Holden Cruze adds features galore

NOBODY can accuse GM Holden of relaxing on the Cruze. Indeed, the Aussie auto-maker has set a new benchmark with its 2014 version of the small sedan and hatchback.

The entry-level Cruze CD has been cut out of the range, being replaced by the Equipe. Starting at $19,490, which is $2000 less than the model it replaces, its features include foglamps, sports grille, 17-inch alloy wheels and rear park assist as standard.

Cruze CDX (starting from $24,190) gains premium features, including keyless entry with push button start and a reversing camera. The last is also added to the range-topping SRi-V (from $26,490), while the SRi sport model (from $22,490) gets rear park assist as standard.

Those familiar with the Aussie-made Holden Cruzes will recognise three engines from the Series II range: the 1.4-litre iTi and 1.8-litre petrol engines, and 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel.

Now the MY14 Cruze introduces an additional engine, a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol unit.

New Holden Cruze sees for the first time in a locally built car the introduction of MyLink, a new infotainment program that’s standard across the range.

The driver will be able to stream digital content from applications including Pandora music radio and Stitcher on-demand radio.

At the launch in Tasmania, it was a Vivaldi sort of day — four seasons in one — as the Cruze convoy snaked out of Hobart.

Over the next 24 hours or so, and more than 500 kilometres, the motoring media were introduced to a range of MY14 models.

While the 1.4, 1.8 petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines had the Cruze skipping along the twisty roads at full tilt, it was the sporty 1.6 petrol turbo six-speed manual that offered the most driving satisfaction.

With 31 models selling for less than $30,000, the Cruze MY14, which goes on sale in April, faces a congested small-car market where competition is red hot.