Definitely a looker. Possibly the most cohesively-styled variant.
Holden Cruze Wagon
10 December 2012
The least-standout car at the Holden End of Year Media Drive Event was unexpected: don't get me wrong, the Cruze Wagon is a fine piece of kit. It takes the hatch's space behind the back seats from 315 litres to 500 - only a dozen shy of larger wagons - and retains all the standard Cruze virtues: generous rear seat room, maximum safety rating, safe and solid handling, combined with one of the quietest and smoothest rides in the class. Plus, with park assist and lots of standard gear with the streaming/iPod version of Bluetooth with voice recognition, it's well-equipped in either version.
It's just that, the Barina CDX was suprisingly good and not just for Mylink, and the auto Barina Spark nearly stole the show (not quite, but it's competence and enjoyability was a very pleasant surprise to the general media contingent). So the wagon was least-discussed. Wagons aren't sexy (except to MikMak) even if practical so it tended to be ignored a little.
The wagon costs $2000 on top of the price of the auto hatch or sedan, and the only deficit I can think of is the lack of an SRi or -V version; largely due to Korean origin. If it is true that Bupyeong will not be making Cruze in future, it opens a whole new opportunity for Australia to supply export Cruzes of all variants to the Asia-Pacific region.
Wagon (above) and hatch (below) - wagon doesn't quite have as much room seats-up as hatch seats-down, just seems so. Low, wide, flat load area is welcome - and enormous for a small car.
It seems curious that the base CD comes with either the base 1.8 petrol or diesel and auto only, whereas the upspec CDX has only the 1.8 available, but that is apparently how they are ordered. There is no other reason not to offer the diesel and it may happen. It depends on volume. The CDX sedan originally didn't have oilers, either.
With the wagon, you can take passengers and gear
The newly-remapped trans does a good job of hiding the torque deficit of the 1.8 and it motors along acceptably if not with scintillating performance. The diesel, like in the hatch, is A Good Thing and the pick as a driver's vehicle. Even so, on the open road I found even with the 1.8 that on any flat the speed would creep up, so cruise control is handy to keep your licence! The aero must be good.
A lot depends on volumes; if it proves to be more than 10% of the total take, I would expect the wagon range to grow and production possibly to come onshore. There appears no penalty to owning it, as in theory it is heavier but you'd have to line up a sedan or hatch to notice a performance difference. To drive, it feels almost identical.
You get a sensation of a larger chasm behind your seat - but no more noise or boominess, even empty. Otherwise, the handling is equally balanced and the extra weight of the rear produces if anything a more even weight distribution. With extra people in the car it doesn't detriorate, either.
So it may not have been the talk of the town at the drive event, but I am sure many people will be a taking a close look at the various versions, and it will be interesting to see where the model mix goes from here.