Chevy hopes to hit Cruze control

Published on June 11th, 2010

It’s been so long since news from the grapevine about the imminent arrival of the Chevrolet Cruze that the grapes have probably turned into raisins but alas, General Motor’s C-segment global car is finally here on Malaysian shores courtesy of Pavilion Crest Sdn Bhd, the sole importer and distributor of the brand and a part of the Naza Group of Companies.

cruze_01

Touted as a ‘world car,’ the Cruze was intended to appeal to markets around the globe before it even made the transition to the drawing board. Due to that, the Cruze was developed by GM’s European division but with relevant touches from its other markets to make it a truly global car.

Testing was extensively conducted in different countries to evaluate its appeal. The units that we get here are CBU’s from Korea, one of the many Cruze manufacturing hubs. Thus far, the Cruze has been introduced in Europe, China and India with astounding success, surpassing the targeted unit sales.

Due to the global car tag, the underpinnings of the Cruze is the Delta II platform that also forms the base for current Vauxhall Astra.

cruze_20

Power comes from a 1.8-liter 16V Ecotec motor that pushes out 140bhp and 176Nm of torque that kick in at a lowly and useable 3,800rpm. It also features DCVCP (Double Continuous Variable Cam Phasing). All that power goes to the front wheels through a first-in-class six-speed auto gearbox with Shiftronic.

The ride and handling is taken care of by the front MacPherson struts while a torsion beam covers the rear. Braking should be sufficient with disc brakes all around. Rolling stock is in the form of 16-inch wheels.

The usual safety acronyms are present with ABS, EBD and Traction Control being standard. Additionally, the Cruze has notched the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP and Australian NCAP safety tests but that was probably not achieved with the dual-front airbag model offered here. Although specification wise not similar, it’s worthy to note that structurally the Cruze offered here should be the same as that put under the barrage of safety tests.

cruze_10

In-car equipment is impressive as well with a six-disc in-dash head unit that is MP3 capable and comes with an AUX port as well as steering-mounted controls. However, only telescopic steering is available.

Dimension wise, the Cruze might not look big but it weighs in longer than a Honda Civic and with a 450-liter boot, more than enough to swallow four golf bags.

The best bit about the Cruze though has to be its amazing price. Rungs of applause rang out as guest of honour at the launching, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister, read out the price, which stands at RM98,767.60 (OTR w/o insurance).

Now at just a shade under the RM100k mark, the Cruze easily outshines its Japanese rivals like the Civic and Altis but hovers just ahead of the Kia Forte, that is also under the Naza umbrella.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Present during the launch was Martin Apfel, President of GM South East Asia. He was extremely optimistic and confident about the Cruze in the local market, being quite sure it would easily surpass its targeted sales figure. Datuk SM Faisal SM Nasimudin, the Joint Group Executive Chairman of Naza Group of Companies was also exuding the same confidence in the Cruze.

Chevy has a very tumultuous past in the country due to mishandling on the previous franchise holder’s behalf and as such, it’s understandable some past Chevy owners are not on the edge of their seats with news of Naza’s taking over of the Chevy reigns in the country.

However, Datuk Maruan Mohd Said, the Chief Operating Officer of Pavilion Crest, has assured that won’t be the case with the new distributors. They aim to increase the current dealer network of eight branches, all full-fledged 3S centers, to 20 by the end of the year. As for the long run, hopefully in the next three to four years, Pavilion Crest is hoping to have 40 3S dealers across the country.

So head on to a Chevy dealer near you right now to cruise around in the Cruze.

text & pix: Dinesh Appavu

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