Chevrolet Cruze SW

11 Jul, 2012 4:45pm Luke Madden

We get behind the wheel of the more practical Station Wagon version of the Chevrolet Cruze

Verdict

3
The Chevrolet Cruze SW makes plenty of sense as a family choice, thanks to its spacious, clever boot and refined, comfortable drive. It’s also great value compared to its rivals, but buyers will have to be willing to make a few sacrifices. The boot, for instance, isn’t the largest in this class and the handling is not as rounded. A Ford Focus Estate is much sharper and much more fun to drive.

The Chevrolet Cruze is the American firm’s best-selling model so it makes sense that on top of the saloon and hatchback versions, Chevrolet should also introduce an SW estate variant.

Just like the other models in the range, the Cruze SW has underpinnings borrowed from the Vauxhall Astra and includes the Focus Estate and new Hyundai i30 Tourer among its rivals.

Invariably boot space will be first under the microscope, and the Cruze is actually slightly down on its competitors here. With the seats up there’s 500 litres of room, and with them folded the boot stands at 1478 litres. By comparison the Astra Sports Tourer has a 1,550-litre boot and the Focus boasts 1,502 litres. There are a few clever touches, though, like storage trays behind the back seats and a fitted tonneau cover.

Engine choices at launch are limited to a 1.6-litre petrol with 122bhp, a 1.8-litre with 139bhp and the model we’re driving here, which is powered by a 1.7-litre diesel that claims 129bhp. It’s a smooth and quiet engine with a decent amount of mid-range torque and an official 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds. Fuel economy of 62.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km is good enough to compete in this class, too.

With an Astra chassis underneath you’d expect the Cruze SW to feel a lot like an Astra, and it does, but with a few key differences. The steering is lighter, less feelsome and a little quicker, which makes it easier to drive at low speeds but a bit more twitchy the rest of the time. It would all make sense if the Cruze felt agile in the corners but there’s a fair amount of body roll.

On the plus side, the Cruze SW dealt with some of Germany’s less-travelled and more rutted roads very well. Bumps and potholes are ironed out, while the well-insulated cabin also helps isolate any road noise from the cabin too.

And as with all Cruze models the SW’s cabin is stylish, solid and – in the range-topping LTZ Nav model we tested – very well-equipped. Sat-nav, Bluetooth, climate control and a reversing camera are all included in the £19,785 price-tag. The cheapest LS models start from £15,785 and no matter which you choose, you’ll find the Cruze SW cheaper than a Focus Estate and cheaper even than the Hyundai i30 Tourer.

But, while it’s cheaper than a lot of its rivals, it’s not as impressive on the road. If that’s not something that matters to you then you’ll find the Cruze SW is a practical and comfortable family car with a very appealing price-tag.

Key specs

  • Price: £19,785
  • Engine: 1.7-litre diesel, 128bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 10.4 seconds
  • Top speed: 124mph
  • Economy: 62.7mpg
  • Emissions: 119g/km
  • Equipment: Sat-nav, Bluetooth, cruise control, climate control, electric windows
  • On sale: September
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