The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5
The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback is a Ford Focus-sized family car which offers a comfortable ride and good safety credentials. Two petrol and one diesel engine are offered, each with the choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
Reasons to buy
- Packed with equipment
At a glance
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How much equipment do I get?
Three equipment grades are available: LS, LT and LTZ. The LS is only available as a 1.6 manual and comes with air-con, electric front windows and door mirrors and remote central locking. LT models add rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels and steering wheel-mounted audio controls and LTZ models also feature cruise control, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, automatic wipers and lights, 17-inch alloys and interior aluminum trim. The LTZ Executive tops the range with leather trim, sat nav and heated front seats.
How good does it look?
The bold front-end styling of the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback with its two-part grille and huge gold badge, means it will stand out in the car park, but an unadventurous rear design disappoints – the saloon version is more attractive. LS models do without the 16 or 17- inch alloy wheels fitted to the LT and LTZ
What's the interior like?
The Cruze’s interior looks more upmarket than its budget price tag would suggest. There’s a centre console which swoops between the seats, and much of the switchgear is shared with the more expensive Vauxhall Astra. Fabric coverings on the dash are an unusual touch, and the dials are illuminated in a relaxing blue. It’s a shame Chevrolet hasn’t followed this flair with the materials used; some of the trim feels cheap and it’s not in keeping with the car’s more upmarket aspirations.
How powerful is it?
Chevrolet offers two petrols and a diesel engine. The 1.6-litre petrol is loud, thrashy and needs to be worked hard to make moderate progress. Despite the on-paper figures, it feels more at home with an automatic gearbox rather than the five-speed manual. It’ll reach 62mph in 11.6 seconds, or 12.3 for the auto, and top speed for both is in excess of 110mph. Far better is the 1.8 petrol which offers a more relaxed experience and cuts the 0-62mph time to around 10 seconds with a 120mph-plus top speed. The 2-litre diesel is the pick of the bunch: smooth, refined and there’s ample performance well. With 163bhp it is one of the most powerful diesels in its class. It’ll reach 62mph in 8.3 seconds (9.1 for the auto) and stop accelerating just shy of 130mph.
How practical is it?
The cabin offers enough space for general family use, with space for four adults to sit in comfort. There’s the usual array of storage spaces in reach of the driver, and rear passengers can enjoy a fold down armrest with twin cupholders in the centre seat. The hatchback arrangement makes better use of space than the Cruze saloon and measuring 413 litres, it is around 20 per cent bigger than that offered by the Kia C’eed, Hyundai i30, Toyota Auris and Mazda3. The boot is deep, and there’s a high lip to lift luggage over. The seats fold in a 60:40 arrangement but don’t drop enough to provide a flat floor.
How reliable is it?
Much of the Chevy’s mechanicals have been borrowed by Vauxhall for the Astra, so although the Cruze is a comparatively rare sight on the roads, buyers can take heart from the Astra’s build quality. Our time with the Cruze would suggest interior trim is robust and the car should prove reliable. A five year warranty gives added peace of mind.
What's it like to drive?
Buyers looking for sports car thrills won’t find it with the Cruze, but it is quiet, smooth and comfortable. Road and wind noise are suppressed, although the 1.6-litre petrol engine is loud. The Cruze can soak up the worst of Britain’s tarmac well, and there’s surprisingly little body roll when cornering. The steering is light, which makes low-speed manoeuvres easy but the car feels uncontrolled at speed. It also lacks feedback and fails to inspire the confidence offered by the Kia C’eed and Hyundai i30.
How much will it cost me?
Priced between £14,000 and £20,000, the Chevy Cruze is priced in line with the Kia C’eed and Hyundai i30 and undercuts models like the Toyota Auris. However, buyers can expect the Cruze to shed value more quickly than the others. A five year warranty which matches that from Toyota and Hyundai will help reduce running costs over the first few years of ownership. Road tax will be fairly costly, with no model emitting less than 140g/km of CO2, and specifying an automatic gearbox increases emissions by around 20g/km. Both petrol engine models return an average of 42.8mpg (38.1mpg for the auto) while the diesel manages 50.4mpg (manual) and 44.8mpg (auto) Insurance is about average for this kind of car.
How safe is it?
The Chevrolet Cruze saloon scored maximum marks in the Euro NCAP crash test programme, but the hatchback is yet to be tested. The organization praised the model for the way it protects adult and child occupants, with only its pedestrian protection returning marginal marks. Standard equipment includes collapsible pedals to reduce leg injury, six airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes and electronic brake force distribution.
The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback is well equipped, but its trump card is its safety credentials. Choose the diesel and drive around quietly and in comfort.