Chevrolet Cruze in India Review

')">The General and by this I mean General Motors have been very busy in India last year. The year 2010 saw them launch the Chevy Beat along with the Chevrolet Cruze in India. Both featured General Motors new look in lines with their international cars. Both the cars shook their respective segments mainly due to their looks, features and the stunning price point. Now, this got me thinking since I remember that we at Indiandrives haven’t reviewed the Chevrolet Cruze or the the Chevrolet Beat for that matter. So, I put my keys down for the former and had my way on it. The very next day, a brand new red colored Chevrolet Cruze was standing below our office. Looking at the car in flesh made me affirm my choice of picking it over the Chevrolet Beat in terms of flashiness. General Motors India’s advertisement for the Chevrolet Cruze on the telly also is a low key affair with the car coming out of a cloud of dust with a growling sound. Anyways, getting down to business and here comes the review of the Chevrolet Cruze on Indiandrives.

Looks

If looks were the only deciding factor for success of a car in India, then the Chevrolet Cruze would win its hands down. It has what one would call, a road presence and also a feel good factor of having arrived in life in style. The large wrap around head lamps along with the bold front grille do show that this car means serious business. The Chevy bowtie adorning the grille of the car has now become somewhat of a trademark and is now more associated with all those higher up brand logos. The air dams are somewhat subtle compared to the grille. The front bumper has elegant fog lamps in it.

The 16 inch alloy wheels adorning this car gell with its bold look. They are radials and are puncture resistant. The coupe like sloping roofline also ensures that this car is quite a looker from the side profile. The coupe like silhouette blends neatly into the Chevy Optra like boot. There is a big chrome bar acting as the boot opener. Those split tail lamps remind one of the Honda Civic. They are of the clear lens variety.

Interiors

Lest, I missed out, we always opt for the top end versions of any car that we test at Indiandrives. The Chevrolet Cruze that we had is no different and it was the top of the line Chevrolet Cruze LTZ. This car is based on the global Delta2 platform by GM and is a replacement for almost all of the cars having the Chevy bowtie globally. Been wider and longer than most of its counterparts doesn’t necessarily translate to space inside the cabin. The front seats are very comfortable and the tilt adjustable steering wheel added to the feel good factor. I could easily squirm myself into the seat. The upholstery is all leather covered and the dashboard is a dual toned one.

The bold stance from inside translates to a curved one inside. The steering wheel boasts of audio controls and also cruise control. Speak of cruise control in a Cruze. The climatronic AC, rear parking sensors, Electro-Chromatic Rear View Mirror,mood sensing interior lights, Rain Sensitive Windscreen Wipers, Center Armrest with storage, Illuminated glove box, all powered windows with one touch operation and many more make this one of the most feature rich cars in its segment. The quality of materials used is also good however not as much premium as the Skoda Laura.

The rear seats, partly due to the sloping roof line, don’t feel as spacious as one would expect them to be. Three passengers would definitely be rubbing shoulders especially if they are broad shouldered. Under thigh support and leg space however are excellent. The seats can be split 60:40 and this adds to the convenience factor when loading anything in the otherwise 450 liters boot space. The loading lip is a bit high however a flat bed compensates for it.

Handling and ride quality

General Motors India were quite clear when they commissioned the Chevrolet Cruze in India. The ride quality was given precedence over anything else. This, the Chevrolet Cruze delivers in spades. Be it anything, the car just smothers it. It is however the smaller of the bumps or obstacles that hurt its ride quality. Nevertheless, it was all smooth sailing for me inside the cabin. I took turns sitting behind the wheel and then sitting behind while I was been driven around by one of my co-workers. Been a 6 footer, the back seat did look sort of snug to me but then its okay. There is an arm rest protruding out of the middle seat passenger’s space or rather to put it in other ways, when there is no middle seat passenger, then you have an arm rest for yourself.

