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Chevrolet Cruze: Used buyer's guide

The Chevrolet Cruze is an excellent-value family car that makes a genuine second-hand bargain

We all like a bargain, and as low running costs become ever more important for hard-pressed motorists, value-focused family cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze are increasingly popular.

Chevrolet Cruze review

With a long list of standard equipment, decent practicality and a good reliability record all part of the mix, buyers don’t mind that this Vauxhall Astra-based saloon, estate or hatchback doesn’t have the polish of more mainstream competitors.

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But while you don’t have to search hard to find a barely run-in Cruze for little more than half its original (low) list price, is great value a strong enough reason to buy a used Cruze?

History

The Cruze arrived in saloon form in spring 2009, with a choice of 1.6 or 1.8-litre petrol engines, or a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. While the latter came with a manual gearbox only, an automatic transmission was available with the petrol engines.

By September 2009 a 123bhp 2.0 VCDi engine had debuted, while an automatic gearbox was offered on the 148bhp diesel from February 2010. The more practical five-door Cruze hatch arrived in July 2011, with a 161bhp 2.0 VCDi.

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The best engine yet – the clean and punchy 1.7 VCDi – was introduced in May 2012. Three months later, the Cruze Station Wagon joined the range.

Alternatives

If value and reliability are key, the slightly smaller Hyundai i30 has a strong warranty and keen prices, and comes as a hatch or estate. So, too, does the Kia Cee’d, plus it has a seven-year warranty. For all-round ability and value, the Ford Focus is hard to beat, but don’t ignore the Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane or Honda Civic.

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Don’t overlook the brilliant Skoda Octavia, either; while it’s pricey, it always performs well in our Driver Power satisfaction survey.

Running costs

Used Chevrolet Cruze engine
ModelInsurance groupFuel economyCO2 emissionsAnnual road tax
1.614-1541mpg159g/km£175
1.6 auto14-1536mpg184g/km£220
1.81841mpg159g/km£175
1.8 auto1836mpg184g/km£220
1.7 VCDi20-2162mpg117g/km£30
2.0 VCDi 12519-2051mpg145g/km£140
2.0 VCDi 15022-2350mpg149g/km£140

A high-mileage early Cruze saloon can be yours for £5,000 – but most cars cost at least £6,000. This buys a 50,000-mile 2.0-litre VCDi, a 20,000-mile 1.6 or a 30,000-mile 1.8 saloon. Hatchbacks start at £7,000, while estates are priced from £10,500.

There are slightly more petrols around than diesels, while most Cruzes are manuals; if you prefer an auto, expect to pay £200-£300 more. Hatches are the most common, but saloons and estates aren’t hard to come by.

Read on for what to look out for, Driver Power information and our verdict.

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