Holden Cruze SRi-V 2015 new car review

The Holden Cruze SRi-V is a bit like Dolly Parton: there’s a lot to talk about at the front.

Darren Cottingham
Darren Cottingham
Expert reviewer | Auto Media Group

The Holden Cruze SRi-V is a bit like Dolly Parton: there’s a lot to talk about at the front. The new facelift has seen a lot of cosmetic surgery that’s resulted in what can be described as ‘conversation starting’.

The good
  • Strong engine
  • Good safety and technology package
  • Excellent handling
The not-so-good
  • Thirsty
  • Blind spots

On the road

We last had a Cruze (SRi) when I drove to Fieldays in Hamilton in it. At the time I called it the ‘perfect second car’ – it was a no-fuss, solid performer that you might not drive 9 to 5, but perhaps would run to the shops in it or pick up the kids from school. The SRi-V is the model up, so it has more features – quite a large number of them for the SRi-V’s sub-$40,000 price.

But in 2013 the Cruze didn’t have to contend with the Mazda3 which has pushed the bar higher and higher with SkyActiv technology; now, despite the MyLink entertainment system with Bluetooth streaming, app support (Pandora, Stitcher and Siri Eyes-Free) and satellite navigation on a 7-inch touchscreen, the very supportive bucket seats, excellent head and legroom, and an excellent ride and handling, the Cruze’s 1.6-litre 132kW turbo engine still looks thirsty (I didn’t get it below 10l/100km in my time with it).

Let’s look at the positive: the 132kW engine is very responsive with plenty of overtaking performance and keen pickup off the line. Every time you move the throttle you’ll hear a subtle whoosh of turbo noise, particularly in first and second gear of the six-speed automatic gearbox, and under acceleration the four-cylinder engine audibly lets you know it’s got some power without the thin sound that those types of engines can sometimes have.

The steering is positive, consistent and quite satisfying to have control of – drivers that frequently use winding roads will appreciate this; there’s a level of confidence in the steering that you don’t get with a Toyota Corolla. The cornering performance is flat and it bites down into the tarmac with confidence.

Inside and out

There’s also a very useful sized boot of 445 litres, even if the aperture and gooseneck hinges do thwart attempts to get really big things in. I managed to collect a second-hand table football set and get it home without too many problems once the legs were off. There’s a bag hook on either side, too. Interior storage options are aplenty – large door pockets, a large(ish) glove box, a shallow covered compartment on the top of the dashboard and a central binnacle with USB/aux connectors are the main options.

There’s a very useful cavity next to the handbrake for your keys, phone or a bottle, but it’s unlined so things slide around. The remainder of the notable features are keyless entry and start, heated front seats, reversing camera, remote start, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a 5-star ANCAP crash test rating.

There are a few detail problems. The brake pedal is just a fraction too high; the B pillars are so thick that I often felt I needed to look three times at intersections to make sure nothing was in the blind spot; and the seat adjustment isn’t brilliant.


Rather than ‘here you come again’, there’s a bit of ‘why’d you come in here lookin’ like that’ coming on. From the back and side I really like it, but the front…well, there are just too many lines. Whereas in 2013 the whole car was understated but coherently designed, the plastic surgery on the front has gone too far.

But let’s not let a few odd aesthetics spoil the party – if it did, the Nissan Juke would never sell. The Cruze SRi-V, while being a little thirsty, does provide a quite sporty package with its direct steering, flat cornering, engine performance, bucket seats and technology package. Also, I managed to mention four Dolly Parton songs in this review – did you spot them all?

Note: This was reviewed as a new vehicle.

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