What is it?
The Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon is an estate that completes the C-segment car’s UK line-up, sitting alongside the existing saloon and hatch variants.
The Cruze SW jumps into one of the most hotly contested market sectors, headed by the likes of the Ford Focus Estate and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer.
With 12 per cent of C-segment sales being mopped up by estates, Chevrolet hopes this new offering will appeal to both the private and fleet markets.
Five Cruze SW variants will reach showrooms in the autumn, with three trim levels and three engine choices available.
The entry-level £15,375 LS comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, air-con, follow-me-home headlights, heated and adjustable door mirrors, front electric windows, roof rails, rear and boot power sockets, cargo restraint hooks, remote central door locking, electronic boot release, ESC and traction control.
Mid-level LT trim adds cruise control, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors, front fog lamps, 16-inch alloys and a leather steering wheel and gear knob. It will retail for £16,475 with the 1.6-litre, £18,075 with a 1.8-litre and automatic transmission, and £18,925 with a 1.7-litre diesel that produces 119g/km of C02.
For £19,785, the top-of-the-range LTZ NAV gets sat-nav, Bluetooth, 17-inch alloys, electronic climate control, rear parking sensors and a rear view camera, and a seven-inch colour display screen. It is only available with the 1.7-litre diesel and a six-speed manual gearbox.
Two other engines exist — a 1.4-litre petrol turbo and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel — but there are currently no plans to offer them in Britain.
What is it like?
The Cruze SW certainly looks the part, and is arguably the most attractive of the Chevrolet’s three body styles.
Boasting a maximum of 1478 litres of load space with the rear seats folded flat (it carries 500 litres to the rear window line with the bench up) the Cruze’s boot lacks a few litres compared to some rivals, although it is perfectly within class standards. By comparison, the Focus has 1502 litres of boot space, the Astra 1550.
The rear seats have a standard 60:40 split and there is plenty of space and height for passengers in the back.
There are some clever practical touches in the boot, such as three storage trays between the rear seatbacks and the cassette that houses the luggage compartment cover, as well as extra cubbyholes behind the rear wheel arches, either side of the main load bay.
We sampled a 1.7-litre diesel in top-spec LTZ NAV trim and equipped with the six-speed manual ‘box.
Performance is average, although it is unlikely that potential buyers will be putting rapid acceleration at the top of their priority list.
The 1.7 VCDi is the only oil-burner in this car’s UK line-up, but it possesses sufficient torque and flexibility to cope with all driving environments from town centres to motorway cruising.
In this configuration, the Cruze SW, which weighs about 45kg more than the hatchback, is one second slower from 0-62mph than its sibling, taking a claimed 10.4sec.
The car rides quite softly and when not laden with a family and luggage there’s noticeable body roll during medium-speed cornering. The steering feels light, but lacks definition and feedback.
As we’ve come to expect from Chevrolet, equipment levels are generous across the trim levels, and the rear view camera and parking sensors on the LTZ NAV variant will undoubtedly come in handy when the boot is crammed with luggage.
However, the cabin does feature some cheap, hard plastics that detract from the overall ambience. Still, it feels up to the task of resisting the wear and tear of everyday family use.
Should I buy one?
The Cruze SW’s keen pricing and competitive kit levels compared to its class rivals make it worth consideration. Fitted with this 1.7 diesel engine, it’s our pick of the UK range.
Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon 1.7VCDi LTZ NAV
Price: £19,785 Top speed: 124mph 0-62mph: 10.4secs Economy: 63mpg CO2: 119g/km Kerb weight: 1475kg Engine: 4cyls, 1686cc Power: 128bhp @ 4000rpm Torque: 221lb ft @ 2000-2500rpm Gearbox: 6-spd manual