We tested the Holden Cruze sedan last year and whilst it is a very good car I have to be honest I wasn’t totally sold on it. For some strange reason with the hatch I feel a little more attached. I have learnt to get used to the 1.4iTi engines slight lag although this tends to be a tad annoying when negotiating round-a-bouts, half way around you’ll tap the accelerator for a wee bit more oomph and not a lot happens, then the turbo kicks in with a bit more power than you want or expect. With most drivers this won’t be an issue and the lag will be almost unnoticeable, I for one could easily learn to live with it. Other than that it is a very good and enjoyable little power plant and economical to boot with an average of 6.4 litres of fossil fuel consumed per 100kms.
It would appear, as most women would say, colour matters when it comes to cars. The aforementioned sedan wasn’t really my thing with its splashing’s of blue cloth highlights throughout the cabin whereas this Phantom Black example has very subtle Jet Black cloth inserts which is much more me. There are still the usual cheap feeling hard plastics around the interior but it has to be said GM seem to be improving in this department and the Cruzes’ workspace is a nice place to be, helped by the comfortable seats and easy to reach and use controls. The Cruze range now has Bluetooth as standard but for the life of me I could not figure out how to get it to work on the test Cruze Sri Hatch, can’t blame Holden for that, could have been my phone, or perhaps just me?
Boot space is slightly smaller than the sedan but being a hatch makes it more useable and accessible with the larger opening. Fold the seats down and you have more than enough space for a couple dozen boxes of nappies, golf balls, hair product or whatever your lifestyle requires you to lug around.
Pushing the 103kW turbo engine hard through some twisty back roads using the manual sports shift can get a huge smile on your dial, but beware, the electronic wizardry will keep you from unintentionally going off road but push it a little too far and you could end up with a nice tree as a hood ornament when it under-steers into the undergrowth. Under-steer isn’t all that bad, in fact no person in their right mind would push that hard, but I’m not in my right mind. Cornering hard and enjoying the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) keeping the car on a tidy line around the bend made me want to see how far it could go, so I pushed a little harder than a normal human ever will only to be surprised with a huge lump of under-steer that had my heart ceasing to beat momentarily. Drive a little more sedately on a ‘B’ road and you can have a hell of a lot of fun with the Cruze hatch. Should anything go wrong if you do try to push further and run out of talent you’d be pleased to know you are protected by six airbags, a super strong unibody construction incorporating full-length frame rails and a passenger safety cell all welded as one giving the Cruze a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Overall the Holden Cruze SRi hatch is very capable all-round car and, in my opinion a much nicer looking car than the Sedan. At $37,900 it is at the pricier end of its class, but would the others be as fun to drive as the Cruze 1.4iTi? I doubt it!