While a number of judges liked the Adelaide-built hatch, it still fell short of a podium finish.
The Port Melbourne designed hatch version of the popular sedan found favour for its balance between ride and handling, the result of local engineering prowess in the black art of suspension tuning.
Taken in isolation the front and rear styling were not derided by the judges but as a package there was a lack of cohesion to the exterior, according to the bench of judges.
Inside, the Cruze was lauded for a decent dash layout - although the cloth trim cover was questioned for it's ability to last and remain clean - and deemed less fussy than the Focus.
The little Holden was deemed to have good interior space for four adults, but full-grown folk should leave the fifth seatbelt unused.
The little Holden was criticised for a number of things, including its smooth little Austrian-built turbo petrol engine getting thirsty when asked to work hard, its steering was declared lifeless and its Korean-sourced six-speed automatic was indecisive and slow to change.
Holden Cruze CD 1.4 hatch
Price: $24,990 (as tested)
Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged DOHC 16-valve (variable) 103kW/200Nm four-cylinder.
Transmission: six-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Thirst: 6.9l/100km (ADR claimed).