Holden, the genuine Aussie icon. Toyota, the reliable household name. Both big names, both big players in the Australian car market. So how do they compare? We take a look at the new and improved Holden Cruze CD (5 speed manual) and put it next to the sturdy Toyota Corolla Ascent Sedan (6 speed manual) to see what these competing brands have to offer in the small car segment.
Starting with the first look, the Cruze is a definite improvement on the mini 4WD it started out as once upon a time. Sleeker styling and a professional looking clean cut exterior, it definitely looks like its worth much more than its price tag (starting at $20,990). Looking at the Corolla, it has a sturdier, squarer appearance than the Cruze but doesn’t really jump out at you.
Looking at the fuel economy there is a slight difference in the fuel consumption of each. The Corolla has an 7.3L/100km fuel economy, compared to the 7.0L/100km of the Cruze. If you have a large fleet that slight difference in fuel consumption could lead to a significant saving if going with the Cruze.
Safety is something that is a huge determinant in fleet purchases, and this is where the Cruze seems to have an ‘up’ on the Corolla. Both boast Electronic Stability Control (ESC), as well as Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBS) and Antilock braking system (ABS), all very important aspects to safety. 6 airbags is standard in the Cruze but only optional in the Corolla, with only dual front airbags as standard. A notable difference comes in the safety rating, with the base model Cruze offering 5 stars, compared to the 4 star Corolla (5 stars offered in upgrade models). The Cruze also has front and rear crumple zones to further maximise safety and keep your drivers as safe as possible.
Everybody likes a good car interior. The newer the car, the more gadgets and buttons to touch, turn and press (well for me at least- my ’98 car is now classified as ancient. I still manually wind down my windows.) The Cruze interior has a slightly sporty feel to it with the combination of black and silver on the dash. The clever Graphic Information Display tells you everything from the song on the radio to the temperature outside and is positioned so the driver’s eyes don’t deviate from the road too much. The Corolla has a long wheelbase and well designed seating, giving occupants plenty of room even if you’re of the taller type. The boot is also extremely spacious with 450L of room for boxes, files, bags or everyday work gear.
Although these cars do vary in certain areas, both are around the $21,000 mark, making them great value for money, and are definitely strong competitors in the small car market. The Cruze got its nose over the line before the Corolla because of the 5 star features on the base model. Both are fantastic options for the modern fleet and score highly in our books, especially for the green fleet factor. If your staff can stomach it the small car fleet is becoming a viable option.
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UPDATE May 2011- read our review of the Holden Cruze Series II.