Shadowed by the omnipotent Skoda Octavia here in Europe, Chevrolet Cruze was GM’s take on budget global car concept. It was based on Opel’s J-generation Astra underpinnings, built in several locations around the world, and in most market areas it brandished the Chevy bowtie badge on the grille. How about that for an ominous mix!
Compared to (mk2) Octavia, the Cruze does not offer cavernous space inside, nor the understated interior with uniform panel gaps, and the Cruze wont be as frugal to run either. But where the Cruze shines is the delivered driving pleasure.
All the petrol engines are rubbish (even the turbocharged one) and the best pick is actually the biggest diesel, 2-litre 163hp unit. This powerplant moves the Cruze quickly, and thanks to stable road manners, the diesel Cruze would be a delight for longer journeys. Even at motorway speeds there’s plenty of power in reserve, and road noise cancellation is German premium level -in a global budget car!
The Cruze is made by GM, so you’re more than likely to run into a few electric gremlins with used car. But the powertrain is fairly proven and solid, and the short service intervals secure longer lifespan. Good news also is, you can find help for all kinds of problems via various designated Cruze discussion forums in the internet. So, if you run into something odd, a fellow in Denmark, Australia or Kuwait may have already had and solved similar issue.
And then there’s the style. No one under 78 should have to drive an Octavia, to be honest, and Cruze is really a refreshing choice in today’s car market. You can find a hatchback or even estate Cruze too for more practicality, but since there are not many really youthful and balanced looking saloons in this size class anymore, the Cruze in saloon body looks the most elegant of the three.
And best part is, you can find low mileage Chevys at really tempting prices.