The Holden Cruze infotainment system is the way of the future.
It’s been a quiet revolution over the past year, but Holden’s small car has Cruze-d past the venerable Commodore to become the most popular model in the range.
Don’t put this all down to the Commodore’s long-term decline – the Holden Cruze has earned its success from day one as a sweetly-styled sedan, hatchback and wagon in dimensions and specifications that are right for today’s driving. Now comes a well-timed upgrade with a high-tech touch to defend its patch against other newcomers such as Corolla, Pulsar and Cerato.
Holden says it has added features to Australia’s only locally-built small car while reducing recommended pricing across the range. The opening price for the range has come back $2000 to $19,490.
There are now four variants, called Equipe, CDX, Sri and Sri-V. The top two come with a cracking new 132 kiloWatt 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine and sports suspension, while the lower grades are available with 1.4 turbo or 1.8 non-turbo petrol engines or a 2.0 litre diesel.
Depending on model, the extra features include fog lamps, park-assist systems, reversing cameras and keyless ignition, but the most innovative addition is an infotainment system called MyLink, fitted standard to sedans and hatchbacks. The system connects to compatible mobile devices via Bluetooth or USB and a seven-inch (177mm) colour touch-screen allows the driver to control music, radio and telephone. In addition to being able to access stored songs from a phone or MP3 player, MyLink allows a 3G mobile device to stream digital content from applications including Pandora music radio and Stitcher on-demand radio.
This is impressive technology that previews the way all cars will go in time, but Holden has even more to come. Mid-year it will add a version of Apple’s Siri voice-command system to MyLink. Users with a compatible iPhone will be able to instruct Siri to perform tasks using just their voice. They will be able to make voice-activated calls to contacts on their iPhone, create and send text messages and access their calendar and add appointments, among other things. Satellite navigation is also scheduled for the Cruze SRi-V sedan and hatch.
All these features also will appear on the new Holden Commodore later this year, but one wonders if its older-profile buyers will find it as easy to drive the sophisticated infotainment system as the car itself.
Prices quoted do not include statutory and dealer on-road charges unless otherwise stated. Prices correct at time of writing.