2013 Holden CRUZE owner review

Matt C
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About the Holden CRUZE

Matt C purchased this Holden CRUZE new with additional options for $25,000 (including all on-road costs). Matt C wouldn’t buy this car again because: “Ok so for one, you can’t get them new anymore! Great car, if you find the right one, however reliability of some examples is questionable. Find a loved example with good history, and you should have a trouble free experience. “

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

My example has been trouble free. Apart from a shaky gear shifter in fourth gear when near new, a change of gearbox oil by the selling dealer under warranty helped resolve.

Being a manual, there have been no real warranty issues to mention, although automatics are prone to failure. This was known when buying the car new, but there were no reports of issues with six-speed manual variants.

It’s on 85,000km now and due for second set of brakes, which is not abnormal for this car among owners. I won’t be replacing the brakes this time with OEM parts. They wear out too quickly and produce loads of brake dust.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

Let’s at the start. The Cruze doesn’t have the best reputation in the industry for reliability. It came back to market from 2009, and Australian built from 2011. This model as pictured started in the MY12 model year from 2011, and ran until new cosmetic changes were released with MY14 Cruze when VF Commodore commenced in May 2013.

My car was built in February that year. I say it was bought new, because my parents bought it new, sight unseen (not a demo or dealer stock) and my mum drove it as her daily. I learnt to drive in this car.

I bought it for $11k from them when they upgraded in 2020, at 75,000km and therefore know its full history. I’ve hit 85,000km since then. I felt a somewhat sentimental urge to own it for at least some period after them, and did so given a trouble free six years of ownership.

It drives very nicely, the turbo 1.4 litre in this top spec model glides nicely at high speed on the highway and it has all the creature comforts you could get in 2013 on a small car.

The car has been well cared for. I’m fussy when parking, and for most of its life has been parked under cover – and it shows, it has no dents on it, and looks about four years old rather than 10. You don’t see many anymore in this condition. Being red, it stands out and has the looks, in my opinion. The hatch is actually Australian clean sheet design at the rear. The sedan is not, and the hatch is all the better for it; it’s the better looking body shape.

There are small things that bother me about the car though. For example, when the engine is turned off, if you open a door, the radio turns off with the door actuator, as do the power windows. You need to turn on the accessories again to make them work.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

Holden is gone. As in other reviews you’ll read, that’s a crying shame! My family members of all generations have owned Australian built cars, and I wanted to say at least that I have too. The Cruze is definitely no 6.0L LS V8 that I’ve been accustomed to driving for aforementioned reasons, but it has looks and efficiency on its side.

For the best part of six years, the support from our local dealer was great. A brand or not into the future, Australian built means a plentiful supply of parts available if needed.

Small gripes to note now, the drivers side seat warmer doesn’t stay on anymore (perhaps fuse related) and map updates are not available for the sat nav.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

When new, $25,000 for a high spec hatchback was a good deal. It was cheaper than a Mazda 3 and Ford Focus equivalent the key players at the time, admittedly the features and finish in materials perhaps not on a par. However, non-standard for this model year that I have on my car are the boot lid spoiler and chrome foot pedal overlays.

These were thrown in, along with floor mats and a boot organiser by the dealer. In the pre-covid days, you could entice your dealer into a sale by asking for extras thrown in, whilst getting a cheaper drive away price as well. Good times. Remember those days?

As the top spec SRI-V, it came with full leather interior, proximity sensing key with push button start (as a Feb 2013 build, not even Commodore had this yet), seat warmers, satellite navigation (map updates no longer supported), and dual zone air conditioning all as standard.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

The top spec SRI-V, pre MY14 model year, ran a 1.4 litre turbo four-cylinder, which is what my car has. Being a turbo, it provides a sporty driving experience, despite being a long way from the proper definition of a hot hatch. Depending on how it’s driven, as a highway cruiser it runs about 7.0 litres per 100km, which I think is pretty good and is less than the bigger engined Mazda 3 of the time. The road noise is definitely less.

I wouldn’t consider my car a daily driver, as I catch public transport for work. When I do drive the car, I drive it without paying much attention to the fuel consumption, as I don’t fill it very often and its not a concern to me.

The car has always been filled with Shell V-Power 98.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

The sound system, despite being non-branded, is awesome. It doesn’t have DAB radio, although one of the reasons I bought the car was because of the excellent sound system.

It has an 8.0-inch touch screen. Holden’s MyLink system rolled out with the VF, and therefore MY14 Cruze models. My car does not have MyLink, but it makes no real difference in my view. All models no longer have update support.

It does not have Bluetooth audio streaming, and in 2013 Apple CarPlay was not even at market in Australia yet. For streaming, an AUX is required.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

This is where as an Australian built car, it really scores points over rivals. It’s quiet, relatively refined, the steering has a nice weight to it. The suspension absorbs road surfaces nicely, and doesn’t bang or crash about on rural roads.

The front seats have amazing adjustability. A 7ft person could drive this car and be comfortable. I am 5’10” and with the seat all the way back, at full stretch the pedals are still 10cm away from the feet. But! You won’t be taking any passengers in the rear in doing so.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

Consider carefully if buying used. The automatic is questionable, manuals appear trouble free. Mine has a stringent service history, so should any example you consider if buying used.

Look for a nice color, the Red, and a greeny-blue metallic based color called ‘Chlorophyll’ are the best in my opinion of the options available.

If you can, buy an upper spec variant. The base models are non-turbo and don’t get along as well as the turbo model does.

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