When it was first rolled out, the Chevrolet Cruze was an instant success. The car offered a long list of features, good styling and impressive power. Competition however caught up, the advent of fresh arrivals in the form of the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra gave the buyer more options. The Cruze was updated a while ago and there’s another one around the corner. The all-new model is still some time away and won’t be on display at the upcoming Auto Expo 2016. Instead, yet another refreshed Cruze is what we will get. We already took the updated Chevy out for a spin and this is what we think of it.
Compared to the previous facelift, this new face looks a lot better. The main change being the new bumper and front grille. The facelift isn’t the one that was seen in the Cruze sold in China. In fact, the new face belongs to the Holden (the General Motor owned subsidiary from Australia) Cruze. The familial grille is more rounded on the sides while the fog lamp inserts and LED DRLs finished in chrome blend better than the previous facelift. The fog lamps are new too - Chevrolet has used the same projector unit from the Trailblazer. The headlamps though still use halogen bulbs. There are also skirts on the front bumper as well as an integrated spoiler lip on the boot. The rear end other than that doesn’t get any cosmetic updates but is still smart looking.
The bigger change is on the inside with the introduction of the MyLink infotainment system, something with which we are familiar, courtesy the bigger Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV. The 7-inch touchscreen unit also houses Stitcher SmartRadio (internet radio streaming), Siri compatibility with an iPhone/iPad, voice recognition control and controls for the AC. However, what Chevrolet could have added in there is a navigation system (something lower segment cars offer today). Try as much, neither I nor the others who were shotgun with me could use the touchscreen AC system efficiently as the raked portion of the central console doesn’t allow you to do it. The sound system however, consider the segment, begs for an upgrade.
I particularly liked the front and rear seat bolstering. The seats literally hug you. While space at the front is never a concern, the knee will continue to brush against the centre console unless you happen to drive the automatic or you aren't as tall as me ( I am 6'4''). Move to the rear and the Cruze disappoints with a sloping roofline eating into the headroom. This is primarily intended to be a driver's car - the absence of rear AC vents and less storage places at the rear is an indication of that. Boot space though is impressive.
GM haven’t tinkered with the Cruze’s powerful 166PS/360Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor. The motor is still an impressive unit considering the car has been around for a while now. GM claims a fuel efficiency of 14.8kmpl from the new Cruze automatic while we clocked a mileage of 8.9kmpl in the city and 10.1kmpl on the highway. What I particularly liked about the car’s engine is that it is quite refined and inside the cabin, one will be hard-pressed to know if the vehicle is a diesel. The gear shifts are also barely perceptible. The all-wheel disc brakes, however, help stop the car without any fuss or drama.
In terms of ride and handling, the Cruze is still a decent performer considering that there are no changes done to the dynamics of the car since introduction. Ride quality is something which all occupants in the car appreciated, though it is not in the same league as the Hyundai Elantra.
This Cruze is here to stay until the all-new model replaces it in 2017. However, if you must absolutely have a D-segment car from Chevrolet, the facelifted Cruze is the only option. The features and updated styling should hold your attention for some time. Expect the new facelifted Chevrolet Cruze to be in showrooms a few weeks after the Auto Expo 2016.