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Holden Cruze SRi-V vs Ford Focus Sport

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Holden Cruze SRi-V and Ford Focus Sport go head to head in this comparative review.

 

4 stars

VALUE from $28,690

VALUE from $31,690

Spend as little as $22,490 to get this engine but the top-spec Cruze is still exceptional value. Standard on every new Cruze is the MyLink multimedia system and 7-inch touchscreen, and reverse assist. The SRi-V lacks satnav but adds 18-inch alloys, leather, keyless ignition and rear camera.
 

It's a pretty compelling package, coming as it does with Ford's excellent SYNC multimedia system with voice control, nine-speaker Sony sound, 5-inch screen with satnav, Bluetooth, cruise with speed limiter and 17-inch alloys. There's a drive-away deal on 2012 plate models, but the extra tech justifies the premium.

4 starsTECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY

Holden transformed the base Cruze. The job was easier here thanks to the tasty 1.6-litre turbo four from Opel. It's the perfect match for the new six-speed manual. Watts link rear suspension, lower ride height and sports calibration make it a warmish hatch for $10K less than usual.
 

Its 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine with decent outputs of 125kW/202Nm turns a six-speed twin-clutch auto. The engine's adequate, the transmission is the best of its type. A torque vectoring control on the front axle ensures super-sharp handling and direct steering. A turbo diesel is optional.

3 stars

DESIGN

DESIGN
It's almost identical to the 2011 model first produced in Adelaide, except all models get bigger and cooler wheels. The Holden's interior is of perceptibly lower quality than the Ford's but you can have hatch or sedan shapes, both of which are of a generous size for this class.

 
Hatch only. The sedan dropped from Sport spec when manufacture moved from Germany to Thailand. Pity. The sharp featured five-door's interior is pleasant enough with supportive front seats. The mass of tech function is enabled by a mass of buttons, which are pretty fussy.
SAFETY SAFETY

As with the Focus, the Cruze has the full electronic array and the maximum stars. Yet the active safety inherent in its dynamics is even greater. Its sporty intent is underwritten by composure and poise and the immense grip of its Bridgestone tyres, biased to right-hand drive.
 

When first driven in the US two years ago, the Focus convinced me Ford had turned a corner. A five-star crasher with the complete suite of safety measures, the solidity and quality is closer to Audi than Volkswagen, with extremely able dynamics.

DRIVING DRIVING

This new engine delivers a response Volkswagen buyers might recognise. Holden's torque converter auto is as fast as the Ford's and is better off the mark. Refinement and ride are exceptional. A return of 7.4L/100km is hardly unreasonable.

The Focus has matured since the previous model. That's as it should be but it's no longer such fun. It must be driven in sport mode to maintain momentum. Its adroit handling deserves greater torque. The 6.6L/100km thirst is enviable.

 

OVERALL STAR RATING FINAL POINTS
4 stars image
 OVERALL STAR RATING FINAL POINTS
4 stars image

VERDICT

At the outset I had no idea how this contest would go between mostly similar quality cars. That makes the purchase decision very subjective. What a pleasant dilemma for you.
 

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 8 comments

  • I have a 2013 SRiV which I got new in July, now at 5500K and averaging 7.5 per 100k handles like a dream, quick enough to satisfy any except maybe a boy racer, and doesn’t seem to differ whether I or 4 persons in the car ——what’s not to like???

    Les Prescott Posted on 09 October 2013 2:25pm
  • I took a MY14 SRI V and a Demo MY13 SRI V for a test on the weekend and both my wife and I where very impressed at how much better the MY14 Cruze drove. Way more power, plus it felt very shore footed. So in short we will be shelling out the extra cash and we will go with the MY14 SRI V, the dealers are willing to move with the pricing and we feel it is great value for money plus it is good for local economy.

    Mick Tissa of Adelaide Posted on 19 August 2013 1:51am
  • I paid $35,050 for my 2012 Holden Cruze SRl-V Auto 1.4L Petrol, Turbo Hatch) in Feb 2012 and it has given me so much problems with Brake Fluid leakages and seeping of break fluid from the ABS modulator making it too dangerous to drive and having to be worked on. I have no confidence in my car…......

    Bernice Jardine of Berwick Vic Posted on 14 May 2013 9:14pm
  • as an owner of a cruze, I have been less than impressed, to me its a dangeraous car that should never have been sold. The blind spot generated from the A pillar makes the chance of hitting pedestrians or vehicles from that area high.
    After 45K kms there are numerous rattles
    The diesel has turbo lag that is also dangerous at roundabouts.

    plough of New Zealand Posted on 27 April 2013 2:59pm
  • Good point…seemings how the Cruze has a five star ANCAP safety rating?!

    Whatever Posted on 12 April 2013 8:32am
  • how come the cruze got only 4 stars for safety and ford five stars?

    pat gently of gold coast Posted on 11 April 2013 1:19am
  • Nick, this is the new MY14 Cruze with a brand new, locally engineered suspension set-up. Everyone is raving about how it has transformed the driving experience. It’s also a turbo engine in the Cruze against a naturally-aspirated Ford, so it is going to be noticeably faster, too. To top it off, the Cruze is three grand cheaper.

    MotorMouth of Sydney Posted on 31 March 2013 7:59am
  • Tell me more about how good the Cruze’s “driving experience” is so much more wholesome, and therefore rates higher than the Focus?

    Poor review.

    Nick Posted on 21 March 2013 6:56pm
Read all 8 comments

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