Sprint Review: Chevrolet Cruze LS

One new car, lots of information

What’s a Cruze? Think Elantra, Jetta and especially Opel Astra sedan; then slap a Chevy body on it. The Cruze is also available as a hatchback which it shares its technology with. Available with four cylinder petrol, turbo-petrol or turbo-diesel engines, this model is a 1.4 turbo-petrol Cruze LS.

Right. What else? The GM/Opel derived engine kicks out a relaxed but smooth 103kW (140hp) or 200Nm through six manual gears to the front wheels. 0-100 takes 9.3 seconds and top end is 200km/h while average fuel consumption from the 60L tank is claimed at 5.8L/100km. In the real world, our test car preferred seven to eight.

What we did: Zip around our village and some interesting countryside. Although it has a whiff of rental car, the Cruze cuts a good shape with a mean face and clean derriere. The interior features lots of Opel bits – which we like. Cabin layout, shapes and materials are modern but inoffensive.

A quick trip to a builder’s shop and our neglected storage unit highlighted the Cruze boot space and folding rear seats while a foray over bumpy tarmac showcased how comfortable the suspension setup is. 205/60R16’s are standard with a full-size spare wheel; 215/50R17’s are optional.

What annoyed us: Just like its Opel brethren, this gearbox had an occasionally uncooperative second gear. The sound system isn’t very easy to use and its display could do with some updating. We found Bluetooth audio streaming but no mobile phone connectivity. Ipod functionality is limited and frustrating.

What we liked: In its defence, the audio quality is excellent and will please many a party animal with its thumping sounds. Cruze’s halogen lights are praiseworthy, as are its firm but supportive seats. N$254,600 with lots of safety kit, a big 5-year/120,000km warranty and 3-year/60,000km service plan are good value.

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