Andre De Kock
Motorsport Editor
2 minute read
26 Feb 2014
10:00 pm

New powerplant rejuvenates Chev Cruze

Andre De Kock

The Chevrolet Cruze Sedan has been around South African car parks for a number of years – to the point where it morphs into the background, unseen and unremarkable.

That is about to change, with the vehicle becoming Chevrolet’s first turbocharged passenger car.

Available since the beginning of the month, the Cruze Hatch now sports a 1.4 litre turbocharged Ecotec petrol engine, producing 103kW of power between 4900 and 6000rpm, along with 200Nm of torque between 1850 and 4900rpm.

Featuring start/stop technology, the four-cylinder unit has a dual overhead camshaft with variable valve timing and a multi-point injection fuel system.

All of which means that the new Cruze 1.4T LS Sedan is considerably more sprightly.

Being old and decrepid these days, this writer drove the light blue test vehicle in a sensible, boring manner … most of the time.

Its performance characteristics suits that style – the turbocharger only comes into play at over 4000rpm, and then it adds

an almost gentle extra push, rather than the surge of power that more radical blown four-cylinders produce.

Thus, it is no racer, but it is extremely efficient in other ways.

Hooked to the engine is a six-speed gearbox, perfectly matched to the power characteristics.

Provided one changes up at 4000rpm, it is possible to keep the vehicle pulling well on a limited amount of fuel all day. We made no effort to drive the car economically, and spent most of our time with it within city confines, yet, at the end of the week, the car returned a remarkable overall fuel usage figure of 6.1 litres per 100km.

The Cruze handles well around corners – hardly surprising, since it is fitted with electronic stability control and traction control.

Should one’s driving ineptitude beat those, there is a four-channel anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution to save the day.

Finally, if you absolutely must crash, the Cruze has front and rear crush zones engineered to collapse in a controlled fashion, maintaining the integrity of the cabin, plus three-point seatbelts and six standard airbags. A collapsible pedal assembly also reduces the risk of injuries to the driver’s legs and feet.

The car is not imposing, but the LS model does boast 17-inch alloy wheels, plus LED side indicators integrated into the door mirrors. It seats four adults comfortably, while the luggage compartment is surprisingly roomy.

In test mode, the Cruze 1,4 LS Sedan will cost R245 000.

All Chevrolet Cruze derivatives are sold inclusive of a 5-year/

120 000 km warranty and a 3-year/

60 000 km service plan.