Chevrolet Cruze (2015) First Drive

Cruze Hatch 1 1800x1800

The Chevrolet Cruze is General Motors' answer to the mighty Toyota Corolla and in certain respects, the outgoing Cruze could just about match the popular Japanese model.

For 2015, the Chevrolet Cruze has received some updates which should see it take the fight more effectively to the lower end of the sedan market. If the Chevrolet marketing hype is anything to go by, they really believe their car is a winner. So what's new for 2015? For detailed specifications about the new Chevrolet Cruze LS, click here.

Engines

The engine range is down to just two options. There's a 1.4-litre turbo petrol and a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated unit to choose from. Both engines are four cylinder units and it's interesting to see that the impressive 2.0-litre turbodiesel has been dropped. Is Toyota's 1.4D Corolla that good that it's just not worth trying to take it on? In actual fact it's just a case of sales trends - diesel engine sedans in this segment just don't sell in big enough numbers. Perhaps the most important news is the arrival of a six-speed automatic gearbox for the 1.4-turbo.

Interior and Exterior Changes

The interior gains some upgrades in the form of the MyLink infotainment system, which gets the thumbs up from me as it's an intuitive system. On the outside there are a number of changes to be found. The main standouts are the daytime running lights at the front and the substantially revised rear tail lamps. There are also revised designs for the 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The Drive

Chevrolet's launch route combined the bustling streets of Paarl and the open roads of the Winelands. In both cases, the Chevrolet Cruze proved a comfortable cruiser. I had chosen a 1.4-litre turbo hatchback to start off with and ended with a 1.4-litre turbo sedan auto. The automatic doesn't like to be driven briskly and is much better suited to a more relaxed style of drive. The manual hatchback's gearshift action felt improved too.

However, to compete in this segment the Cruze doesn't have to offer a thrilling driving experience. It has to be supremely comfortable, and in this department it does well. Road noise only becomes present at higher speeds and on rougher stretches of tarmac, but on the whole, refinement is good. Throw in a decently sized boot and you've got a good, solid family offering here. It may not be the fastest, or flashiest sedan around, but it looks like the Chevrolet Cruze is one very competent customer. I look forward to putting it head to head against its nemesis from Japan.

Chevrolet Cruze Price in SA

Price is correct as of 23/04/2015.

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan 1.6 L                                        R230 400 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 1.6 LS                                      R248 300 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan 1.6 LS                                     R247 200 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 1.4T LS                                    R265 200 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan 1.4T LS                                   R262 500 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan 1.4T LS Automatic                R272 400

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