The golden bowtie flies again, we might say, after having spent a week behind the wheel of a very well balanced and impressive sedan with excellent road manners, a willing an frugal engine and good looks: the Chevrolet Cruze LS, which we drove in the 2 liter Diesel version.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Indeed, this car can wear the Chevrolet marque sign, the golden bowtie, with pride. On first approach, the car looks (very) good for a 4 door sedan, and this from every angle. The people from the Korean based design center, with input from their colleagues in Germany, put together a very pleasing package, where some of the better European designs were taken as an inspiration, but then who would blame them. The clean looks also warrant an excellent drag co-efficient of a mere 0.31. The good well balanced design is also found in the dashboard and interior, with a grained soft touch material used on the dashboard.
We liked the shape and positioning of the large round dials, and the accent lines throughout and the styling of the centre console. Reminds indeed of the “twin cockpit” layout of the famous Corvette, and this is a (very) good thing. The seat upholstery looked a bit spartan, but the seats were nevertheless very comfortable and provided very good support. The Cruze also offers ample head- and legroom in the rear, and this is not always the rule in its class.
New delta platform offers excellent road manners
The all-new GM Delta platform, also used in the new Astra, makes the Cruze handle like a European thoroughbred sedan, with excellent stability and precision in curves, offering also unerring straight line stability even in the windiest conditions. The platform makes you want to drive the Cruze with verve in any situation, and the excellent driving position certainly makes this positive picture complete.
The 2 liter common rail diesel engine offers excellent pulling power, runs reasonably smooth and is quite frugal. It took us no effort to stay below the 6 litre / 100 km mark, even with spirited driving throughout the test.
The 5 speed gearbox changes smoothly, but the throw of the lever is somewhat large, so this is no box for lightning fast changes. No harm done, as the ample torque of the Diesel (320 Nm at 2000 rpm) never leaves you begging for power, and makes for relaxed driving. The Cruze also cruises impressively well on fast motorways, and the car really feels in its element here. All-out performance of this Diesel is impressive. It will pull from 0 to 100 in a mere 10 seconds, thanks to the wide gear spacing, and clock a top speed of not less than 210 km/h.
What we also liked very much on the Cruze is its practical, intuitive, self-explaining layout and use of all its functions.
Last but not least the audio and media functions of the sound system, with excellent radio reception and self explaining media(I-pod) connections were a delight to use.
It is really easy and pleasant to live with the Cruze, and, judging from the showroom prices, the Chevrolet Cruze is also easy on your budget. So if your are looking for a well-built good looking sedan with very good European road manners, put on you (golden) bowtie and slide behind the wheel to try this one out too…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Cruze can wear the golden bowtie with pride
The dashboard is finished well with a grained upholstery