Review: Holden Cruze Sportswagon

Does anyone else out there think wagons are pretty sexy looking?

Well, not all wagons.

There wouldn’t be too many teenagers pinning VT Commodore posters on their walls (do kids still do that ?).

But check out the new station wagon version of the Cruze and suddenly Holden’s small car starts looking pretty good; much sleeker and better resolved than the blocky sedan or sadly truncated hatch.

A substantial 157mm longer than the hatch and 60mm longer than the sedan, the Sportwagon’s luggage space climbs to 500 litres with the rear seat in place (445 litres sedan and 413 litres hatch). Split-fold the 60:40 rear seat and that grows to 1478 litres.

The Sportwagon comes in two specifications – CD and CDX. The former is available with both the 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder ($25,790) and 2.0-litre turbo-diesel ($29,790). The CDX is only available with the 1.8 ($29,040).

The sole transmission choice is a six-speed auto. The obvious missing ingredient here is the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine, which is offered with the locally built sedan and hatch. But the Sportwagon hails from Korea, and plugging that engine into the small Australian production run wasn’t possible.

So you pay the premium for the 120kW/360Nm diesel, or put up with the 104kW/176Nm 1.8, which, in a brief two-up minimal-luggage drive, felt a bit sluggish.

Despite the longer body and a little more kerb weight, the wheelbase is the same as the sedan and hatch, so the handling and ride combination remains familiarly competent, inspiring neither antipathy or affection.

Hey, to my eyes, though, at least it looks good…

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