Chev’s i30 fighter here!
PRACTICAL HATCH TO TAKE ON RIVALS: The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback isn’t the best-looking hatch on our roads but with its features and versatility, the new model makes for worthy consideration if you’re in the market for a practical family vehic
Author: Sergio Davids
Chevrolet expands its Cruze range in South Africa and buyers will now be able to choose between the spruced-up sedan or the new hatchback variants. We got behind the wheel of both at a launch in Cape Town.
For 2012, Chev spruces up its Cruze sedan with tweaks to the head and rearlights as well as an all new grille design. Identical (from the front) to the sedan, the hatchback benefits from the large grille which incorporates a horizontal slats as opposed to the honeycomb grille of the outgoing model.
DAEWOO CIELO, ANYONE?
The four-door hatchback bundles all the design tweaks of the updated
sedan into a sportier package with either 1.6 or 1.8 petrol power.
Compared to the sedan, the rear looks sporty with a massive tailgate and boot space to, er, boot. Its chunky styling might not appeal to some but it’s a step in the right direction for an otherwise tepid design.
I couldn’t help to notice a more-than-passing resemblance to the Daewoo Cielo of old. Apart from the rear light placement and chrome strip, it’s rather uncanny that Chev would go the route of the '90s hatchback.
The new body style's appearance doesn't seem chopped-off sedan or an afterthought from the design team as is seemingly the case with many sedan to hatch conversions on the road.
Overall it’s better looking than the sedan but a far cry from Hyundai’s Elantra and i30 pairing. Chev’s design movement, beginning with its latest-generation Spark, Sonic and now the growing Cruze family, is a great leap forward for a brand that has been seen to create bland vehicles.
The interior is identical to the sedan's, offering utilitarian, albeit intuitive, controls and providing sufficient comfort.
The 1.6 produces 91 kW at 6000rpm and 155 Nm at 4000 rpm while the 1.8-litre engine is capable of 104 kW at 6200rpm and 176 Nm at 3800rpm. Both engines are mated to five-speed manual transmissions with fuel consumption rated at a claimed 6.7 litres/100km.
PRACTICAL, SPACIOUS HATCH
Ample head and legroom makes the hatchback a great choice for a family runabout. In fact the head room (974mm) is 11mm more compared to the sedan variant (963mm).
The addition of a hatchback version has had an interesting effect on the Cruze's load capacity, though; boot space drops from 450 to 413 litres, but fold the 60/40 split rear bench and this improves to an impressive 883 litres. There are, however, plenty of stowage spots in the front more suited to smaller items.
New features added to the line-up include a headlight levelling system, satellite controls, cruise control and new 16-inch alloy rims.
Optional extras include leather seats, power sunroof and a Driver’s Package (climate control and rear parking assist). A 17" alloy wheel option is available for the 1.8LS.
MORE FROM CHEVROLET
Along with its new Cruze hatchback, Chev has also revealed updates to its existing sedan range. Click here to read more about the new Cruze sedan.
CRUZE A GLOBAL SUCCESS
When Chevrolet first launched its mid-sized sedan in South Africa in 2009 it was quite a big deal for the US automaker. Soon after, though, grumblings about the Cruze being “dull”, “bland” and “ho hum” started swirling. For many thousands of buyers, however, Cruze ticked all the right boxes as a family car and despite some misgivings has been a success story for the US automaker.
Since its global launch in 2008, more than 1.56 million models have been sold and the Cruze is now the pride of the Chevrolet fleet with 670 000 units sold in 2011 - more than 420 000 cars were delivered in the first seven months of 2012 alone.
Hatchbacks are incredibly popular in SA and it’s good to see Chev build on its Spark and Sonic platforms with a medium-sized hatchback in the C-segment. The Cruze hatch faces competition from the likes of Toyota Auris, Hyundai i30 as well as the Ford Focus and Volkwagen Golf.
Chevrolet Cruze hatchback 1.6 LS MT R212 400
Chevrolet Cruze hatchback 1.8 LS MT R224 800
A five-year or 120 000km warranty and three-year or 60 000km service plan is standard. Service intervals are 12 months or 15 000 km.