Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon first UK drive

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon Slowly but surely, Chevrolet’s dreams for the UK are being realised and the arrival of the new Cruze Station Wagon is a significant step along that road.

Its UK range is gradually being widened although it does not intend to compete in every sector. But it has achieved a rise of over 16 per cent in UK new car registrations so far year as its 86 dealers prepare for latest addition to the Cruze line-up, the five door Station Wagon.

Cruze is Chevrolet’s biggest selling model around the world and in the wheel tracks of the saloon and hatch the Station Wagon will bring added practicality with a luggage area capable of taking nearly 1,500-litres when it’s not being used as a five-seater.

It is about the same size as an Astra or Focus estate but comes with a high specification from under £15,400. It uses the familiar 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines but also is the first to use their new 130PS 1.7-litre turbodiesel unit matched to a six-speed manual gearbox, but there is no automatic transmission option available.

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon LT trim comes with air conditioning, multi-mode entertainment system, fully adjustable steering column, powered windows and mirrors, parking sensors and roof rails while the LTZ adds climate control, rear camera, electric power steering, and larger diameter alloys among other things. You can also specify LTZ with Sat Nav which brings in a new instruments display.

Chevrolet UK’s new Managing Director Andy Higgins says while the brand is not so well known in Britain it is the fourth largest in the world and sold 4.77 million cars last years, 70 per cent of those outside the USA in over 130 countries around the globe.

The brand, part of the GM family, has launched ten new cars in 18 months with more planned so Chevrolet will cover about 70 per cent of the market. It will be raising brand awareness with deals like sponsorship of Manchester United for nine years and intends to develop its relationship with customers and dealers after seeing a significant sales increase this year, said Mr Higgins.

“The C-segment where the Cruze Station Wagon is competing is very important in the UK and estate sales account for about ten per cent of this sector,” he added. “It’s going to appeal to families and fleet and business users because it’s so practical, it’s very modern in design and has excellent chassis dynamics.”

Chevrolet anticipate the diesel models, including the new 1.7-litre unit, will take 60 per cent of Cruze Station Wagon sales and the best selling version will be the LT.
 
First impressions.

The new 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine is the perfect capacity for the Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon because it packs a useful punch from low to medium revs so it has plenty of pulling power to cope with anything thrown into the back of this practical five-door estate.

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon With a low knee-high loadbed, sensible plastic lined sides, 60/40 split back seats, luggage cover and net it has all most people could want or would be delighted to have in an estate costing from about £15,400 and topping at under £21,000.

A C-segment car about the same as the Astra or Focus estates, the new Cruze Station Wagon is roomy for four, slightly tight for five, but it offers good headroom throughout and it coped well with a variety of roads ranging from motorways to B-class roads over the Derbyshire Dales which made up the launch test route to the east of Manchester.

From getaway there is a very slight hesitancy but that quickly passes and the power smoothly flows which encourages you to change up fairly quickly in this manual-only powertrain. You can have LT and LTZ trim levels but there is no automatic option, which may not please every potential buyer.

The fifth and sixth gears are really for cruising speeds above 40mph and letting it sink lower makes the 1.7 turbodiesel noticeably struggle but at the other end of the performance envelope it is utterly composed on the motorway.

Even the engine is not particularly noisy through the gears, and in fact you are more likely to appreciate the road rumbles from the wheels and tyres.

The slickness of the powertrain is matched by the direct electric power steering and well balanced brakes underfoot and the parking brake, which is really set up for left hand drive markets, holds well on slopes.

Secondary controls are mostly on stalks and the wheel-spokes and the straightforward instruments are immediately in front of the driver and give very clear readouts. After some fiddling, because it’s not as intuitive as it might be, the on-board computer showed we averaged 45.5mpg over 111 miles, still some way off the claimed combined 62.7mpg, and we were not driving particularly hard.

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon That said, it was an easy and relaxing drive and when you look at the price of the newcomer and what you get, apart from missing out on an automatic option on the new diesel, the Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon does a good job. It comes with a strong and simple five years warranty for enhanced residual value figures, which is good for both private and business buyers.

As private buyers are turning more towards Station Wagon or estate cars, the new Cruze is a very welcome addition to the choice available in this sector and its sharp pricing will make rivals take notice.

MILESTONES. Chevrolet Cruze 1.7 VCDi 130 Station Wagon LTZ with Nav. Price: £20,230.
Engine/transmission: 1.7-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 128bhp, 221lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm, six speed manual. Performance: 124mph, 0-60mph 10 seconds, 62.7mpg Combined Cycle but 45.5mpg on test, CO2 119g/km, VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £30 per annum year two onwards, BIK company car tax 17%.

nsurance group: 21E. Luggage/load capacity: 500 to 1,478-litres. For: Good powertrain, roomy and well riding, competitive equipment list, smart styling. Against: No automatic option for this diesel variant, road noise intrusion, indifferent fuel economy. Robin Roberts    Miles Better News Agency

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