Chevrolet Cruze 1.6i LS

Price: £12,595 approx.

Engine: 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol, 113 horsepower, 153 Newton metres of torque

Transmission: five-speed manual

Top speed: 115mph

Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 11.8 seconds

Fuel consumption: 41.5 mpg (combined cycle)

CO2 emissions: 159g/km

Rivals: Hyundai i30, Kia cee'd, Skoda Octavia

It is customary to preface every road-test of a UK-sold Chevrolet with a short paragraph explaining that these Korean-built products have little in common with their famous American namesakes, and are the cars that used to be sold as Daewoos. But when it comes to the Cruze, the position is not so clear-cut.



This new car does come from General Motors' former Daewoo operation in Korea but it is part of a worldwide GM model family – the forthcoming next-generation Vauxhall Astra is a sister model – and it will also become a proper American Chevrolet in the sense that it will be produced at a GM plant in Ohio for the US market as well.



With a background like that, it's no surprise that the Cruze represents a big improvement over the old Daewoo-derived models sold as Chevrolets in Europe, a development that also chimes with one of the most important industry stories of the decade – the huge advances being made by the Korean motor manufacturers, who are now beginning to turn out models that compete on broadly equal terms with some of the best cars produced by mainstream European and Japanese brands. In fact, the Cruze is a direct competitor for two of the most impressive cars from Korean companies, the Hyundai i30 and the Kia cee'd – or at least it would be if it were available as a hatchback. For the time being, at least, the Cruze can only be bought as a saloon, not a hatch or an estate.



So what are the Cruze's strengths? These mainly lie in the area of comfort and space. The Cruze performs particularly well for a car of its price and size in terms of what's known in the industry as NVH – or noise, vibration and harshness. It is generally quiet, with low levels of road noise in particular, and has a roomy interior, which, if it has slightly more in the way of shiny surfaces and light grey shades than Europeans tend to prefer, is comfortable, stylish and well equipped.



This emphasis on comfort extends to the Cruze's behaviour on the road; the suspension set-up is biased more towards ride than handling but at the same time the depth of development work that has gone into this car's chassis shines through strongly at all times, which augurs well for the new Vauxhall Astra.



Our test car was fitted with the entry-level 1.6 litre petrol engine. After reading some lukewarm, even critical, comments about the 1.8 litre petrol unit that is also available in the Cruze, I feared the worst where the 1.6 was concerned - but in the event was pleasantly surprised. This smaller engine can certainly leave you wanting more shove when you are trying to accelerate onto a busy motorway or want to get back up to speed as quickly as possible after slowing down for a roundabout on a fast A-road run, but compensates to some extent by being comparatively smooth and quiet, especially once the Cruze is settled into a steady cruise.



Overall, the Cruze is quite an impressive effort, which, at least in terms of refinement and comfort, almost feels like something from the size or price bracket bracket above. Chevrolet will probably have to broaden the Cruze's appeal by offering a hatchback or estate alternative to the current saloon body, though, if this car is to achieve the success it deserves.



  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living