The Chevrolet Cruze has been conceived to provide conventionally engineered, contemporary family transport at a relatively keen price, and up to a point it delivers. Its chief drawback, as a petrol car, is an engine that’s sub-standard in its performance, refinement and willingness. The diesel is a much better bet, improving refinement, willingness and economy – although its 50.3mpg claimed average is no more than reasonable in this day and age.

This Chevrolet certainly isn’t a thrill to drive, either, but it’s capable, comfortable and civilised enough to make a decent motorway car. Cruising is what the Cruze does best, especially with the more relaxed diesel motor under the bonnet.

The competent, practical Chevy lacks charisma in this stella class of car

The cabin is attractive and spacious, too – more so than many of the Cruze’s mainstream rivals. On the whole it comes reasonably well equipped, and there are plenty of thoughtful touches that make the car easy to live with. Quality is okay, heightened by the use of cloth inserts across the dash and doors, although they may get grubby after time.

The Chevy also scores with the strength of its structure and contemporary styling that’s vastly more appealing than its predecessor’s. Quality is much improved as well.

However, the Cruze's ultimate success is blunted by the fact that, at best, it is no better than rivals from Skoda, Hyundai and Kia. The Skoda Octavia remains a strong choice in terms of space and quality, with strong offers making it great value.

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Meanwhile, the ever-improving Korean brands are gaining in all areas, providing a strong challenge to Ford and Vauxhall.

It’s a tough ask for the Cruze, but it’s not without merits, especially in hatchback, diesel form. The estate is arguably even more relevant in a competitive class, and is our pick of the UK range.