GENERAL Motors South Africa (GMSA) has launched a new hatchback model in the fiercely competitive compact car segment.
The two Chevrolet Cruze hatch variants, both featuring the comprehensive Chevrolet LS trim level, with the option of either a 1.6 litre or 1.8 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, compliment a revised range of five sedan models in the Cruze line-up for the 2013 model year.
What is it?
The Cruze hatch is aimed four-square at the Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Polo and the Hyundai i30 and is very competitively priced at R212400 for the 1.6 LS MT and R224800 for the 1.8 LS MT.
How does it look?
There's a fresh look to the range with the hatch taking the honours in the image department. It has an attractive arching roof line that extends from the steeply raked windshield through the sloped rear hatch. A distinctive concave shoulder styling-line emphasises the vehicle's dynamic posture.
What's it like to drive?
Both the 1.6 (91kW at 6000rpm with maximum torque of 155Nm at 4000rpm) and 1.8 (104kW at 6200rpm and 176Nm at 3 800rpm) petrol engines performed well in a launch drive around the Cape Peninsula with enough torque to satisfy most urban drivers.
Naturally, the 1.8 with more torque, was the model that stood out on the open road.
There's also enough room for four adults and their luggage and finish and fit are good.
Any special features?
The lack of road noise is a big plus factor in a small hatch of this size.
Aside from the obvious safety benefits of a strong and rigid body structure, a torsionally stiff structure also makes it easier for engineers to isolate residual powertrain, road and wind noise for high levels of cabin comfort. The Cruze has achieved interior acoustic and wind noise ratings that rank with the best in class for this segment.
A radio/CD combination with RDS is standard equipment.
The infotainment system is MP3 compatible and an auxiliary input for an iPod or MP3 player is provided. Instrumentation includes an on-board computer. Safety is also a major feature top of every driver with a family and the hatch is bristling with features.
Airbag protection includes driver and passenger front and seat side airbags and curtain side airbags for side impact protection for front and rear seats. A collapsible pedal assembly helps prevent the driver's feet from being trapped in the event of a severe impact.
Active safety measures include ABS anti-lock braking with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), brake assist (BAS), and electronic stability programme (ESP).
Should you buy one?
The price of the Cruze starting at R212400 makes it one of the most competitively priced hatches around.
That together with its Chevrolet pedigree makes it a very attractive proposition for anyone wanting a small family hatch. The Chevrolet Cruze hatch is covered by a five-year/ 120000km warranty with roadside assistance for the full warranty period.
Anti-corrosion warranty protection is for five years/ unlimited kilometres. Service intervals are at 12 months/ 15000km. A three year/ 60000km service plan is also included in the price.
Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback 1.6 LS MT
Engine: 1 598cc 16 valve DOHC
Power:91kW at 6 000rpm
Torque: 155Nm at 4 000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 6.7/100km (claimed combined)
Price: R212 400
Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback 1.8 LS MT
Engine: 1 796cc 16 valve DOHC
Power: 104kW at 6 200rpm
Torque: 176Nm at 3 800rpm
Top Speed: 200km/h
Fuel Consumption:6.7/100km (claimed combined)
Price: R224 800