Now, with me taking charge of the driving to assess its handling qualities, the Chevrolet Cruze in India was quite a handful. It had all those trappings of been a good handler like the Honda Civic. Due to its sort of low stance, body roll is well controlled. Like the Honda Civic, one has to be real careful over speed breakers or would have to go across over them to avoid scraping the underbelly of the car. There is however a slight more reluctance than the Honda while going around corners. The beefy tyres do their bit of not breaking traction easily as do other electronic aids. Overall, a fun to drive car but it does have its limits.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

The Chevrolet Cruze in India is offered with only a single diesel engine option. It is the same 1991cc engine 4 cylinder variable Geometry Turbo Common Rail Direct Injection one found in the Chevrolet Captiva. This engine makes 150 Bhp @ 4000 rpm with about 320 Nm of torque coming in as low as 2,000 rpm. This car is offered with both manual and automatic transmissions. As all of you must have known by now that I love manuals just because I am habituated to them and this model is also a manual one. The 5 speed manual transmission is also one of the better units from the Chevy brigade. It is slightly notchy but then it slots into gear perfectly. The auto transmission is the same one as offered in the US and it is a 6 speed one. I cannot comment on it more since I haven’t driven it.

The Chevrolet Cruze in India races from 0-100 kmph in only 9.37 seconds. This makes it one of the fastest accelerating sedans in its category. Turbo lag is pronounced but not so much as in the Chevrolet Optra Magnum which also shares the same engine. The power delivery isn’t linear and there is nothing happening below 1,800 rpm. Once you get past this lag, there is an instant power on tap which, given the right gear, would induce some neck snapping acceleration. The top speed that I could manage to wring out of this car was 183 kmph. The engine is very quiet in its operation and so is the overall NVH inside the cabin.

Brake pedal modulation is also optimum with the Chevrolet Cruze displaying a sort of composure expected out of it, even under hard braking. The all wheel disc brakes are aided by EBD, ABS and Electronic Stability Control. The safety part is catered by front seat belts with pretensioners, tilt adjustable head rests, collapsible steering column, rear hatch emergency safety exit, 2 air bags and side impact beams.

Fuel efficiency is stellar with this engine as we have seen in the Chevrolet Captiva and also Chevrolet Optra Magnum. In the city cycle, I managed to wring out 13.6 kmpl out of it with the AC at full blast(now ask me, who needs AC in winter?). Out on the open highway, these figures translated to 17.2 kmpl. This easily makes the big and heavy Chevrolet one of the most fuel efficient cars in its category, the Skoda Laura included.

Verdict

The Chevrolet Cruze in India is an all important model for General Motors India to resurrect its fortunes and to capture a market share. Gauging by the public response to this car, it seems that GMI have got a winner in their show rooms. It is stylish, beautifully crafted on the inside, feature rich, somewhat spacious, has got a powerful engine and is also fuel efficient. It is also available both in manual and automatic guise. The downsides are the not so impressive quality of materials used, improper utilization of space and only one engine option. Its main USP however would be the pricing. The price of the Chevrolet Cruze in India, for the Chevrolet LT starts at Rs 10,58,335 (ex- show room, Mumbai) whereas the top of the line Chevrolet Cruze LTZ retails at Rs 12,197,23 (ex- show room, Mumbai). The very desirable Chevrolet Cruze LTZ AT is priced competitively at Rs 13,402,14 (ex- show room, Mumbai).

Technical specifications of Chevrolet Cruze LTZ

Engine details: Inline 4 Cylinder, VCDi
Engine Displacement(cc): 1991
No. of Cylinders: 4
Maximum Power: 150 Bhp @ 4000rpm
Maximum Torque: 320 Nm @ 2600 rpm
Turbo Charger: yes
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Transmission details: 5 Speed Manual/ 6 speed automatic
Front Suspension: McPherson Strut with Linear Cylindrical Coil Spring and Tubular Stabilizer Bar system
Rear Suspension: Mini-Block Coil Spring, Compound Crank Type with Non-Linear,
Shock Absorbers Type: Gas Pressure Twin Tube Type
Steering details: Hydraulic power assisted with Tilt & Telescopic function
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.5 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brake Type: Solid Discs
Mileage-City (kmpl): 13.6
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 17.2
Fuel Type: Diesel
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 62
Emission Norm Compliance: Euro IV
Tyre Size: 205/60R16
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial Tyre
Wheel Size: 6.5Jx16 Alloy
Boot space: 450 liters
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 4

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