Though it’s officially called a small car the Holden Cruze is quite large and has good leg
and shoulder room for four adults. Three children in the back and parents in the front all
have room to move.
Cruze in sedan format arrived in Australia in June 2009. The five-door hatchback went on
sale in November 2011. The revised rear end to create the hatchback was virtually all
done in Australia and is sold in many countries globally. A station wagon further added to
body options when it arrived in January 2013.
Comfort is generally good and noise, vibration and harshness are well suppressed. Rough
roads do challenge the suspension at times, but for its class Cruze is acceptable.
Cruze has a fair bit of Australian design in its style and some Aussie changes under the
bonnet. Most Cruzes were built in Holden’s Elizabeth, South Australia factory from early
2011. Prior to that they came from a GM (Daewoo) factory in South Korea.
Quality of build wasn’t particularly good in the Cruzes built by Daewoo. The Holden units
are better, but starting from a low base meant it was hard to get it up to the quality of big
Holden Cruze is powered by a variety of engines: a 1.8-litre petrol engine that’s barely got
enough power; a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with good grunt. And a semi-sporty unit in the form
of a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol.
The Cruze 1.4 comes with the bonus of a more sophisticated suspension setup and is the
best of the bunch by quite margin.
The early turbo-diesel engine in the Cruze were on the crude side being too noisy. They
also had more turbo lag than is pleasant. Changes to diesels in 2011 made it significantly
better, but it still feels like an old-style unit in some ways.
Cruze was one of the first cars discontinued as part of the shutdown of local Holden
production, with the last one running down the line early in October 2016. Some may not
have been sold as a new car until early 2017.
There are Holden dealers just about everywhere in Australia, though you may not be able
to get uncommon parts for the Cruze in remote locations. Generally, parts can be shipped
to the outback within a couple of working days.
Cruze is reasonably easy for good amateur mechanics to do routine work. Keep clear of
safety items unless you really know what you’re doing. A workshop manual is a wise
Insurance charges are often lower than average because a lot of components are made in
Premiums don’t vary hugely from company to company, but it’s still worth shopping
around. Make sure you compare the fine print on what you’re being offered.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
These weren’t the best cars every to come to the Holden lineup. So, it makes sense to
have a full inspection by a professional, after making initial checks to the best of your
Look for uneven tyre wear, particularly on the front wheels. It could mean hard driving
and/or that the wheels have been kerbed and knocked out of alignment.
Drive one on a bumpy road and listen for squeaks and rattles caused by poor quality
components and the fact the Cruze was built down to a price.
We heard complaints of air conditioner breaking down in the earlier models. Check that it
works and try it on all settings during your test drive.
Make sure the engine starts within a second or so of it turning over.
Diesels are slower to start than petrols, but shouldn’t take more than three seconds. Any
longer and there could be expensive problems on the way.
After running the engine on a light load for a few minutes floor the throttle and make sure it
picks up with a minimum of fuss.
Automatic transmissions should change gear promptly and not hunt overmuch from gear
Budget on paying from $3000 to $6000 for most 2009-2012 Holden Cruze variants; $5000
to $9000 for a 2012 SRi V or a 2016 Equipe; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2014 CDX or a 2015
CD; $8000 to $13,000 for a 2014 CDX Sportwagon; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2015 SRi V;
and $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2015 CDX Sportwagon;
CAR BUYING TIP
In these days of very long waiting times for new cars dealers are often asking far higher
prices for used cars. So, it may be smart to hold off on buying a used car if you’re able to
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: