No need to get too excited. These are not new models but in fact models that replace existing ones in the current Cruze lineup, albeit with some extra kit.
The Holden Cruze Z-Series and SRi Z-Series come in as replacements for the CDX and SRi-V models.
But note the first is available only as a sedan while the sporty SRi-Z comes as both a sedan and hatch - there is no Z-Series wagon.
The Z-Series sedan is priced from $21,990 for the manual or $24,190 for the auto, while the SRi-Z will set you back $26,490 for the manual or $28,690 for the auto.
There is also a Z-Series diesel priced from $28,190 and available only as an automatic sedan.
Standard features include the MyLink infotainment system, 7-inch colour touchscreen, Voice Recognition with Siri, leather-appointed seats, push button start plus a reverse camera and parking sensors.
It also gets unique 17-inch alloys (dark finish on the wheels), a rear lip spoiler, floor mats, sill plates and exterior “Z-Series” badge.
The SRi-Z adds satellite navigation, sports body kit and sports suspension, with unique 18-inch alloys (dark finish on the wheels), sports spoiler on hatch models, alloy pedal covers, “Z-Series” floor mats, sill plates and exterior “Z-Series” badge.
The Cruze which has on occasion outsold the Commodore but now well and truly trails the larger car. With 9407 sales so far this year compared to Commodore’s 16,355, it is remarkable what a positive effect a new model can have on your fortunes.
Commodore sales were 10,301 this time last year.
But smaller cars like the Cruze are the way of the future and the Cruze will eventually prevail, especially since Holden is planning to kill off Commodore with the close of local production in 2017.
ENGINE / TRANMSISSION
The Z Series gets a 1.8 litre petrol engine while the top of the line SRi-Z hatch is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that delivers 132kW of power and 230Nm of torque. It is paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, but our test car was the manual.
The Cruze qualifies for Holden’s fixed price servicing which is $185 for the first four visits with the petrol model ($335 for the diesel).
Five stars for safety, with six airbags, electronic traction and stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist plus the the added safety of a reverse camera.
Not bad. We had some initial problems with the late take up clutch in our manual but once we got the hang of it all was good.
The SRi benefits from a more sophisticated Watts link rear suspension setup and the ride and handling are exemplary.
Leather upholstery is standard in this model and extends to heated front seats, just the thing for those cold winter mornings.
With fuel consumption rated at 7.4L/100km we were getting 9.1 after close to 600km and it takes premium unleaded (more than expected).
The satnav system includes the current speed limit but there are no warnings for school zones or speed cameras.
The MyLink system offers extra features like Stitcher and Pandora internet radio, but requires a mobile phone plan with a reasonable data limit to function. A temporary spare is provided in case of a flat tyre.