The Chevrolet Cruze has always been hampered by rather average powerplants. The standard 1.6-litre petrol engine has a workmanlike note and feels anaemic, and even the 1.8-litre variant (no longer available), which has more oomph, still lacks refinement. The lack of an optimal motor is a pity, because for a bread-and-butter car, the Cruze actually has a chassis that’s surprisingly nimble around corners.
It’s the same story for the Cruze 5 Hatchback. Again, the potential of the well-sorted chassis isn’t realised, for the car can only be had with the aforementioned 1.6-litre unit. Die-hard fans of the Cruze, however, will be glad to know that their prayers have been answered in the form of the Cruze Station Wagon.
Said estate is powered by a 2-litre turbo-diesel motor that churns out 163bhp and 360Nm – a massive 41bhp and 205Nm more compared to what the 1.6-litre petrol unit can muster. Not surprisingly, its performance figures put the Cruze Hatchback in the shade. Chevy’s claim of a zero-to-100km/h sprint in 9.8 seconds – a full three seconds quicker than the Cruze 5 – is very believable.
Mash the throttle to the floor, and a powerful wave of torque sends this station wagon surging forward with compelling force. Who cares about the agricultural-sounding diesel clatter? Overtaking is a breeze, and in fact, the output now overwhelms the chassis, which seems inadequate for this level of performance.
That’s a good thing, though, since the Cruze Station Wagon was meant more for load-hauling duties. Against the Cruze 5, which has a 413-litre boot capacity that expands to 883 litres with the rear seats folded, this estate offers 500 litres with the rear seats up and a whopping 1500 litres with the rear bench folded. That’s more than enough space for a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four.
Apart from its enhanced practicality, the Cruze Station Wagon looks better than the Cruze 5. The former’s longer lines are more aesthetically pleasing, and the rump is definitely more attractive than the latter’s oddly designed rear end. Bizarrely (and inconveniently) enough, however, the Cruze estate doesn’t come with steering wheel-mounted audio controls, which are standard in the hatchback.
Unfortunately, due to the current COE climate and special tax levied on diesel passenger cars, the Cruze Station Wagon is likely to remain a niche product.
This article was first published in the October 2013 issue of Torque.
2013 Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon 2.0 (A)
ENGINE 1998cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbo-diesel
MAX POWER 163bhp at 3800rpm
MAX TORQUE 360Nm at 1750-2750rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 9.8 seconds
TOP SPEED 208km/h
CONSUMPTION 16.9km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 154g/km
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