Driven - November 2015

Why we all love the Chevrolet Cruze.

Chevrolet Cruze 1.4 T LS:

A Chevrolet Cruze is not a poster car, let’s just be honest. You don’t wait long for one nor is it a car that makes you say “oooh, that’s nice.” It’s one of those cars one sees on the roads often and wonders why there are so many of them. We soon learned why this is the case, when a “hatchback” version of the car arrived to be test driven by us. The model provided was the 1.4 T LS manual, which makes 103 kW and 200 Nm.

Upon looking at the car, one doesn’t realise how big it is until you’re sitting in it. Space is not a problem in this car; space is what this car offers a lot of, especially in the “hatchback” with its wide opening boot. The reason why we keep saying “hatchback” sarcastically, is because this car is just as big as any sedan but has a funny hunchback thing going on at the rear, making it a “hatchback”. Anyway.

As mentioned before, we wouldn’t be rude to say that the Cruze is not an exciting car but after spending time with it, one does get a great deal of satisfaction from it. We don’t really know why, because it’s not as if it’s ludicrously fast, nor is it fun to drive. The biggest reason why we think it’s so good and it sells so well in South Africa is because to put it simply, it works. For starters, the seats in the Chevrolet Cruze are made of the same material found in your grandmother’s couch. The level of comfort you find in this car is brilliant. To top it off, driving it around Sandton for a week, we forgot that speed bumps existed, the car just swallows them up and for a second we even thought the government fixed the roads.

Secondly, the engine. Even though its a small 1.4 turbo carrying a big body, the engine works. Very well we must say. It gives you just enough power to happily drive it around without thinking it’s underpowered at any point. Besides, you’re too busy relaxing in the seats to even think about going fast. Another great aspect of having a small engine is better fuel economy. The people at General Motors were very surprised to receive their car back with half a tank of petrol in it, something unheard of from a journalist. The “Eco” mode with its stop-start feature came in handy.

As the week came to its end, we realised that we were quite sad to see the old Cruze leave. In the stressful city we live in, as nice as it is to have a high-performance car or a big SUV, it can be a bit limiting since there isn’t much of an opportunity to use those type of cars to the best of their abilities. With the Chevrolet Cruze though, you simply pair your phone with the radio, sit back, relax and enjoy just how effective the car is. Yes, it may not attract stares or impress your girlfriend or boyfriend, but that was not Chevrolet’s intention when making the car. For what it’s made for, being a large, comfortable and fuel efficient sedan/hatchback, the Chevrolet Cruze is one of the best in its segment. With a starting price of R 262 500, you get a whole lot of car for the money. So next time you see a Cruze on the road, you know why.