From £14,220
Wholly underpowered, noisy and thirsty entry-level Cruze is worth overlooking

Our Verdict

Chevrolet Cruze

The Chevrolet Cruze raises the bar for Chevrolet, but not for rivals including Skoda, Hyundai or Kia

10 September 2011
Chevrolet Cruze 1.6 LS

What is it?

The more family-friendly hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze has been with us for a couple of months and we’ve already driven the accomplished 2.0-litre diesel variant.

This time, we’re behind the wheel of the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol LS model, prices of which start from £13,995 – some £3000 less than a similarly specced Vauxhall Astra.

What’s it like?

Inside, the dashboard is uncluttered and there’s enough leg and headroom front and back for four tall adults, but under closer scrutiny you’ll see why Chevrolet dares to undercut its rivals so boldly. The seats are overly firm and uncomfortable on long journeys and the interior plastics are tacky.

Start the 1.6-litre engine up and the car’s sound-deadening – or lack thereof – is apparent. Pull away and you’ll find yourself reaching for the controls to the wonderfully bassy radio to drown out the motor’s drone.

Take to the motorway, and noise levels become irritating, not helped by the Cruze’s lack of a sixth forward gear.

Getting up to motorway speeds also brings new challenges. The engine’s 113lb ft torque figure does little to coax the car’s 1305kg kerb weight up to speed. And worryingly – with our test car at least – power delivery is inconsistent and often hesitant under hard acceleration.

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The rate at which the engine consumes petrol is also disappointing. Over a test distance of 1000 miles and six days, we clocked 34.5mpg. Considering around 800 miles were driven on motorways, that figure is some way short of the claimed 42.8mpg mark on a combined cycle. Again, with just five forward gears, the engine has to work harder at 80mph, revving to almost 4000rpm.

Through twisty Devon B roads the entry-level Cruze pitches through corners unceremoniously, not helped by the lack of twist to pull the car out of the bends. Steering, too, lacks feel and is too light to inspire driver confidence.

Around town, over potholes and speed bumps, the Cruze’s suspension isn’t up to scratch, producing an overly firm, sometimes crashy ride.

Should I buy one?

Despite its very competitive pricing, forget this entry-level model. We’d wait for the 1.7-litre diesel version coming in 2012, or go for the more pricey 2.0-litre diesel variant, which offers pleasing performance and a much more refined and well-rounded package.

Alex Kertsen

Chevrolet Cruze LS 1.6

Price: £13,995; Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: 12sec; Economy: 42.8mpg (claimed); C02: 153g/km; Kerb weight: 1305kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1598cc, petrol; Power: 123bhp at 6200rpm; Torque: 113lb ft at 4200rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

Join the debate


23 September 2011

Seem's Chevrolet haven't quite shaken off the bad old Daewoo days completely.

Poor show for a company that want to make a positive impact.

23 September 2011

[quote TegTypeR]

Seem's Chevrolet haven't quite shaken off the bad old Daewoo days completely.

Poor show for a company that want to make a positive impact.


The top spec diesel Cruze makes a lot of sense, but by then, it's no longer a budget car, so you may as well buy something else. I'd take a Cee'd every time.

23 September 2011

I made the mistake of buying a small engined, 262 cu in (4.3L), V8 back in the mid 70s instead of the regular 305 (5L), too thirsty because it worked too hard pulling around the Nova body

I think GM have done it a gain with the Cruze

23 September 2011

1305kg?! For a base 1.6 hatchback? You're having a giraffe? So, let's see, low entry price, discounts most likely available, underpowered 1.6 petrol - Chevrolet Cruze, coming to a rental car fleet near you!

23 September 2011

Not sure why but this Cruze saloon/hatch conversion looks really old school botch to me. Much like the old Renault 9/11 did back in the day.

Is it the front/rear overhangs that give it a converted look? not sure but its all a bit poor in my book.

23 September 2011

Did you forget the camera, Mr Kersten? You seem to have posted the pics of the 2.0 VCDi model driven back in July...

23 September 2011

This is the sort of car that gives petrol power a bad name, although its hard to imagine a noiser and heavier diesel engine improving anything other than economy. Why manufactures insist on putting underpowered engines into overly heavy cars for the european market it beyond me.

I had been thinking maybe there werent any bad cars left, but from this quick review it seems there are.

23 September 2011

Didn't Chrysler / Dodge do a 2 for 1 deal on their Avenger over here a few years back? Seems Chevrolet are determined to beat that with their petrol Cruze.

Do you think these American manufactures know about market research?

23 September 2011

[quote ronmcdonald]Didn't Chrysler / Dodge do a 2 for 1 deal on their Avenger over here a few years back? Seems Chevrolet are determined to beat that with their petrol Cruze.[/quote] Yeah - in the crash they did do exactly that. The Avenger was/is a terrible car though. I seem to remember they also did a free Caliber with a Grand Cherokee or something like that - if you remember manufacturers were doing anything to shift the last of their stock and try to generate some cash.

23 September 2011

the avenger wasnt really right for the UK. here we missed out on the V6 so got an underpowered 2.0, or an awful VW diesel.

It had very low quality plastics, but was also very cheap. But drove quite well, very well compared to other cars at its price.


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