Out and about with Chevrolet Cruze Sport

By JAY WONG | 17 June 2016

The Chevrolet Cruze last received a proper facelift back in 2012 and ever since then, its general outlook hasn’t been altered. Instead, its had a few special editions come about and the latest is the Cruze Sport.

It's been slapped with a few additional parts to the Cruze LT’s standard equipment, and voila – here's the Cruze Sport.

It’s currently priced on-the-road with insurance at RM122,868 – RM14,056 more than the Cruze LT, and it comes together with a standard -year or 200,000km warranty, whichever comes first.

The list of upgrades include a new front splitter, side skirts, rear bumper skirting with integrated faux dual twin-exhaust tips, door visors, rear boot lip and lightweight 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/50 Kumho Solus KH17 tyres.

Inside, the cabin gets premium leather seats with backrest “Cruze Sport” embroidery, LED-lit “CRUZE” scuff plates, driver footrest, multi-information display, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity.

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As for what lies under the hood, the 1.8-litre naturally aspirated Ecotec engine remains unchanged at 138hp at 6,200rpm and 176Nm of torque at 3,800rpm. It's still married to (and managed by) a six-speed automatic gearbox before sending the twist to the front wheels.

However, the engine’s throttle response has been upped and a stainless steel air filter has been added to allow it to “breathe” a little more easily.

Other note-worthy standard equipment includes keyless entry with push-start button, cruise control, heat-absorbing glass, anti-lock braking system, traction control, electronic stability programme and electronic brake-force distribution.

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Bring everything together and the Cruze Sport seems like an interesting proposition and there’s really nothing to dislike about it.

Having the convenience of keyless entry with push start button always puts a smile on anybody’s face.

So long as the key FOB is in your pocket, pressing the button on any of the door handles allows access to the cabin and rather than taking the key out to start the car, a simple press of the Start-Stop button brings it to life instead.

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Inside, the cabin is somewhat spacious yet cosy. Although the seats lack some thigh-support, it does try to add a sense of luxury with the leather upholstery.

But then again, with the presence of some hard plastic on the dashboard and door inserts, that sense of luxury seemed almost mooted.

Although the boot lid seemed “short” in the visual context, but there's about 450 litres worth of space in there. This is due to the full-sized tyre residing under the floor board, which makes the boot shallow, but deep.

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Thankfully, the boot's space hasn't eaten into the cabin, with rear-seated passengers having a decent amount of head and knee room.

At 1,788mm-wide, the cabin just doesn't seem the best to fit three “buff-fellows”, but perhaps a girl of “papadam” dimensions could fill the gap between the two.

From standstill, the Cruze Sport feels like a gazelle – leaping into performance, thanks to its improved throttle response. But novice drivers may find the sudden power surge to be a surprise (even for some experienced drivers), which might need some acclimatising.

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With much of the engine’s potency coming in early, it seems a little out of breath from its mid-range till red-line - leaving any sense of urgency at the door, even after shifting down a two gears while squashing the accelerator.

It’s no wonder it takes the Cruze Sport a slow 11.5 seconds to reach 100kph, before reaching a top speed of 190kph.

That said, the brakes are decent. They do well to bleed speed and when under heavy braking, the rear end remains calm - perhaps attributable to the car’s combination of wider than standard tyres and a 1,558mm-wide rear track (14mm wider than the front).

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Although the suspension uses MacPherson struts with anti-roll bars at the front and what Chevrolet calls a compound crank axle (torsion-beam) for the rear, the car tracks remarkably well though the tight and ‘twisties’.

We can’t be sure, but we suspect that the car has the optional performance progressive coil springs.

On the highway, the car managed to impresses above expectations, with its stiff yet compliant suspension taking care of undulations as the wind gently whistles by when cruising about between 90 to 110kph.

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Overall, the Chevrolet Cruze Sport may have its misgivings in the engine department, but it does make up for in terms of handling, comfort and convenience.

And as long as those are the deemed to be of high importance, then the Cruze might just be what you’re looking for.




CarSifu's Rating: 7.0