2014 Chevrolet Cruze | road test

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 by
2014 Chevrolet Cruze
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3.5 stars
  • Very Good
AEDAED 69,500
  • 0/5 Avg. User Rating

  • Rated 0 stars
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  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: December 10, 2014
  • Exterior
    Editor: 80%
  • Interior
    Editor: 70%
  • Quality
    Editor: 70%
  • Features
    Editor: 80%
  • Performance
    Editor: 80%
  • Value for money
    Editor: 80%

Review Summary:

Against all odds, has gone against the grain and made a genuinely enjoyable sub-compact family car. Decent styling and interior, however, are eclipsed by its handling and performance, which really should give its rivals something to worry about.

Pros

Excellent handling characteristics, MyLink system, features. Reasonably priced.

Cons

Front end let down by the panel strip, hard seats.

Introduction and Summary

Trying to summarise the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze in one word is quite easy; surprising. Without wishing to tar all American cars with the same brush, these small family cars are usually all the same: soft ride, tinny engine and gearbox, unrefined, and cheap plastic. All bar one of these stereotypes are not applicable with the Cruze. We’ll get to that later.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze front

Let’s talk styling; on the whole Chevrolet has built a good looking car, and dare I suggest that it even resembles the Ford Focus. The rear end is neatly arranged without being fussy, and it boasts a fabulous shape from the side. It’s not all good news, however, as what has potential to be a very neat front end is ruined by the panel strip that splits the grille in two. While it’s not an ugly car, far from it, perhaps a re-think at the front of the next version wouldn’t go amiss.

I personally think that the version is a tidier and more astute package than the saloon, but both are more than acceptable.

Comfort and practicality

The interior of the Cruze is a pleasant place to be. Chocolate-brown leather drapes hither and thither around carbon-fibre effect plastic. Chrome trim runs around the dials and air vents and it’s all very classy. The steering wheel has a great feel to it and the instruments are all laid out very neatly.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze interior

The seats, too, are covered in fine-looking leather, but truth be told, they are not astonishingly comfortable, and this is where I must reference my opening statement. I mentioned that all bar one of the stereotypes don’t apply, all bar refinement. For a car that has electric windows and mirrors, GM’s MyLink touchscreen, and keyless start, you still have to adjust the seats with a manual ratchet, and they sound as if they are going to fall apart. On top of that they are quite flat and hard, and at the end of a long motorway journey you can expect to need a good stretch and massage.

Rear passengers, too, complained about the uncomfortable seats, although they gave a positive thumbs up for leg room. Boot space is standard for cars of this class, 450 litres, and you can easily squeeze a brace of large suitcases in there.

The MyLink touchscreen was near faultless, and there will be no problems connecting your phone via Bluetooth as the instructions are as clear as day. Although one thing did strike me as a bit odd, and the fact that I didn’t even notice this until the third day probably lowers my stock, but there is no CD player. If you don’t have a Smartphone, then you’re stuck with only the radio.

Performance, ride, and handling

The Cruze’s party piece is its driving performance. Only the 1.8 litre engine is available in the UAE, and with 141bhp and 176Nm of torque under your right foot, you really wouldn’t want anything else. Its power-band is smooth, and the gearbox is comfortably rapid. I spent most of the time using the manual override, and it was faultless. 0-100kp/h was dealt with in 10.5 seconds and Chevrolet claims that it can reach 200kp/h.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze tail light

Then we come to how it deals with corners, and my word is it good. The weight of the steering wheel is perfect, and yet you can still feel the road surface through your fingers. The suspension is firm without being harsh on your spine and the grip it offers easily rivals that of the Golf or Focus. In fact I enjoyed it so much that my wife had to call me home twice since I was having so much fun bombing around the back roads of Shahama, all within the confines of the traffic law, of course.

Cost

I had the Cruze LT, which starts at around AED 69,500. When you compare that to the Golf and Focus it all looks very reasonable. And therein lies the trick; yes ok, you might not get electric seats, but you don’t find those in its direct rivals either. But you do get a healthy list of features, which includes automatic headlamps, keyless start, cruise control, and the excellent MyLink system. In fact, the MyLink system can connect to more than just your phone and music library. You can also view videos and pictures, and stream live radio from all over the world! If you don’t have a Smartphone, however, then you won’t be able to enjoy it quite so much.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze front close up

It won’t be too expensive to run, either. Chevrolet claims that 7.5 litres will give you 100km in distance.

Verdict

In order to find the “perfect car”, you would usually expect to be searching the high-end showrooms of Land Rover and Rolls Royce, and even then you’d still probably pick out flaws. So nothing is perfect, and certainly the hard seats and curious-sounding ratchets are not ideal, but on the whole the Cruze is a great sub-compact car. The interior is pleasant and nicely done, and it is easily suitable for small families. Then we have the driving performance, which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did, especially if you’re using the manual override.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze rear

If you’re looking for a moderately powerful small family car in the Ford Focus/VW Golf ball park, then get yourself down to Chevrolet and book a test drive in a Cruze.

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