The all-new Chevrolet Cruze arrives in Singapore with guns blazing. It is the so-called New GM’s first post-bankruptcy product, it is designed and built to European engineering standards, and goes on sale in an impressive new Chevy Centre in Ubi. The car is on the right track, with over 100 orders placed in the launch week, most of them for the 1.6-litre auto as tested here. But the Cruze still has its work cut out, with its two chief rivals in Singapore setting the pace in the “shoestring” saloon segment.
The Hyundai Avante is Singapore’s best-selling car so far this year, overtaking the ever popular Toyota Corolla. It might not be the best saloon in driving terms (the Altis, for example, is more comfortable), but the Avante is certainly excellent value, offering a lot of metal for the money. Having said that, its cousin from the Kia camp provides even more car for the money, especially in terms of equipment, while the Cruze is a larger, fresher and arguably cooler alternative to the Avante.
The Cerato Forte is Kia’s finest hour to date. Almost Germanic in its stylishness, generously equipped for its price, generally well built and perfectly practical for the typical nuclear family, the Forte is possibly the most complete car in its class. The icing on the cake baked by Kia is the decent performance on the road. Perhaps the only problem with the Forte is deciding which of the 11 colours to choose. This is less of an issue with the Avante and Cruze, which come with a choice of nine and six paint jobs respectively.
Now let us referee the battle among our Pewter Grey Cruze, Ember Red Avante and Santorini Blue Cerato Forte.