The start point for the best source of fleet information
This is the most efficient diesel Chevrolet has put into a lower medium hatchback, and the one it hopes will give it a renewed push into the business car market.
The five-door hatchback Cruze launched last summer, but only with a 163hp 2.0-litre diesel emitting 147g/km of CO2. The firm believes this new 1.7 diesel, complete with stop/start and a 117g/km CO2 figure, will give it at least the same impact again as when it launched the hatchback to go with the saloon version, as very few saloons are sold in this sector. The new engine will only at this stage go into the five-door, with the Station Wagon estate version following this summer.
Although Chevrolet is improving its emissions, sister brand Vauxhall uses the same 130hp engine in the Astra and manages to get it down to 99g/km and an official 76.3mpg, which shows Chevrolet still has a distance to go on efficiency. But the Astra is several thousand pounds more expensive, which leaves a fleet driver's BIK payments fairly even between the two.
The 130hp 1.7-litre diesel is significantly pricier than its 163hp 2.0-litre sibling. The 2.0 isn't available in the base LS trim, but on LT the gap is £625 and on top-spec LTZ it's £885, even though the specification is the same. The big difference in CO2 - the 2.0 comes in at 147g/km - means BIK payments are still much cheaper on the more expensive model, but it still reduces clarity to make the less powerful engine so much pricier than the larger and more powerful one. The reasoning behind the gap is that the 1.7 diesel is a more expensive engine to manufacturer than the older 2.0, thanks to the work that goes into its greater efficiency that brings a 12.3mpg improvement in official consumption.
To drive, the Cruze is unremarkable, with over-light and uncommunicative steering being the biggest problem. The engine's refinement is on par with the class average and performance is nothing to complain about. But it's comfortable, fairly well-equipped and stacks up well for price against the likes of the new Hyundai i30, which offers an admittedly much more efficient but less powerful 110hp diesel for the same price as the Cruze's 130hp engine. The Cruze also offers a large and usefully square boot, and rear passenger space isn't impacted by what for the sector is a hefty 413 litres of luggage space.
The new 117g/km model is certainly the most logical corporate Cruze so far, and adds another string to the bow of a brand that is gently easing its way into the business car market.