Auto Review: 2014 Holden Cruze Z Series

THE first thing you’ll notice about this car review is that it says this is the 2014 model, but in fact this is the current model, released last year, and not yet superseded by a new Z series.

The second thing you’ll notice is there is only one photograph, and that’s because we had our camera gear damaged during the review of this car, but alas the car had nothing to do with it.

Now onto the Cruze Z series, which is a replacement for an existing superseded model, which gets some much needed upgrades, which make it a much better value for money proposition than the model it replaced.

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Powered by a 1.8 litre engine that puts out 104kW of power and 175Nm of torque, the Z series includes 17-inch alloy wheels, special floor mats, Z series badging, and a rear boot lip spoiler and sill plates, along with the MyLink infotainment system, leather appointed seats, push button start, a reversing camera and parking sensors. Oh, and if you own an iPhone, you can marry up with Apple’s Siri Eyes-Free voice recognition and the Pandora music app to boost the fun.

On the plus side, it’s a great looking car, it sits nice at the kerb, and rides really well in terms of comfort at the wheel. It scores big on safety too, with a five star rating, six airbags, electronic traction control, ABS, and brake assist.

But to be honest, that’s where our love of this car kind of hits a small brick wall.

Now more than a year old since it’s return to the market, the Holden is starting to show it’s age and there was a lot we didn’t really like about it. It struggled to climb hills for one, and we felt like we were ringing it’s neck every time we drove up the winding mountain road from West Gosford to Kariong (Exhaust Notes Australia is based on the NSW Central Coast).

Put simply, the automatic gearbox is clumsy when coupled with the average at best non-turbo 1.8 litre four cylinder motor (that really is past its used by date).

The driver cockpit space too, particularly if you are taller, really struggles to feel roomy. I found myself constantly knocking the big but badly positioned air conditioning controls with my left knee and struggled to find a comfortable seating position that didn’t have me oddly outstretched just to avoid knocking things.

Capped price servicing is a major bonus on this car, and really adds to the value, but things like average fuel economy and some much better rivals in the same market space will add to the confusion for Holden loyalists.

Although it hits the market at $24,190 in its auto form and just under $22,000 in its manual form (plus on-roads in both cases), the Cruze has some stiff competition from the Hyundai i30 and the Mazda 3, which sit either side of the Holden on price, but are both new, more updated models.

Our test vehicle was provided by Holden Australia. To find out more about the 2014 Holden Cruze Z Series, contact your Holden dealer.

Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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