Last year I review the CDX diesel Holden Cruze and came away hugely impressed specially with the torque of the diesel engine, so when I recently picked up the keys to a My13 Cruze SRi-V I was keen to see whether the 1.4L turbo petrol powered version would leave as big of impression as it’s diesel stable mate did.
Now I’ve liked the looks of the Cruze since it was released so there was going to be no complaints as far as how good looks on the outside, but the body kit on the SRi-V really makes it look better. An aggressive looking front end, rear spoiler, rear bar including a diffuser and a chrome exhaust, nice alloy wheels, the SRI-V hatch is really a nice looking car on the outside without going over the top.
The Heron white colour really does suit the lines of the hatch, specially in the SRi-V guise with the slightly lowered stance 17 inch alloy wheels and body kit.
Under the bonnet the SRI-V is powered by Holden’s 1.4L turbo petrol engine developing 104kw and 230nm while it’s not blessed with an abundance of power it does develop it’s torque low down in the rev range which does goes some of the way to make up for the lack of power.
Having reviewed the CDX Diesel Cruze last year I was a little bit unsure on how well I would like the 1.4L given that it down on power and torque to the 2.0L diesel.
My first impression however was it’s a rather peppy engine that wasn’t afraid to rev, the low down torque helps it get off the line reasonably snappy. I found the engine very tractable and smooth and very easy to deal with around in the stop start traffic of the city.
On the highway the 1.4L still continued to impress me a little, it’s not going blessed with blistering acceleration but it will get to the double ton in respectable time and effortlessly sit on the speed limit.
Only on big inclines did the lack of power really intrude but it only meant changing back a couple of gears to keep the momentum up so it wasn’t really a massive issue I think it needs more power to make more user friendly.
Fuel economy was a mixed bag for me in heavy traffic where I was constantly stopping and going and sometimes sitting there going nowhere the figures rise to just under 10L/100 but as I started moving along it did start to come down a bit. On the freeway it was good averaging around 5L/100km so it can be rather frugal, I think it just struggles in traffic like most cars do from the constant accelerating and stopping that and the fact at times my right foot suffers from concreteitis (or heavy right foot).
I will also add it was hot that week so I spent most of the time with the climate aircon temp set on low, with the air con at idle the instant fuel readout read 1.2L/100km but turning it off saw that fall to 0.7L/100km so that’s a half a litre drop at idle so on days when the aircon wasn’t needed should see an improvement in the fuel economy.
The transmission was well suited to the engine and geared perfectly when left in D it picked the right gear for the situation just about all the time.
The gear changes weren’t that smooth in the fact I could feel every shift but they weren’t very hash either it was just enough to let me know it had changed gear.
Put it into sport shift and the transmission was unreal indeed, there was no hesitation as it picked every gear I asked it too when I asked it. It held each gear perfectly giving me complete control and allowing me to keep it right in the engines sweet spot and making my drive more entertaining.
The suspension was the big story of the SRI-V for me, I thought the CDX handled great last year but the SRi-V benefits from having a watts link rear suspension and that just makes the SRi-V that much better.
The ride is a little stiff without being overly stiff meaning you feel some of the bumps on the road, but if that is the trade off I have to make for the handling then I gladly would, this little car handled really damn good indeed.
Whether it was slow twisty corners or flowing bends the Cruze did everything I asked it to do and asked for more.
The steering is a little light due to the electric power steering, but it is very reactive took me a little bit to get use to specially at low speed as this car goes where you point it every time. The quickness of the steering does combine well with the suspension to help make it damn agile indeed.
To say I was a little bit impressed with the way it handled after driving it around my test loop for several hours would be an understatement in the hands of a decent driver I think this car would surprise a few more expensive cars on a twisty section.
Opening the door and I am greeted by the familiar looking interior, slide in behind the wheel and the memories of the Cruze review last year come back. That is until my eye’s landed on the centre stack which was the one thing I didn’t like about the CDX all I can think of is wow.
Instead of the boring centre stack display the CDX had, the centre stack on the Sri-V is dominated by a 7 inch colour touch screen. The system reminds me of the one in the Opel Insignia I reviewed recently and while you have to operate some of it by a dial most of the functions I needed to use including the Sat Nav worked via touch screen which I liked.
The stereo puts out great sound I have been really impressed with the improvement Holden has made in the last few years with their audio systems.
The leather bound steering wheel has a nice feel to it and has buttons and easy to use scroll wheels to operate various functions so you don’t really have to take your hands off the wheel that many times.
The Sri-V also has a voice recognition which means once your phone is blue toothed in you can leave in the console and answer and make calls without taking your hands off the wheel, which i thought worked extremely well.
I like the dash setup on the Holden Cruze and the instruments are bathed in ice blue lighting at night and the screen in between the dials contains a digital speedo and other settings including an instantaneous fuel read out which can be accessed by the stalk.
The leather seats are comfortable and offer decent support in corners, the seats also contain heat pads in the seat back and cushion so it means no more cold backside in winter.
The spacious interior has heaps of room and a decent amount of leg room in the back, as you would expect being a hatch there is a heap of storage room in the back which only grows when you fold down the back seat.
I love the keyless entry and start but did have a big dumbass moment when I first got in and spent a couple of minutes looking for the keyhole until I remembered you only have to push the button to start it.
The Keyless entry lets you open the door just by pressing a button on the door handle as long as you have the remote within a 1 metre of the car. The start button is a little inconspicuous and until you know where it is you have look around the steering wheel to find it but after a day or two I found it easy to just hit the button without looking. The system is setup so the car will not start unless you put your foot on the brake.
Which means no more fumbling for keys to open the boot and doors when you have your arms full or it’s raining and you want to make a quick entry.
Safety the Sri-V has various electrical functions like ABS, ESC, EBD as well as 6 airbags means the SRi-V like all other Cruzes gets a 5 star safety rating.
The SRi-V has rear park assist and you would be happy to know there are no complaints as far as being able to hear finally somebody has turned up the beeps, so that now makes 2 GM vehicles I’ve driven with a decent sounding system. It does loose some points for not having a rear view camera which I think it should have although it is very easy to park specially with the rear sensors but the rake of the rear window does affect rear vision slightly.
Ok so now I’ve spent a week in the SRi-V Cruze what do I think?, well it’s damn fine little car, superb handling, Agile responsive a generous amount of tech, great fuel economy, plenty of space on the inside and comfortable seats.
What more could you ask for well the only thing I really wanted more of apart from another week behind the wheel is more power I think more power would change this car from a decent car to exceptional.
Note: As I go to press Holden have announced details of the My14 Cruze which goes on sale in April and it seems my prayers have been answered the SRi and SRi-V now gets more power.
But if you don’t have to have the latest model and are looking for a great deal they are great deals to be had on run out model Cruzes.
For more details on Holden’s Cruze range please visit their website www.Holden.com.au.