What is it?
The more family-friendly hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze has been with us for a couple of months and we’ve already driven the accomplished 2.0-litre diesel variant.
This time, we’re behind the wheel of the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol LS model, prices of which start from £13,995 – some £3000 less than a similarly specced Vauxhall Astra.
What’s it like?
Inside, the dashboard is uncluttered and there’s enough leg and headroom front and back for four tall adults, but under closer scrutiny you’ll see why Chevrolet dares to undercut its rivals so boldly. The seats are overly firm and uncomfortable on long journeys and the interior plastics are tacky.
Start the 1.6-litre engine up and the car’s sound-deadening – or lack thereof – is apparent. Pull away and you’ll find yourself reaching for the controls to the wonderfully bassy radio to drown out the motor’s drone.
Take to the motorway, and noise levels become irritating, not helped by the Cruze’s lack of a sixth forward gear.
Getting up to motorway speeds also brings new challenges. The engine’s 113lb ft torque figure does little to coax the car’s 1305kg kerb weight up to speed. And worryingly – with our test car at least – power delivery is inconsistent and often hesitant under hard acceleration.