The all-new Cruze from Chevrolet has been subjected to an intensive road test programme by GM engineers in Europe. From the frozen wastes of northern Sweden to the sun baked plains of southern Spain, the Cruze has been subjected to an intense test programme that assessed the vehicle in actual road conditions on some of the most challenging road conditions in Europe.
From the outset the multi-national Cruze design team set themselves a target of meeting the challenging expectations of European buyers, expectations that are very similar to those of South African motorists.
The Cruze breaks new ground as the first product to carry the renowned Chevrolet gold bowtie that has had its chassis extensively developed on European roads to meet the demands of that market.
European roads offer many varied driving and road conditions that pose numerous challenges for the chassis engineer. Get a chassis design right for these conditions and it will be well suited for almost any market around the globe.
The many winding roads that are common place in Europe demand taut handling to deliver optimum driving pleasure. In contrast, for every day driving conditions a comfortable ride is preferred. The wide variety of roads available in Europe provides the right mix to achieve this fine balance.
GM engineers subjected the Cruze to more than 1,2 million kilometres of testing in its pre-production test programme. This included pounding the car around the daunting Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, one of the traditional extreme testing grounds used by GM, almost three months of exposure to arctic weather in durability tests conducted near Arjeplog in Lapland, and in the contrasting summer heat of Granada in Spain. Road conditions varied from carpet smooth asphalt and concrete highways to potholed rural roads.
While computer simulations are excellent at predicting the majority of a vehicle’s dynamic and acoustic characteristics, there is still no substitute for extensive actual dynamic test programmes to gain a real world experience of the vehicles characteristics. These real world tests provide an acid test of the vehicle’s feel with regard to feedback from the road, steering, braking and overall stability and ride comfort.
While the simulations conducted by the design team indicated that features on the Cruze like hydraulic suspension bushes and an isolated sub-frame for the engine and transmission mounting would provide advantages, these had to be quantified in real world driving conditions. Both of these offer significant improvements to ride comfort and vehicle acoustic quality and the extensive vehicle test programme enabled the Cruze engineering team to optimise these as gains that would be immediately apparent to vehicle occupants.
Backed by this extensive test programme GM is confident that this latest product from Chevrolet will provide an exciting dynamic driving experience for customers. The design and engineering development of the Cruze drew on GM’s substantial pool of global expertise. The intensive European test programme provided the acid test for this collaboration as displayed by the exceptional level of overall competence delivered by the all new Cruze.