Review: Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback (2011 – 2015)
More practical than the saloon. Good value for money. Rides well on UK roads, decent level of standard equipment.
Design is less distinctive than saloon. Interior quality isn't as high as that of some rivals.
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Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback (2011 – 2015): At A Glance
The Cruze saloon, well known for its appearance in the World and British Touring Car Championships, has been on sale since 2009. But in the UK the most popular models in the small family car market are hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, so the Cruze was always at somewhat of a disadvantage.
Seeking to make the car more competitive Chevrolet has now introduced a five-door hatchback. The Cruze hatchback retains the reasonable value for money package, attractive styling and comfortable drive of the saloon but with the advantage of improved practicality. It’s very slightly more expensive, starting at £13,995 for the base spec LS.
Equipment levels, ride quality and comfort are as good as those on the saloon, and for those seeking value for money, an attractive design, space and reasonable equipment levels the Cruze hatchback represents good value for money.
The most important improvement over the saloon is the increased loadspace. With the seats in place the saloon and hatch have similar capacities, but fold the seats forward and the Cruze hatchback has an impressive 883 litres of space. There's a choice of two petrol engines - a 1.6 and a 1.8-litre - and a 2.0-litre diesel. For most buyers the 1.6-litre will be adequte, but for those who regularly use motorways the 2.0-litre diesel is more suitable.
Overall, while it may not have the polish of a Ford Focus or a Volkswagen Golf, the Cruze hatchback represents good value for money and would make for a sensible buy. It has reasonable levels of standard equipment, attractive styling, and is more practical than the saloon.
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Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback (2011 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
The handsome styling of the exterior is continued in the cabin. The dashboard is attractive, with a novel material covering it that is certainly more interesting than the usual soft-touch treatment most modern cars get. The seats are comfortable, particularly the back rest which is worthy of note for being upright with a well placed headrest to keep neck and back ache at bay. Top of the range models with the Exec pack get decent quality leather seats which are equally as comfortable as the fabric ones.
The centre stack is styled well, and the buttons and controls are tactile and pleasing to operate. While the materials aren’t quite as good as those on a Volkswagen Golf or a Ford Focus, they don’t feel cheap and the interior is well put together.
The cabin is quite well insulated. At lower speeds, such as around town, there’s little noise intrusion, but wind noise and engine noise are more noticeable at higher speeds, particularly motorways. Even so it’s not bad enough to be distracting or to cause you to turn up the radio volume or speak more loudly.
The audio quality is reasonable, even on the lowest spec LS model. Depending on trim level the screen at the top of the centre stack is different. The highest trim LTZ with sat nav has a full colour infotainment screen that’s easy to use and attractive on the eye. Mid-spec models get a bi-colour graphical display for the stereo and air conditioning (which is standard throughout the range) and lower spec models get a really rather poor display that is dim, small and difficult to read.
Boot space is 413 litres (with the seats in place) in the hatchback, versus a larger 450 for the saloon, but when you consider the larger load aperture, folding seats and removable parcel shelf the added practicality shows through - load space can be raised to almost 900 litres.
Standard equipment from launch (July 2011):
LS comes with electric front windows, follow-me-home lights, electric door mirrors and an auxiliary jack for listening to your own music. It’s only available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and manual gearbox, and, as you’d hope for a car called Cruze, it has cruise control, as do all models in the range.
LT adds steering wheel mounted audio controls, electric windows all around, bigger wheels, parking sensors and a leather steering wheel and gear lever. With a 1.6-litre petrol engine the LT trim level probably represents the best value for money. The diesel engine is available with this trim level, too.
LTZ models get Bluetooth, a USB port, automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers, among other things. This version is available with the 1.8-litre petrol and the 2.0-litre diesel engine.
LTZ Exec Pack is the top model and comes with leather, sat nav and heated seats as standard, and is only available with the 2.0-litre diesel engine in both manual and automatic variants, costing £19,295 or £20,295 respectively.
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What's the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback (2011 – 2015) like to drive?
There are several engines available – 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre petrols and a 2.0-litre diesel. We took the smallest engine for a drive first, coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The smooth auto is quiet and changes when you’d do so yourself in a manual, but when coupled to the 1.6-litre engine performance isn’t what you’d call exciting.
The 1.6-litre engine produces 124PS, but peak power doesn’t come in until high up the rev range at 6400rpm, meaning to get the car moving with any pace it needs to be pushed hard, and it sounds coarse under stress. However for the majority of people the 1.6-litre would be more than adequate, particularly when coupled to a manual gearbox rather than the automatic.
The 1.8-litre, while more powerful with 141PS, delivers power in the same way as the 1.6-litre, but it responds to being pushed hard in a more sonorous, enjoyable way. However, the two petrol engines aren’t what you’d call worlds apart, and under normal driving conditions feel fairly similar.
The diesel option is the most powerful and eager of the engines available, producing 163PS and 360Nm of torque. Peak torque comes in low down the rev range too, making for a strong performer that’s most at home on A-roads, B-roads and motorways, more so than either petrol. At low revs it’s quiet, but it becomes audible, much as the petrol engines do, at higher RPMs.
The ride quality in the Cruze hatchback is very good, even on the larger 17-inch wheels. It glides quietly and comfortably over all but the most severe of bumps and feels stable and safe, even at high speeds. The steering is nicely weighted and does an adequate job of relaying the behaviour of the front wheels. Handling is predictable and precise at normal road speeds, although the diesel will understeer very slightly if driven hard out of bends in wet conditions.
There’s nothing exceptionally entertaining about the Cruze hatchback but that’s not the point – it’s relaxing, safe and stable, much the same as the saloon. The two petrol engines have the same fuel consumption, at 42.8mpg, and CO2 emissions are similar – the 1.6-litre makes 153g/km and the 1.8-litre emits 155g/km.
The diesel is capable of 54.2mpg and produces 147g/km of CO2. That means road tax of £165 per year for the petrols and £130 for the diesel. Those figures are for manual transmission models, automatics are slightly less efficient and make more CO2.
|1.4||52 mpg||9.3–14.1 s||125–134 g/km|
|1.4 Turbo||44–49 mpg||9.3–10.5 s||134–149 g/km|
|1.6||41 mpg||12.8 s||157 g/km|
|1.6 Automatic||39 mpg||13.0 s||169 g/km|
|1.7 VCDi 110||63–72 mpg||9.8–13.0 s||104–117 g/km|
|1.7 VCDi 130||63 mpg||10.2 s||117 g/km|
|1.8||43–44 mpg||10.1–11.3 s||151–155 g/km|
|1.8 Automatic||38–40 mpg||10.4–11.4 s||166–174 g/km|
|2.0 VCDi||50 mpg||8.5 s||147 g/km|
|2.0 VCDi Automatic||45 mpg||9.8 s||167 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback (2011 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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