There was a time when you could look inside any self respecting American Rockstar’s garage and see at least one car made by Chevrolet.
Such was their popularity in the 70’s and 80’s, Corvettes were often handed out by record companies (along with super model girlfriends), to anyone with cowboy boots, long hair and a guitar.
Of course Chevrolet do still sell Rockstar Cars, (have a look at their latest Corvette C6 Convertible, a snip at £71,049 ) but over the last few years Chevrolet have also been forging a small, but expanding niche into the UK ‘family’ car market.
Looks and Interior
The new Chevrolet Cruze 5-door Hatchback LTZ 1.8i is a more sensible and grown up car than some of it’s more expensive relations, and while it’s unlikely to turn too many heads ‘cruising’ on Sunset Blvd, it offers a good balance between space, practicality and style for those with a more modest budget.
The new hatchback version of the Cruze we tested has a great new rear end and there are some inevitable similarities shape wise with the Vauxhall Astra with both cars sharing many of the same parts. Interestingly despite it’s fairly high spec the Cruze is significantly cheaper than the Astra.
I’m quite fond of the big front radiator grille and yellow cross at the front too, and these are probably the only throwbacks the Cruze has to it’s larger than life gas guzzling American ancestors.
I was pleasantly surprised at the hi-spec finish to the interior and the Cruze puts most other manufacturers to shame in regards of features for the price. All models have air con, electric windows and stereo with aux-in socket as standard, and the drivers ‘cockpit’ area is a comfortable place to be.
Chevrolet say the spec for the price is comparable with their competitors next model up. It feels durable too and the sort of thing that will take the odd knock and bump without looking shabby in 6 months time. Everything is within perfect reach of the driver and the interfaces are intuitively designed. The padded armrests are also a small but welcome touch to the overall driving experience.
The seats can be positioned very low so it’s easy to get an optimum driving position, whether you are 5ft 2, or like me over 6ft. There is plenty of space for passengers, and this is a proper family car. Five ‘grown ups’ can travel in relative comfort, and the larger than average boot means they could also take a bag with them too.
Pleasingly, despite its large interior space, it doesn’t feel like you are driving a big car, thanks to a short bonnet and an excellent driving position you quickly become aware of its dimensions on the road. The 5-speed gearbox is solid, while the steering was lighter than I expected, great around town but something to watch on the motorway at higher speeds.
The 1.8 injection engine can produce a top speed of 124mph (127 in the 2.0litre diesel), while 0-62mph(100km) takes 10.1 seconds (the Diesel a much brisker 8.5 seconds). The suspension is very smooth and the ride is comfortable and quiet.[nggallery id=77]
Safety / Performance
It’s a shame, but the Cruze is not the ‘greenest’ car in the world. Emissions are 155 CO2g/km, (and 147 for the diesel). This means the car is in Emmission Class Euro V, and with many comparable cars around the 120-130 mark, this could be an issue for some buyers.
Fuel consumption was a reasonable but not breathtaking 54.3 mpg for extra-urban use, (or 31.7mpg for urban and combined figure of 42.8mpg).
The saloon version of this car performed excellently in safety tests and was awarded the maximum 5 stars from Euro NCAP, when the results come through for the Hatchback, it to is also expected to come out with top marks.
Front and side airbags and collapsing pedals are among the many safety features fitted as standard, and it’s a car you feel safe inside too, one consideration that cannot be underestimated.
Chevrolet offer a five year warranty with every new car, so while its not perfect (the handling can be an acquired taste and it is slightly let down by its fuel consumption and emissions),from £14,895.00 it is competitively priced, and there is an awful lot to like about the Chevrolet Cruze.
For me, (at least at the moment), its most attractive feature is it’s still a relatively uncommon sight on the road, and for a family man like me, being slightly different to everyone else is as about as near to being a rock star as I can get these days.
The car we tested was a Chvrolet Cruze Hatchback LTZ 1.8i from £16,095.00
more info visit the Chevrolet website HERE