In passenger cars, ‘small’ is where the sales action is and diversification is now clear with wagon models appearing from most European brands to supplement existing hatchback and sedan models. Holden has joined the race with the smartly-styled Sportwagon version of the Cruze.
Sportwagon is a clever addition to the Cruze lineup. Already acknowledged as a competent all-rounder in the small car segment, the Cruze range of hatchback, sedan and now Sportwagon gives Holden some impressive artillery in this growing segment.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon just makes sense really – like other similar small wagons. For both family buyers and commercial drivers the extra versatility of the wagon version of a handy small car makes for easy operation in crowded urban environments and the lower fuel consumption delivers hip-pocket advantages over larger wagons and SUVs.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX Overview
Car Showroom tested the range-topper of the Holden Cruze Sportwagon team, the well-equipped CDX model (priced at $29,040) which boasts amongst its extras leather seats and nice 17-inch alloy wheels. We’ve long been fans of the Holden Cruze – hallmark quality from Holden’s Elizabeth, South Australia manufacturing facility backed by local engineering expertise combine to deliver a small car ideally suited to local conditions.
Add handy extra cargo space from the good-looking Sportwagon design – it easily handled a boys golfing weekend – well you get the picture…Holden Cruze Sportwagon is ‘versatile’ with a capital ‘V’.
You can get the Holden Cruze Sportwagon in lower grade CD form with either the 1.8-litre petrol engine or the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, but the CDX is only sold with 1.8-litre petrol power.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX Engine
Holden Cruze Sportwagon employs the familiar Cruze driveline – the 104kW/176Nm naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine driving through the six-speed automatic transmission (CDX model is not available with the five-speed manual).
That’s much the same as say Volkswagen’s similarly priced Golf Wagon (90kW/200Nm from the German’s turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine).
Sure the Cruze Sportwagon is no Commodore SS Sportwagon but the 1.8-litre four-cylinder is a fuss-free worker around town with reasonable acceleration and, even with four blokes and golf paraphernalia on-board, saw better than 8.0l/100kms on our trip to the links.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX The Interior
Open the tailgate of the Cruze Sportwagon and you’re in for a surprise – clever Holden design has provided this small wagon with a long and deep cargo area which handled our four golf bags and other bits-n-pieces comfortably. Even with the 60:40 split-fold rear seat in-place the Holden Cruze Sportwagon affords 686-litres of cargo capacity, but fold the seat entirely and you get 1478-litres.
Otherwise it’s the handy Cruze interior we know so well – quite spacious front and rear and plenty of storage bins. Of course in the range-topping CDX guise we tested you get nice leather seats (heated fronts), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, climate control auto air-conditioning and some extra chrome highlights.
Instrumentation is the usual Cruze layout with blue lighting and audio is a six-speaker CD system with the usual connectivity and there’s a centre-mounted screen with graphic information for the audio, climate control and outside temperature. Audio remote and cruise control functions are on the steering wheel spokes and we continue to like the look of Holden Cruze’s instrument binnacle – the twin cylinder layout is modern, stylish and downright sporty.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX Exterior & Styling
The Holden-headed styling team has executed a slick design for the Sportwagon version of the Cruze. Holden’s drive to make the Sportwagon a successful member of the Cruze team is not without good reason - ongoing success of the entire Cruze range provides a crucial two-model strategy for the plant in Elizabeth, South Australia.
Wheelbase for the Cruze Sportwagon is identical to the rest of the range at 2685mm, but naturally the wagon version is the longest at 4675mm overall. As we outlined earlier, Holden has used that extra length wisely in terms of cargo space, but on the outside it must be said the Holden Cruze Sportwagon actually looks more substantial than its dimensions suggest.
There’s a strong on-road presence which harks back to the larger Commodore Sportwagon and we maintain the front-end styling of the Cruze is amongst the best in the small car segment – the muscular headlights, large air intake and prominent Holden ‘Lion’ all blending to provide a more purposeful look than some rivals.
In profile the Sportwagon changes between the C-pillar and D-pillar are well done with the sophisticated window layout highlighted by a pronounced upward curve at the rear. The 17-inch alloy wheels of the CDX model as tested provide a further sporty appearance.
At the rear, Holden has provided the Cruze Sportback a modern, contemporary look with nice tail-lights and low-opening one-piece tail-gate. That low cargo door is important as the Cruze cargo area is pleasingly low and deep – appreciated by four tired, weather-beaten, thirsty golfers lugging their clubs on-board at the end of a long day.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX On The Road
As you might have guessed our week in the Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX included the usual Car Showroom test routine plus a buddy’s golf weekend. One of our golfing team has the dimensions to pack into the front row for the Wallabies and the sight of him plus the rest of us emerging from the Cruze at our early morning coffee stop brought an enquiry from a cappuccino sipper. “Yes,” we said “This is the wagon version of the Holden Cruze and yes, all of us plus our golf gear fitted easily…now if you don’t mind we’ll take our lattes with an extra shot and make it snappy ‘cause we’ve got an early tee-time.”
So we had two cracks at the twisty stuff – one unladen and one fully loaded. No changes underneath – Sportwagon running the same MacPherson strut front/compound crank axle rear suspension as we know from other Holden Cruze models, but gaining the electric power steering system also fitted to Cruze SRi and SRi-V models.
Both times we had to commend Holden for the sure-footedness of the Cruze Sportwagon. That’s a combination of well-sorted suspension calibration and grippy 215/50R17-91V tyres. Maybe not quite as crisp as the Germans on initial turn-in, but every bit as good for mid-corner balance and feedback at all speeds.
Refinement levels were generally good, but at very high engine speeds, the 1.8-litre does get a tad noisy.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX Challenges
Under bonnet changes are in the wind for Holden Cruze as part of the 2014 model year updates due within a few months and these might overcome the hard-working 1.8-litre. Also a reversing camera should be standard on all wagons.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX Verdict
Holden should buy the rights to Prince’s hit song “You’ve Got The Look” – because that’s the department where Cruze crushes its rivals. With the handsome Cruze sedan/hatchback as a starting point, stylists have delivered a wagon version which is modern, substantial and cohesive.
Inside is a space family (and golfers like us!) will appreciate. Same for the ‘road warriors’ whose vehicles frequently do double-duty as compact load-luggers during the week and family wagon at the weekend.
And the Pricing Department at Holden HQ has played its role – our $29,040 CDX model was nicely equipped.
Holden Cruze Sportwagon The Competition
Volkswagen Golf wagon in Trendline grade automatic is priced at $29,490 and is a pearler. Don’t be put-off by the chassis being from the superseded Golf range – this is a fine European compact wagon.
Also from Volkswagen, the Octavia wagon is stickered at $29,290 (90TSI automatic). A bit dated in the looks department but the badge is the fastest-growing automotive brand in Europe.