The latest Cruze-hyping video from GM shows the forthcoming compact ripping through a test track, as Vehicle Line Director Chuck Russell waxes eloquent about its engineering and reliability. His point is clear: this new Cruze is a truly global product, in contrast to the America-only Cavalier update that was the Cobalt it replaces. And comparing footage of the Cruze ripping through a slalom to that of a Civic negotiating the same obstacles, one is left with the impression that Russell isn’t just blowing smoke. But then, we knew that already. In his review of the European-spec Cruze, TTAC’s Martin Schwoerer notes:
In contrast to the engine, the Cruze’s ride and handling are perfectly acceptable in the grand scheme of things.
The biggest outstanding question about the Cruze remains: how bad will the 1.8 liter engine be, and how much will you have to pay to upgrade to the all-new, and much-ballyhood 1.4 liter turbocharged engine. Oh yes, and about that reliability: The Chosun Ilbo reports that GM has already recalled the Korean-market, 1.8-equipped Cruze (known as the Daewoo Lacetti Premiere) twice in its first six months on sale. The reason: leaky fuel lines that could cause firey disaster in the case of a wreck. So, we’re glad GM has taken its time rolling the Cruze out stateside, but if you’re considering buying one, you might want to wait a good year after it goes on sale to see if these problems persist… even if the initial reviews justify GM’s considerable hype.