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In-depth reviews

Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon estate (2012-2015)

"The Chevrolet Cruze SW is a practical estate that majors on space and value."

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.3 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Lots of space
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Economical 1.7-litre diesel engine

Cons

  • Not much fun to drive
  • Petrol models feel quite slow
  • You can't buy a new one any more

Under the skin, the Chevrolet Cruze estate was pretty much the same as the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer estate. It competed with the Hyundai i30 Tourer and Volkswagen Golf Estate in the small family estate car market. We say 'competed,' because as of 2015, you can no longer buy one in the UK as a result of Chevrolet's decision to stop selling cars in Europe.

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The Chevrolet Cruze SW was offered with a choice of four engines, but we'd recommend going for the 1.7-litre VCDi diesel, because it provided decent fuel economy and felt alert on the road.

Interior space didn't compare brilliantly in terms of space when compared to other estates, but Chevrolet was generous with the equipment and accessories for the list price. The Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon estate came in three main specifications: entry-level LS, mid-range LT and top-of-the-range LTZ.

Read on to see what we said about the Chevrolet Cruze estate in 2014...

MPG, running costs & CO2

Go for the 1.7-litre VCDi diesel, because other engines aren’t cheap to run

Of the four engines offered in the Cruze SW, the most efficient is the 1.7-litre VCDi diesel, which returns 62.7mpg fuel economy and emits 119 g/km of CO2. Not bad, then, but hardly on par with rivals from Ford and VW. The bigger 2.0-litre diesel offers more performance, but only returns 45.5mpg economy and emits a hefty 164g/km of CO2, so fuel and road tax bills will be higher.

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If you don't drive many miles on a regular basis, it may make more sense to go for one of the cheaper-to-buy petrol engines, with the 1.6-litre managing to return 44.1mpg and emitting 151g/km of CO2. However, the downside is sluggish acceleration, which leaves a lot to be desired. All Cruze SWs come with a three-year warranty, so you won't have to worry about large repair bills for a little while after you buy.

Engines, drive & performance

Driver enjoyment isn't a strong point and many engines feel underpowered

The Cruze SW isn't going to win any prizes when it comes to driver enjoyment, but it's not terrible either. We'd recommend the 129bhp 1.7-litre VCDi diesel engine, which can take the car from 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and feels very responsive on the road.

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The 2.0-litre diesel is even quicker, but only comes with an automatic gearbox, which makes it quite costly to buy and to run in the long term, especially if you don't do regular long journeys. Both petrol engines can feel underpowered, slow and sluggish, so neither would be our choice.

There's quite a bit of body lean when driving through corners and the steering is overly light, so there's a limit to how much fun you can have at the wheel of the Chevrolet Cruze SW.

Interior & comfort

The ride is occasionally quite bumpy, while the diesel is noisy when accelerating

For the smoothest and quietest ride, you should definitely go for the 1.7-litre diesel engine, even though it's not quite as quiet as a Volkswagen Golf Estate when accelerating. That said, wind and road noise are kept to a minimum, and the Cruze SW is pretty quiet on motorway.

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But it doesn't have the most comfortable ride in its class, tending to get fidgety when driving over rough roads or small bumps. This is balanced out a bit by a large amount of seat and steering-wheel adjustment that allows you to easily find a great driving position that suits them and that is also very comfortable. There’s also plenty of leg and headroom in the front and the back.

Practicality & boot space

The Cruze SW is very practical, but rivals have more boot space

The SW estate is the most practical car in the Cruze range. There's plenty of space inside, with lots of legroom in the back meaning there's enough room for three adults to just about squeeze in there at a push.

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The boot offers 500 litres of luggage space with the back seats in place, which is slightly less than what you get in the Volkswagen Golf Estate, but the difference is barely noticeable in reality – and it's bigger than the Ford Focus Estate's boot.

Fold down the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and the boot expands to a reasonable 1,478 litres. There are lots of pleasing accessories in the boot, including a parcel shelf with separate sections for carrying loose items – even if it's hard to remove and slightly on the flimsy side. A low boot lip makes loading heavy items easy, too.

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Inside, there are plenty of storage cubbies and the door bins are nice and large – easily holding a 500ml bottle – plus there's even a map pocket by the front passenger.

Reliability & safety

The Cruze SW is based on the Vauxhall Astra, so should be largely trouble-free

While none of Chevrolet's individual cars made it into our Driver Power 2013 customer satisfaction survey's top 150 cars, that didn't stop the brand itself making a dramatic return to the manufacturer rankings by leapfrogging many of the bigger players to come 20th. The last time Chevrolet appeared in the list (2011) it came dead last, so this is a big improvement.

The Cruze SW is based on the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, which came 103rd in the 2013 poll, so it should be fairly reliable due to the fact that there have been no major problems reported with the Astra's engines or technology over the past few years.

Inside, everything feels nicely solid, too, reinforcing the sense that the Cruze SW is a quality car that's actually been built to last. It also secured the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests, coming with six airbags, ISOFIX child-seat anchor points, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes as standard.

Price, value for money & options

Mid-spec LT models get alloys, parking sensors, air-con and electric windows

You can't accuse Chevrolet of skimping on the equipment and accessories for the Cruze SW, with the entry-level LS coming with electric front windows, central locking, a CD player and air-conditioning as standard. Go up a level to the LT and you get alloy wheels and rear parking sensors. Plump for the top-of-the-range LTZ and sat nav, a reversing camera and Bluetooth phone connectivity are all included as standard.

In fact, you get a little more standard equipment than you do in the equivalent Volkswagen Golf, which is slightly more expensive than the Cruze SW. However, resale values on the used-car market for Chevrolets are generally not very strong, while the desirable Golf is always a robust performer when sold second-hand.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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