Underpowered, but decent quality vehicle for the price
No problems have occurred yet with this car.
As with previous year reviews this car's engine is underpowered. We opted for the 1300 cc model due to lower fuel costs - Gas in Japan is expensive!
The vehicle is very light, and is effected by wind due to being slightly higher off the ground than a typical sedan. Tho even with this problem and the heavy winds in Fukushima Japan we haven't had much trouble controlling.
The interior driver and passenger seats are a little high for us tall gaijin (anyone over 160cm) and when you first start to use the car it will feel odd. Unfortunately there is no control to lower the seat vertically. It is quite suitable for 99% of the population in Japan however. I, being 190cm tall have actually gotten used to it. This high seating gives the driver a very good view of the road ahead and to the sides.
Automatic 4WD mode in our model performed extremely well during heavy snow conditions during the past few weeks. I was waiting for the first heavy snowfalls before writing this review in fact. Because the car is fairly evenly weight proportioned driving through deep snow was no problem. This was after installing a set of new Blizzak tires mind you. I don't believe this car will be used for real off-roading.
Handling is adequate, especially considering the nature of the small narrow roadways in Japan's suburbs. It reminded me of the way my old 2000 Golf 1.8T handled - just without the HP kick.
Cabin noise is very low during city driving, and not too bad during higher speed driving.
Turning at different speeds doesn't seem to give me a sense of imminent tipping, it may have been a change from previous model years of the Cruze as I did read people complain about this before.
Tire width seems to be sufficient for the weight and dimensions of the vehicle. Compared to most of the cars here it is actually wider than normal.
The optional 4 way sterio system and Navi (gation) system are a must in an otherwise bare vehicle. Nice additions to this model are heated (driver only) seat, folding side mirrors (almost every car over here has this), and a defrost for said side mirrors.
In closing, if you don't mind the lack of power this car will do quite well for general use and during adverse weather. Most cars over here are rather short on HP anyways so it's not surprising.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th December, 2005