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Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi LT: Test Drive

Date: 12 March 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £15,195
Key rival: Kia Ceed

While uncertainty remains over Chevrolet's future as a brand, the company has doggedly launched the car it claims is the most important since the brand returned to the UK.

The Cruze looks at its best from the back, where the chunky rear bumper and boot lid spoiler is almost Germanic in its appearance. The side profile is attractive, too, while the front end carries the same slightly awkward "Bow-tie" motif that began on Chevrolet's Aveo supermini.

Inside, the quality of materials is good, especially for a car of this price. The plastics feel firm rather than brittle, and there is a pleasing amount of room both in the front and the back. Rear passengers will enjoy plenty of legroom, but taller ones might find it best not to wear a hat.

The top of the range LT is expected to be the model that most appeals to fleet drivers thanks to its heavily ticked specification list. Parking sensors, leather, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, plus cruise and climate controls all come as standard.

The Cruze is only available in four-door format, which knocks its versatility, however the boot huge and belies the car's lower medium status. Chevrolet insiders have hinted that a five-door hatchback may be on the way, but not in the next year.

This 150PS 2.0-litre engine is undoubtedly the pick of the range, and is priced accordingly. At £15,195 it is £1600 more expensive than the equivalent spec 1.8-litre petrol. However, the diesel's CO2 emissions of 149g/km make it competitive in its class, as does fuel consumption of 50.4mpg.

On the road the Cruze doesn't feel blisteringly quick, but still manages a 0-62mph time of 9.6secs and top speed of 129mph. The ride is pleasantly smooth and the handling precise, responding to even small turns of the wheel with a satisfying rapidity. Unfortunately, though, the overall driving experience is let down by a lack of solidity through corners, where missing grip makes itself apparent all too easily.

The badge may not be the most prestigious in the class, but Chevrolet is playing to its strengths and offering impressive value for money, albeit in terms of kit rather than driving experience.

Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi LT
P11D price£15,195
Model price range£11,545-£15,195
Fuel consumption50.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 149g/km/(20%)
BIK 20/40% per month£51/£101
Service interval12,000mls
Insurancegroup 9 (estimate)
Boot space (min/max)450 litres
Engine size/power1991cc/150PS
Top speed/0-62mph129mph/9.6secs
On sale July 2009
VerdictGood value for money kit-wise
but there’s room for
improvement on the road


Good value for money kit-wise but there’s room for improvement on the road