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New Holden Cruze Strengthens Family Ties

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MELBOURNE – Marc 8, 2013: An Australian team led by the former lead engineer for the Chevrolet Camaro program has brought its collective expertise to bear on the new Model Year 2014 Cruze, delivering the best handling, best performing Holden Cruze to date.

Over the past 18 months, the team has undertaken engineering development work on Cruze to localise the introduction of a new 132kW 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine and second generation six-speed automatic transmission to the Cruze range.

Work on the powertrain was complimented by a raft of revisions which have been made to Cruze’s dynamic package including developing a new wheel and tyre package and unique-for-Australia sports suspension for the SRi and SRi-V sports models and comfort setting tune for Equipe and CDX petrol models.

Chief Engineer – Holden Compact Cars, Anthony McCormack led development of the Chevrolet Camaro from 2006 to 2011. He said the team responsible for locally tuning the new Cruze had worked across General Motors’ portfolio including developing the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle, Holden Commodore, Corvette, Cadillac and Volt.

“The Model Year 2014 Cruze program team has broad experience in powertrain engineering, performance integration and dynamic development, across a wide range of vehicles both within GM and for other manufacturers,” said Mr McCormack.

“While Holden may be best known as a centre of excellence for large rear-wheel-drive cars, we also undertake work on front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder vehicles for markets around the world, including the Malibu and most recently the new Cruze for Australia and New Zealand.”

“The engineering program for new Cruze was developed with a specific focus on drive quality, through the performance of both its updated powertrain and the vehicle’s ride and handling. We were able to apply our experience and local knowledge of Australian driver preferences to deliver a car that’s composed on the road and offers improved performance.”

The new Cruze sports models have been given a thorough workout, and now feature a 1.6 litre turbo engine with a unique locally-tuned calibration for Australian roads. Teamed with a six-speed manual transmission or optional new second-generation six-speed automatic transmission, the Holden team locally calibrated both engine and transmission options for Australian conditions and driver preferences.

The new second generation six-speed automatic transmission has been introduced across all petrol models in the Cruze range. It offers an improved drive experience with better shift quality, less delay and hesitation with shorter shift times.

The new automatic transmission features a sports mode in SRi and SRi-V models which is new to Cruze and unique for Australia. It optimises transmission and throttle responses and features Performance Mode Lift Foot (PMLF), a mode more commonly found in performance vehicles including the Commodore and Cadillac ATS.

PMLF detects when the driver demands more performance from the vehicle while cornering and automatically drops the transmission to a lower gear to improve acceleration out of the corner.

“The powertrain combination really is a success story,” said Anthony McCormack. “With a pedal map that has been tuned specifically for Holden conditions we’ve created a car which is more sports-oriented and offers crisp acceleration with minimal turbo lag. Whether manual or automatic, Cruze has excellent launch response and characteristics that really are a demonstration of Holden’s DNA in action.”

Both the SRi and SRi-V offer a new sports suspension set up and damper tune which were localised by Holden engineers. When combined with the revised powertrain, the set up delivers a more sports-oriented drive experience for Cruze owners. SRi-V ups the sports ante still further with a larger 18” alloy wheel and Bridgestone Potenza tyre package.

Michael Barber, Holden Specialist Engineer – Vehicle Dynamics Development, who led VE Commodore chassis development, Chevrolet Caprice Police as well as Corvette, Cadillac ATS and Volt while in the US had overall responsibility for delivering the new sports suspension tune for Cruze.

“The objective in tuning the package for the SRi and SRi-V was to make the car as capable and enjoyable to drive as possible. We’ve tuned the struts and shocks, added a stiffer rear twist beam and slightly lower suspension to account for the larger diameter sports tyres

“As a result of the new tune and set up, we’ve increased transient stability so both front and rear roll stiffness is optimised to deliver great balance while cornering.

“The finished product is responsive, agile, capable and a lot of fun to drive.” said Mr Barber.

“We also ensured that we didn’t neglect customers looking for more compliant ride and handling with a new comfort setting on the 1.4 and 1.8 litre petrol Cruze models.

“The comfort tune has really improved the dynamics of these models. Drivers typically expect a more refined ride and the new comfort tune delivers.”

Model Year 2014 Holden Cruze will be in Holden dealerships next month.