Holden Cruze CD Sportwagon 2013 Review

Holden Cruze CD Sportwagon 2013 Review


The Cruze Sportwagon has the Holden corporate nose, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive as a Commodore. Its 16-inch steel wheels and hubcaps, and safe styling make it blend in to the crowd; the perfect fleet car. From the front and side it looks quite sleek; from the back it looks a little dull.

holden-cruze-sportwagon-sHowever, I prefer its look over the Toyota Corolla wagon which has a weird confluence of lines between the lights, front bumper and wheel arches that occasionally makes it look like

you’ve got an unwanted dent.

holden-cruze-sportwagon-rqAnother thing I like better about the Holden than the Toyota is that it comes with a conventional automatic and not a CVT gearbox. This six-speed automatic ‘box has to cope with 120kW and 360Nm of torque from the 2-litre turbo diesel engine. Performance isn’t brisk (and definitely not sporty), but it is adequate. Holden’s fuel economy figures quote 7.4l/100km, which is surprisingly high for a diesel and I wonder whether it’s a mistake on their website (i.e. a Mitsubishi Outlander VRX 7-seat SUV, which weighs more than a hippo, has better economy). Other sites quote 6.8l/100km, but even that’s not brilliant.

holden-cruze-sportwagon-inside-fThe fabric feel of the dashboard is interesting. It’s a good solution that breaks up the cabin’s grey texture and provides a tactile surface that might otherwise be occupied by hard plastic.

The stereo has a very basic-looking LCD that is easy to use, but cheapens the car.

holden-cruze-sportwagon-steering-wheelThe steering wheel is nicely contoured and a good thickness, with buttons for the cruise control, stereo and answering the phone using Bluetooth.

Handling is benign. It sits on 205/50R16 tyres, which these days sound fairly average, but 15 years ago were found on 280bhp Subaru Impreza WRX STIs! You won’t feel like playing rally hero, but if you do get it loose there is ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic brake assist, electronic stability control and traction control to help out. Six airbags and other passive safety functions mean the Cruze Sportwagon gets a 5-star ANCAP crash rating.

holden-cruze-sportwagon-bootLegroom in the rear is average. There’s enough, but really tall rear seat passengers will be cramped.

It feels like the whole car is designed around storage options. In the boot there is a fancy cargo blind with integrated triple-compartment tray. The blind can be set at an angle, too. There are bag hooks in the boot and two recessed trays on either side. A compartment sits under the lockable floor.

The glovebox is sizeable, there’s a small compartment in the centre of the dashboard and another one next to your elbow (which contains USB inputs for your music player or phone), along with spaces in the doors and a flexible twin cupholder next to the handbrake.

There’s a useful cellphone receptacle behind the gearbox, but if your phone is big (e.g. iPhone 5 or Galaxy 3) then you won’t be able to put the gearbox in park without first removing the phone.

Other welcome features are automatic headlights and reversing sensors.

If you want to go up a notch, there’s a CDX version which adds leather seats (heated in the front), fog lamps, 17-inch wheels, leather steering wheel and a couple of other things, but still no Bluetooth audio streaming.

For a mid-sized station wagon this Holden feels like it’s got a lot of space, and that the space is very flexible. Fleet buyers will be pleased with this. The only things that compromise an otherwise competent road warrior’s vehicle are the lack of a dead pedal for resting your left foot, and no Bluetooth audio streaming.

Price: $33,400 for the CD, or $36,000 for the CDX


  • Useful cargo blind functionality and tray
  • Good interior storage
  • Coherent design


  • No dead pedal
  • Dated interface
  • Diesel isn’t that economical compared to petrol (6.8l/100km vs 7.4l/100km)

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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