WHEEL WOMAN REVIEW: Chevrolet Cruze 1.4T LS
I am not a fan of Chevrolet’s gold bow tie. Bow tie, yes: it’s been around since 1913, having been inspired either by a Parisian wallpaper design or an advert in an Arkansas newspaper, among other theories.
Gold, no. The emblem only went gold across the Chevy range a decade ago. And big. Bad combo. To me it detracts from the otherwise good looks of these GM cars.
That may be a girly thing to say, but there it is.
Happily, the rest of the Chev Cruze 1.4 turbo hatch I drove was very impressive indeed.
The engine, particularly so. Surprisingly so.
The Cruze range has done battle in Corolla ter
ritory locally since 2009, and acquits itself rather well, according to the sales figures, but the petrol models have never been a wow in the performance stakes.
The normally-aspirated 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines get the job done but without much flourish, while the two-litre turbodiesel is typically a lot gutsier.
But the new star engine of the Cruze line-up is the 1.4 turbo. Add it to the beautifully styled hatch body – introduced to SA in 2012 – and you’ve got a winning combo.
The four-cylinder engine puts out 103kW and 200Nm, both available across a wide rev range, which makes for a very engaging ride indeed, helped by a well mated, silky smooth six-speed manual gearbox.
The appeal of power is not just a fast and furious adrenalin rush; it’s about being able to overtake on freeways safely and with confidence, or accelerate out of trouble sharpish, when you have to.
And another appeal of the Cruze’s peppy little engine is that it uses relatively little fuel. Chevrolet claims a combined average consumption of just 5.8 litres/100km. As always, that figure is not attainable by humans on real roads – it’s merely a standard, simulated measure with which to compare consumptions of competing cars.
Cruise control comes standard, as does the six-speaker sound system – CD, MP3, USB, Bluetooth connectivity, the works. Also standard is remote central locking, trip computer, and aircon.
Options include a sliding glass sunroof (R6 500), leather interior (R9 600), beep-beep parking sensors at the back (R3 000) and 17-inch rims. (16-inch are standard.)
The Cruze ticks a lot of safety boxes – all round airbags in the top spec LS model, electronic stability control, traction control, and the latest, greatest braking system – and boasts a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The cabin is very roomy, as is the load area in the back – it swallowed the teens’ school and extra-mural paraphernalia with ease.
Price? R242 100 for the 1.4 hatch, and R244 700 for the sedan – slightly more than the respective 1.6 non-turbo models.
It’s a great package which deserves to sell well. Great big gold badge and all. -Star Motoring
Chevrolet Cruze hatch 1.4T LS
Engine: 4-cyl, 1.4-litre turbopetrol
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Power: 103kW @ 4900 - 6000rpm
Torque: 200Nm @ 1850 - 4900rpm
0-100km/h (claimed): 9.3 seconds
Top speed (claimed): 195km/h
Consumption (claimed): 5.8 l/100km
Price: R242 100
Warranty: 5-year/120 000km
Service plan: 3-year/60 000km
Ford Focus 5dr 1.6 Trend (92kW/159Nm) - R254 800
Hyundai i30 1.6 Premium (95kW/157Nm) - R254 900
Kia Cerato hatch 1.6 EX (95kW/157Nm) - R233 995
Opel Astra 1.4T Essentia (103kW/200Nm) - R254 700
Toyota Auris 1.6 XS (97kW/160Nm) - R239 400
VW Golf 1.4 TSI Trendline (90kW/200Nm) - R266 300