the future

    Rowan of Sydney Posted on 03 May 2011 7:22pm
  • @Shak: Why is using a DOHC Opel engine that works worse than sprucing up an old Holden 4?  Do they even have one?  And I have no problem with “panels pressed in Korea”, they use our ore anyway.  Turbo boosting a 1.4 is an excellent move by Holden proving they are up with the times after all.  Long live the er Lion or GM thingy pumped up by tax dollars - anyway good on you Holden for having a go!

    Undead of Ustralya Posted on 03 May 2011 12:33pm
  • The Mazda 3 is a better car in every way than this cobbled together kit car from Korea.

    Real Shak Posted on 02 May 2011 5:36pm
  • What a disappointment, with all the engineering talent Holden had, this is what they are reduced to producing, second rate badge engineering.

    james Posted on 01 May 2011 6:09pm
Read all 25 comments

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