Holden Cruze Sportwagon CDX

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

Base price: $36,000.

Powertrain and performance: 1.8-litre petrol four, 104kW/176Nm, 6-speed automatic, front-drive, Combined economy 7.4 litres per 100km.

Vital statistics: 4675mm long, 1521mm high, kerb weight 1370kg, luggage capacity 500/1478 litres, fuel tank 60 litres, 17-inch wheels on 215/50 tyres.

We like: Best-looking Cruze, practical, good value.

We don’t like: Lacklustre 1.8-litre engine, chassis competent but not inspiring.

How it rates: 7/10


Small station wagons: they’ve always been a bit of a Korean thing. Remember Hyundai’s load-carrying Lantras, which evolved into the latest i30 (just launched as a wagon)? Or the Daewoo Nubira and Holden Viva, average cars which always seemed to work so much better in estate form.

Well, the Holden Cruze is the modern successor to the Nubira and Viva and the latest model is now available as a wagon – or ‘sportwagon’ in Holden-speak.

The Cruze wagon has come along almost at the same time as the facelifted sedan/hatch, although it’s not strictly part of that model line. The former are now built in Australia to a very specific specification, while the new wagon comes straight from home base in Korea.


Thanks to the limited powertrain choice, Cruze sportwagon is something of a mixed bag. The sole engine for New Zealand is the rather lacklustre 1.8-litre petrol – by far the weakest link in the Cruze lineup. The 2.0-litre turbo diesel (noisy but energetic) is available in Australia, but neither country gets a sportwagon with the new 1.6-litre petrol-turbo four offered in the facelift sedan/hatch – because that’s something that comes out of the Aussie factory only.

That said, Cruze still has a fair bit of polish. The six-speed automatic gearbox is smooth, if a little lazy at low speed. The steering has a pleasing amount of weight to it and the car corners in capable fashion.


Up front it’s standard Cruze: nicely styled but a few too many cheap materials to really get you excited. There are a few idiosyncrasies in the switchgear – as with the sedan and hatchback versions, the centre console seems to have been designed around a more-is-more ethos. There are a lot of buttons there.

The cargo area is well configured: the loading lip is low and the tailgate is hinged quite a long way into the roofline (as with the Commodore sportwagon), which means it can be opened in relatively tight spaces.

The boot is generous at 500 litres and there are a couple of surprise-and-delight features, including a narrow net on the leading edge of the tonneau cover that you can suspend small items in to stop them rolling around. Like that.

The rear seats are easily folded, liberating nearly 1500 litres of space, but they don’t quite give you a flat floor right through. Almost, but not quite – so if you’re sliding larger items into the car, it’ll take a bit of extra muscle to deal with the incline.


The Cruze is not the most sophisticated small wagon around in terms of powertrain and chassis, but it’s certainly one of the better-looking ones and excellent value compared with the competition.

It’s disappointing that you can’t achieve a completely flat load floor in the back with the seats folded, but get past that and it’s also practical and spacious.

Arguably not top of the list for the driver then, but potentially one for the company.


Air conditioning: Climate

Audio: CD, iPod compatible

Automatic lights/wipers: No

Blind spot warning: No

Bluetooth: Yes

Cruise control: Yes

Driver footrest: Yes

Gas discharge headlights: No

Head-up display: No

Heated/ventilated seats: No

Keyless entry/start: No

Lane guidance: No

Leather upholstery: Yes

Parking radar: Rear

Power boot or tailgate: No

Power seat adjustment/memory: No

Remote audio controls: Yes

Satellite navigation: No

Seat height adjustment: Yes

Self-parking technology: No

Split/folding rear seats: 60/40

Steering reach adjustment: Yes

Stop-start: No

Trip computer: Yes