Car group tests

Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback vs rivals

Chevrolet has finally launched a five-door version of its Cruze. Can it close the gap on its Skoda and Mitsubishi rivals?

Skoda Octavia vs Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback vs Mitsubishi Lancer
Family hatchbacks are big business in the UK – and this hasn’t gone unnoticed at Chevrolet. Until now, the firm’s capable Cruze has been available only as a traditional saloon, but in an effort to achieve greater showroom success, bosses have finally pulled the wraps off a versatile five-door version.
Promising more passenger space and greater flexibility, the newcomer aims to topple rivals from the top value brands. We test the car in well equipped LT guise, with the 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. Add Chevrolet’s generous five-year warranty, and it’s not hard to see the Cruze’s appeal. But it faces some stiff competition.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Chevrolet Cruze
The talented Skoda Octavia is a firm family car favourite at Auto Express, thanks to its spacious cabin, composed chassis and refined diesel unit. Better still, it’s finished in the top four of our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey for the past six years running.
And don’t dismiss the Mitsubishi Lancer. It’s often overlooked, but with a mixture of dependability, value and space, this five-door is a sensible family choice.
To beat these rivals, the Chevrolet will have to be good. We see if it’s up to the challenge.


Conquering the competitive family car sector is a big ask for the Chevrolet Cruze hatch. The good news is that the newcomer gets a lot of things right. It’s better looking than the saloon version and is impressively practical. On top of that, it boasts the most powerful engine, is the cheapest to buy and comes with a decent haul of kit. The icing on the cake is the company’s five-year warranty and great-value fixed-price servicing.
Even so, the Cruze hasn’t done enough to topple the Skoda. The Octavia is a polished performer, with the neatest handling, the strongest engine refinement and the most spacious cabin in this test. Better still, top-notch build quality and classy materials make if feel like a model from the class above. Yes, it will cost you more to buy – but we reckon it’s worth every extra penny.
That leaves the Mitsubishi bringing up the rear. Its sporting heritage and aggressive looks flatter to deceive, as the Lancer is way off the pace in this sector. Although it’s well equipped and should prove reliable, we would recommend spending your money on something else in this class.
1. Skoda Octavia
Spacious, comfortable Octavia is simply unbeatable in this sector. It costs more than its rivals here, but the superb quality, composed chassis and smooth drivetrain mean it feels like a premium offering in this company. ESP should be standard, though.
2. Chevrolet Cruze
Practical hatch adds another string to the Cruze’s bow, and the price makes it hard to resist. Diesel engine is strong, while the five-year warranty, fixed-price service deal and generous equipment list make the Chevrolet a great choice. Yet driving dynamics let it down.
3. Mitsubishi Lancer
Great performance, aggressive looks and decent value mark out the Mitsubishi. But that’s about it. Put simply, the Lancer feels a generation behind its opponents here in terms of road manners, refinement and engineering.

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