Chevrolet Cruze

The Essentials

  • Price from £18,200
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 50.4mpg
  • What is it? Small saloon cars aren't all that popular, and on top of that, the Cruze in unimpressive to drive and rather overpriced

Great

  • Perfectly priced for the age of austerity
  • Five-year warranty package with bells and whistles
  • Generous equipment and safety kit (for the money)

Gripes

  • No fun to drive - petrol engines aren't particularly powerful
  • Less versatile than a hatchback
  • It's much too expensive for what it is
  • Drive

    Pretty uninspiring all round

  • Inside

    Plenty of seat adjustment but it's still not that comfy. Sensible dash layout and good visibility

  • Safety

    You'll find all the essentials fitted as standard, from stability control to an engine immobiliser

  • Reliability

    Impressive aftercare package should provide peace of mind

  • Space

    Enough for four adults, five at a pinch. Fair-sized boot offers security over practicality

  • Standard and extras

    Champagne kit for beer money: remote central locking, climate control and automatic lights and wipers provided as standard

  • What's it like to drive?

    There's just one engine on offer, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 161bhp. It's reasonably quiet and flexible enough to keep life easy, but it's not as quick as you'd expect.
    The ride is less than ideal, though, because it's always jiggly and really thumps over potholes. The handling isn't up to much, either; grip isn't particularly strong so you won't want to push it on a country road, and the quick, light steering can make the Cruze feel twitchy at speed.
    The so-so refinement completes a fairly mediocre package. The engine can give off some vibration when you work it hard, and there's too much road noise on coarse surfaces. The gearshift is pretty notchy too.

  • What's it like inside?

    The dashboard looks smart and there are some interesting textures to the materials, even if they do feel hard to touch. However, the quality deteriorates in the lower reaches of the cabin.
    All the switches and controls are easy to find and use, and visibility isn't bad for a small saloon. You get lots of adjustment for both the seat and steering wheel, so it should be easy enough to get comfortable. The back seats have a decent amount of legroom, but headroom is a little tight and the centre seat is too cramped to take three across the back in any comfort.
    The boot is fairly big and the rear seats split and fold to extend the load area if necessary, but the saloon boot opening can't match the practicality of a hatchback.
    The Cruze comes stuffed with luxury kit as standard, including alloys, remote locking, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, four electric windows, climate control, parking sensors and a USB socket. Sat-nav and leather are cost options.

  • How reliable is it?

    Some areas of the interior feel rather cheap but the Cruze shouldn't be any less reliable than cars from General Motors' other brands, such as Vauxhall, and it comes with five years' warranty, servicing, roadside assistance and MoT tests. Stability control and six airbags are standard, as are an engine immobiliser and deadlocks. The Cruze scored five out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, performing as well as a Volkwsagen Golf in every area except pedestrian protection, where it achieved a lowly 34% score.

  • Should I buy one?

    You're limited to just one main version that's extravagantly equipped but way too expensive. The saloon bodystyle and Chevrolet badge don't do much for resale values, and it's not that great on economy or emissions. Only the strong after-sales package is worth getting excited about. Otherwise, you'd do better to consider the host of cheaper small hatchbacks available.