The Holden Cruze Sportwagon was added to the Cruze line up in 2012 and is the only member of the Cruze family that is not made in Australia.
Offering more space then both its sedan and hatch siblings the Sportwagon on paper shapes up to be quite a useful car for families and small businesses alike that need a car with some rear storage space but either don’t want to or don’t need to go the SUV route.
The Cruze Sportwagon comes in just 2 models the CD with your choice of 1.8L petrol or 2.0L diesel engines and the CDX the only engine choice being the 1.8L petrol engine. Seeing that I’m a fan of diesel engines I chose to review the CD Sportwagon powered by the 2.0L turbo diesel.
I have liked the look of the Cruze since it was released and the sportwagon is no exception I find the long roof line of the really suits the front end and i like the look of the tail gate, when some wagons can look a little ungainly i think they have got to look right for the Cruze.
Being the base model CD it rides on 16inch steel wheels with plastic wheel mounted on Solus tyres, which really look plain and boring to me.
Being the only Cruze not made in Australia it hasn’t benefited from the same upgrades the sedan and hatch has no new Holden Mylink system so the wagon has to make do with same dash setup of the previous sedan and hatch model. Not saying that’s a bad thing as the audio system does come with Bluetooth voice recognition, USB and auxiliary input so you can connect your iwhatever up to it with 6 speakers it does good sound as level specially for a base model system. The steering wheel is covered in plastic and lacks the feel the leather bound wheel in other models has. What the steering wheel does have is controls mounted to control the audio system and phone so no taking your hands off the wheel to adjust the audio or answer the phone.
The instrument panel is same set up as other Cruzes and is lit in the same blue light that I really like and is very easy on the eye’s at night, the information screen in between is very basic though and only offers you fuel consumption reading, distance to empty and instant fuel consumption readings but no digital speedo which I found a pain at times specially on the freeway as sometimes the steering wheel got in the way of seeing the 100 km/h mark, This could be the seating position I was in but never really had an issue with any other Cruzes I’ve driven but all of those did have a digital speedo. On the subject of seating position the steering column has height and reach adjustment so it does make it easy to find a decent sitting position.
On the inside the has jet black cloth seats which are somewhat comfortable but strangely found them a little snug across the seat back which I hadn’t expected with other Cruzes, the jet black cloth wraps around the door trims and a strip across the dash. The rear seats offers good comfort and plenty of leg room even with 3 people in it being a wagon the longer roof line also gives you a fraction more headroom the sedan or hatch does.
The back offers a good amount of space in fact 686 litres of space with the rear seats upright which increases to 1478 litres with the rear seats folded down it also comes with a cargo blind in case you don’t want prying eyes to see what your carrying.
Under the bonnet the 2.0L diesel is a cracker of an engine developing 120 kw @ 3800 rpm and a whopping 360 nm of torque at only 2000 rpm the diesel is meant for work even with the car full of people and cargo area full as well it never missed a beat at all, point this car at hill and it keeps on going and going. Developing the torque down low means it can be a spritely performer off the mark but put your foot down while you’ve got some rev’s on board it really wants to take off. On the freeway it idles a long in 6th at around 1700 rpm so it has plenty of reserve for overtaking if needed.
AS you would expect the diesel can be rather frugal specially on the freeway where I regularly saw the fuel economy read out hovering in the 4’sL/100km. Around the city it’s not bas as well really wanted to see how good it was on fuel over the week so driving it with economy in mind most of the time it used around 8.1L/100km not bad at all surely somebody more apt to driving for economy would get better figures but i found that 360 nm torque somewhat hard to resist every now and again.
The 6 spd auto transmission is geared perfectly to the diesel engine, the shifts were smooth and never had an issue with it all.
The Cruze Sportwagon rides good on the road, however on broken surfaces it can feel a little bumpy there is some body roll in some corners also the turn in is not as sharp as other Cruzes I’ve driven specially the latest MY14 models.
The steering is light which makes it a very easy car to the park even tight parking didn’t pose much of a challenge at all.
Safety wise as you would expect from a Holden, the Cruze Sportwagon is 5 Star NCAP rated and features a long list of safety measures including ABS, ESP, EBP, etc. etc. it also comes standard with rear parking sensors but loses some points for not having a rear view camera.
So after a week I found the Cruze Sportwagon to be not a bad car at all the ride is reasonable the diesel engine offers a good amount of power and excellent economy, there is a good amount of space and room.
While it won’t set the world on fire with its speed and agility it does make up for it with the practicality and added load carrying capability the sportwagon offers over its sedan and hatch brothers and sisters.
The only problem I see with the Cruze Sportwagon is that it could be a victim of its own circumstance. Being the only Cruze not locally built it is on a different build cycle to the Australian made Cruzes so the Sportswagon’s have not benefitted from the latest update the local.
This car would be perfectly suited for a small business or sales rep that needs a car with decent load carrying ability and fuel economy but doesn’t need a bigger car.
The other prohibitive thing could be the price the CD Diesel sportwagon is $29790 or $4000 more than the petrol version or slightly more expensive then the petrol powered CDX model.
Pros: Diesel engine is a cracker, plenty of storage space and room, good economy
Cons: Price (diesel option costs $4000), dynamics and tech level not on par with the Australian built Cruzes.