I always had a notion that American car companies don’t pay
much attention to detail. They just make a body for the car; put a giant engine
which doesn’t produce enough power with barely any fuel economy, weighing as
much as the moon, with a philosophy of “that’ll do” in quality standards
division. But I realised how terribly wrong I was when I started driving the
new Chevrolet Cruze.
When it came to this cheese burger and fries eating beast,
there was something different about the Chevy Cruze. It somehow stood out like
a unicorn in a herd of donkeys wearing ponchos. The difference wasn’t much from
the looks of it at first glance. It looks good, the design is nice. The shape
of the headlamps are sharper and some chrome bits here and there so it’s a lot
like every other car out there with its own distinctive character. But there
was something about it what lurks inside this little Unicorn that caught my
eye…a giant turbo. The turbo is so big it makes the 2 litre engine seem small
to the eye, in fact it’s probably the biggest useful component in the car,
which is probably the secret of this Unicorn’s performance. Because of the
giant turbo which is like the horn on its forehead, this Unicorn has the power
of 163 horses inside and it gallops with 360Nm of torque. Thanks to that horn
on this magical car, the surge of power is majestic. It is gradual at first and
when it catches the rpms it just drives away into the sunset.
The great performance is also the reason why this car is
actually quite a successful racing car as well. The Chevy Cruze has 4 World
Touring Car Championships (WTCC) on the trot for the past 4 years in the hands
of Yvan Muller and Robert Huff while being a British Touring Car legend in its
own right winning the championship in 2010 with Jason Plato behind the wheel.
The Cruze was also the 2011 Scandinavian Touring Car Championship winner. The
Cruze achieved another milestone in August 2014 when the company sold 3 million
units world-wide with the Indian market also contributing to this achievement.
So what this car is, is a fast little magical creature to
drive but the question remains how it fares in the real world? Well for
starters, it handles brilliantly. You almost get the same amount of body roll
in a car of the same segment that costs 3 times more. The steering though is a
bit light, it feels like a feather in your hands when you’re going straight but
when you turn at high speeds, it pulls back and becomes heavier and come to
think of it, it’s actually quite genius. Then when you want to put it into
sport mode, you can’t. There is no switch that says sport and I’m glad there
isn’t only because if the car is this good on its own, why ruin it with a
‘Sport’ button? Your sport mode is your
throttle pedal, be gentle with it, and you have comfort, floor it and you
awaken all the 163 horses this unicorn ate for lunch. It’s not a child’s play
this car; it’s a Gentleman’s racer. The more aggressive you are, the more
aggressive it gets.
The finish inside the cabin is stupendously good. The
leather upholstery is stitched beautifully and feels like a perfectly hairless
woman’s legs after she uses all her million dollar moisturisers. The centre
console, the dash, the instrument panel are all brilliant, but it doesn’t come
with Sat-Nav even though it has a digital screen, and when I tried to use the
USB port to charge my phone and play music, none of the buttons on the console
did anything. The only way to control it is from the phone. Or you could also
pair it via Bluetooth and then use the buttons. There are several clever little cubby holes for storage laid
out around the cabin, and a sunglass holder placed cleverly above the driver’s
To drive this car, is totally different from any other out
there. Like I said before there is something in this car that most others in
the market lack. The Cruze has character, a sense of its own and a place of its
own, distinguished from anything else out there. But it’s not really practical
in the real world; it’s nowhere close to what its competition has to offer in
terms of being practical. There are cheaper options that have better fuel
economy as well, so the questions looms why would anyone buy one? Would I buy
one? Yes! Why? Because firstly it rubbishes my pre-historic notion that all
American cars are badly built, and secondly a car is a direct reflection of its
owner’s personality, it shows if the owner is interesting or not. So if you are
the kind of person who likes to stand out from everyone else in the crowd with
something different, to feel a little distinguished from the herd of donkeys in
ponchos the Chevy Cruze is the Unicorn to have and it’s not just an image
booster, the amount of fun you get for your money, makes this car priceless.
2014 CHEVROLET CRUZE SPECIFICATIONS
1996cc 4 cylinder VCDi DOHC
McPherson Strut with Linear Cylindrical Coil Spring and Tubular Stabilizer
Bar System/Compound Crank Type with Non-Linear, Mini-Block Coil Spring
Disc/Disc with ABS
Rs.16,30,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
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