Chevrolet Cruze: driven

  • Affordable, but underpowered
  • From £11,995
  • On sale now
Price: From: £11,995
On sale: Now
You'll like: Affordable; well equipped
You won't: Underpowered; dull to drive

Surely, there's never been a car more aptly named than the Chevrolet Cruze. Especially if you go for the entry-level 1.6 version, which struggles to summon up anything more than stately progress.

With 111bhp under your right foot you could be forgiven for thinking a decent turn of speed would be yours for the asking. Think again.

With long gearing and tuning that's prioritised towards achieving an official average of 41.5mpg, it would seem performance is very much an afterthought.

With so little oomph at least you won't worry too much about the lack of steering feel or the shortage of front-end grip. Instead, kick back, resist revving the engine for all its worth and you'll enjoy low levels of road and wind noise, and a comfy ride.

Equally, you'll be encouraged by the Cruze's smart interior, generous head and legroom and decent-sized boot. Although probably not as much as the entry S model's bargain basement price of just £11,995.

You get lots of standard kit, too. Electric front windows, air-con, remote central locking and a CD player are all included in the invoice.

If you interested in pulling a bit more than the proverbial skin off the rice pudding then a 1.8-litre engine that produces more power but the same fuel return and CO2 output as the 1.6-litre model is a much better bet.

It's far more responsive but, because the car comes on large alloy wheels, the ride is quite a bit firmer. Worst of all, because it's only available in bells-and-whistles LT trim, the price rises to £13,595 and for that sort of money you can buy a whole lot better.

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