Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon

Chevrolet-Cruze-2013

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon

ESTATE CAR sales seem relatively unaffected by motoring trends – there is always a need for a capacious, practical, versatile vehicle for family and business use, so despite the advent of MPVs and crossovers, most manufacturers keep an estate car in their line-up.

One of the lesser-known models in this sector is the Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon,
sometimes overlooked despite being cheaper than more mainstream rivals, and with an outstanding five-year warranty which also includes servicing and roadside assistance.

Prices start at £15,680 , with top-spec models at £20,890. Petrol versions have 1.6 or 1.8 litre engines and there are also a 1.7-litre and a 2.0 litre diesel engines.

The Cruze SW is sleekly styled and quite eye-catching, and exudes a premium look. Standard kit levels are good too – the entry level LS has air-conditioning, stability control, six airbags, remote locking and electric front windows among its features. LT trim adds electric rear windows, parking sensors, cruise control and alloy wheels, while the flagship LTZ Nav includes sat-nav, Bluetooth, climate control and a rear view camera.

My recent test model was an LT, one up from entry level and priced at £16,870. Powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine, it has a modest 0-60mph time of 12.6 seconds, top speed is 118 mph and the fuel economy figure is 44.1 mpg combined, decent for a large estate car especially in petrol form.

Underway, the Cruze displays assured road-holding though I found the steering feedback rather limited. Ride quality is fine though on rough surfaces it can be jumpy.
The Cruze is quiet, with minimal noise intrusion, despite having to work the engine a bit harder as the petrol model has only a 5-speed gearbox. The diesel version has a 6-speed unit.

Occupant space is good for four adults, and though a fifth will fit in, the central tunnel is awkward and uncomfortable for anyone on a longer trip. On the plus side, the boot is large ( 500 litres, boosted to 1,478 litres with the rear seats folded) making it a very practical load mover.

Overall, the Cruze impresses, particularly the medium-spec models, which offer best value. Attractively styled and quite distinctive, the only obvious downside is that Chevrolet residual values are not as strong as those of some of its better-known rivals.

FOR: Visual charisma, excellent load-space, well-equipped.

AGAINST: Choppy ride quality on rougher surfaces.

Chevrolet Aveo

Chevrolet Aveo

CHEVROLET IS a famous automotive brand traditionally associated with big brash American cars. In recent years the brand has been extensively revised and in the UK is now much more mainstream, offering smaller more economical models.

A neat example is the new Chevrolet Aveo, a mid-size hatchback that is well-kitted and very economical, and priced from just £10,535. For what it offers, it undercuts many big-selling rivals, including its own stable mate Vauxhall.

The Aveo offers 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol engines and  two 1.3 diesels with 74 or 94hp.

My recent test model was a 1.2 petrol version in mid-spec LT trim and priced at £11,535.

 

The car looks rather more distinctive than many in the sector, with sharper styling and ‘hidden’ rear door handles providing a sporty coupe look.  A little larger than a Golf, the initial impression is that the Aveo offers a lot for the money. Standard equipment on the test model includes traction and  stability control, six airbags, alloy wheels, power windows, remote locking, air-conditioning and Bluetooth.

The cabin is roomy and the facia layout looks smart and practical, dominated by a rev counter alongside a big digital speed readout. The plastic trim materials don’t look too elegant but they do seem very durable, which is rather more important.  There is a good driving position with adjustable steering wheel, and big windows provide a good view.

The rear seats will take tall occupants with decent head and leg room and the boot area is big through the load lip is deep and thus harder to haul out your shopping bags.

On the road, the Aveo is nice to handle, with a feeling of agility helped by precise steering. The ride can be jittery on rough surfaces but  otherwise is comfortable.

The 1.2 litre model is not that quick by class standards,  the 0-60 mph time taking 13.6 seconds. The good news is that fuel economy is excellent – 60.1 mpg combined.

All in all, the Aveo provides a pleasant driving experience, and its keen pricing, good equipment levels and five-year, 100,000-mile warranty will have strong appeal to those seeking value for money motoring in a car that has the bonus of being more exclusive than the sector’s best-sellers.

FOR: Space, economy, 5 year warranty.

AGAINST: Folding rear seats don’t fold fully flat, making loading awkward.