Holden Cruze SRi Hatchback 2013 – Review

Holden Cruze SRi Hatchback 2013 – Review

The only way to arrive at Fieldays is via jet boat or helicopter. It avoids the 20-minute queue into the car park and the resulting walk from several leagues away. We opted for the jet boat – a seven-minute blast along the Waikato with a wind chill of, well, frosty.

holden-cruze-sri-2013-rqDespite the exhilaration and the paltry price of $20 return, it made me appreciate sitting in the Holden Cruze’s cosseting warmth as the outside temperature registered a number low enough that children of this age measure it in quarters

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holden-cruze-sri-2013-sOn the banks of the mighty Waikato we passed innumerable large houses and I realised that the Cruze could belong there. It functions perfectly as a sensible second car. The main car would likely be European (or perhaps a well-endowed HSV) and provides the image but is a little on the expensive side to run; the family car is the Cruze. A little jaunt into Cambridge for tea and tiffin, and perhaps you pop into Felicity’s to talk about show jumping. The Cruze is stylish, practical and isn’t going to break the bank, which is why it is sensible.

holden-cruze-sri-2013-front-rearThe vast majority of wealthy people are sensible because it’s hard to be rich if you’re not astute. They want nice things, but don’t want to pay silly money. Why spend $45,000 on a car that’s a runabout when Holden sells this perfectly capable Cruze SRi for less than $35,000 (and probably much less if you wore your wellingtons and bargained hard at Fieldays).

The Holden Cruze does the job of getting you from A to B unspectacularly, without fuss or drama. In the driver’s seat you’ll appreciate the coloured fabric panels that break up the usual sea of black and grey that adorns most cars, and matches the seat squabs. These blue inserts are carried through to the rear seats where there is plenty of legroom, but not much in the way of additional features (such as separate air conditioning).

The instrumentation is clear and easy to read. There is a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for the cruise control and stereo.

holden-cruze-sri-2013-rear-interiorThe entertainment system is Bluetooth-enabled (for both phone integration and audio streaming) and has USB input and iPod connectivity. It uses Holden’s MyLink infotainment system and plays out through six alright-sounding speakers.

Naturally, it comes with the usual swag of safety features – ESC, ABS, EBD, TCS and BA – if you want to stop quick, swerve abruptly or if you lose control, the Cruze has your back. If the electronics don’t save you, there are six airbags, collapsible pedals, seatbelt pretensioners and a five-star ANCAP crash test rating.

holden-cruze-sri-2013-rMotive power is a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. There is a manual option available. The engine has 132kW and 230Nm of torque. This gives confident overtaking without it being frightening. Fuel economy is not Holden’s strong suit – 7.9l/100km is the quoted combined urban/extra urban driving – but it does run on 91 octane fuel.

The handling feels quite competent. It’s not exactly a heavy, large vehicle, and it’s running on some fairly wide tyres – 225/50R17 and 17-inch alloys – which means there’s grip aplenty. It’s not crashy, it’s not wallowy; it’s a journey that borders on the boring, and that’s perfect for those that don’t want drama.

I spent my day at Fieldays looking (out of interest) at large machinery designed for niche purposes. I have to respect a vehicle that has a tyre taller than me and has a hydraulic arm with apparatus for chopping a pine tree and stripping it of its branches in less than 30 seconds. But I also have to respect a vehicle like the Cruze that sits in a less obvious niche. It’s hard for a vehicle manufacturer to admit that its vehicle plays a supporting role, but that’s what the Cruze does. It’s the farmer’s wife; it’s that small bald guy that conducts the band on Letterman; it’s the low fat cream on the decadent mud cake sitting appealingly, waiting to be tasted.

Price: from $34,900

Pros

  • The perfect second car

Cons

  • Engine could be a little more frugal.

Words: ; photos: Vanessa James

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