Our regular reader Siddhanth Ahuja has driven the Chevrolet Cruze and he's given us an exclusive look into the product. The images accompanying the text is brought to you by our South African reader Shaun Malambo, who previously spoke about his brush with the newest Chevy.
This is the most awaited Chevy to hit the Indian shores. GM is going strong in India with sales touching the peak,contrary to what is happening back in the states. GM India aspires to hold a 10% market share by 2012. With products like the Cruze, it surely can!
Here is my review of the Chevrolet Cruze.
Inside out -
The Cruze is one good looking car-there is no denying that fact.One look at it and you’d be floored.It looks striking from the front-sharp and angular headlamps with a huge split grill,a new chevy logo,a line that runs at the centre of the bonnet all make it look aggressive.
It has that ‘in your face’ look and it declares its arrival in style wherever it goes!The striking coupe like roofline,the chrome finished door handles and chrome on the window line,the 7 spoke 16” alloy wheels all make it look stylish.The rear though not as exciting as the front still looks pretty good.There is also a thick chrome bar that runs between them,which makes the car look a little more upmarket.All in all the Cruze has tremendous road presence as is (acc. to me)the most stylish looking car in this segment.
The interiors again grab your attention just like the exteriors do.The dual cockpit design,the V shaped centre console, the switches,the dials surrounded by chrome all look classy.The blue light up is oh so cool!The car starts at the push of a button-you just need to have the key in your pocket-a feature that is found in luxury cars only.
The steering wheel feels very nice to hold with audio controls and cruise control buttons on it.The gear knob with chrome surround also feels very nice.There is also a small screen above the centre console that gives you info about your audio,auto ac and other vehicular settings.The front seats are extremely comfortable(that is the place you want to be in!),the rear though a little upright has good leg space with good thigh support.
The headroom is decent, not bad at all.The entire interior is done in leather with a very soothing beige colour all around.It has a lot of storage spaces here and there and is a nice place to be in.
Engine and gearbox
The 2.0 vcdi engine of the cruze pumps out a 150 bhp with 320 NM of torque which makes this the fastest diesel sedan this side of a BMW. You know that this is a diesel sedan once you fire up the engine, but you roll up the windows and you are out on the road you can’t even make out that this thing has a diesel engine. The NVH levels are fantastic with excellent insulation on the inside.
There is an initial turbo lag under 1800 RPM but the gearbox has been worked with to sought that problem out The second gear can pull it off till about 75 kmph. The gears are taller than the Captiva but the gearbox is much better than any previous gen Chevy-I liked it.
Once you get its past the turbo lag this one just fires ahead-its got a strong mid-range with oodles of torque flowing in, it effortlessly reaches high speeds cruising on the highway and touches the redline at 210 kmph (4300 RPM).This could even leave the likes of the Civic licking away the dust this one throws on them. It is one powerful car.
In the city the steering wheel feels light and the car is easy to maneuver and out on the highway it weighs up pretty well. Straight line stability is not bad though not as accomplished as the Germans. The ride quality is fantastic –I took the car over the bumpiest of terrains and it took up the potholes very well. I was very comfy on the inside. All in all it is a huge leap forward from the Optra when it comes to handling.
This is a make or break situation for GM India. After the drive of the car I can just say one thing-It is meant to be a success. Its got all the right ingredients to cause a dent in the sales of the entry level luxury sedans. Its got stunning looks, fantastic interiors,a very good diesel engine ,features that could shame luxury sedans and above all the price!
I have a slight idea of the pricing and with that kind of pricing its going to shake up the segment and give an entirely new dimension to the phrase ‘value for money’. Its interior quality might not be as good as the Jetta or the Laura,the turbo lag might be an issue but just wait watch-the pricing!! I am very impressed with this vehicle and I promise even you would be. It is by far the best Chevy we have ever got ant all I can say is that GM has a winner in their hands!
As GM India head Karl Slym said ‘people are going to like the value this car provides’.That statement is so true-just wait and watch.