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Chevrolet Cruze SW: Test Drive Review

Date: 07 December 2012   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £18,870
Key rival: Hyundai i30 estate

The market for budget lower medium estates has hotted up in recent weeks.

We've previously sampled the Korean siblings in this sector - the Hyundai i30 Tourer and Kia Ceed SW - but the Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon undercuts both. The GM-owned brand claims that 12% of sales in this huge lower medium segment are estates, and that's mainly to corporate customers, predominantly for job-need rather than user-choosers.

The Station Wagon, in this middling LT spec and with the sub-120g/km diesel engine, is cheap, even by the standards of the budget end of the market, with a P11D price £370 below than of the equivalent Kia Ceed SW, while the similar power in the Hyundai i30 is only available in the top trim level so that's another £1100.

Standard kit is good (see spec panel) although step up just £860 from LT to the top LTZ Nav spec, and Chevrolet adds navigation, auto lights and wipers, Bluetooth, rear parking camera, climate control and rear parking camera, which seems good value.

The SW is certainly the best-looking of the Cruze line-up, but it's still fairly anonymous rather than striking, although it has an understated presence, especially on the exterior.

The 130hp engine is perfectly adequate, but the driving enjoyment is compromised by light and uncommunicative steering. The interior is awash with switchgear from the GM parts bin that will be familiar to Vauxhall drivers, although thankfully it doesn't use Vauxhall's needlessly complicated infotainment system.

The boot is reasonable for this sector at 500 litres, yet Kia and Hyundai offer 528 litres, while fuel efficiency is also slightly behind the Korean pair. However, all three cars fall into the same BIK band, so the Chevrolet's cheaper price means lower monthly payments for drivers. That, though, isn't the same for companies, as a predicted residual value of just 24.8% badly hampers the whole-life cost equation, putting the Cruze's cost per mile at 49.6p, more than 2p adrift of the Ceed or i30.

Chevrolet Cruze SW 1.7 CVDi 130 LT
P11D price£18,870
Model price range£14,275-£19,730
Fuel consumption62.7mpg
CO2 (tax) 119g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month£53/£107
Service interval10,000miles
Insurance (1-50)group 21
Boot space min/max500/1478litres
Engine size/power1686cc/130hp
Top speed/0-62mph124mph/10.7secs
On sale Autumn 2012
VerdictBest option in the
Cruze line-up, but
running costs aren’t up
with budget rivals


Best option in the Cruze line-up, but running costs aren’t up with budget rivals