The all-new Holden Cruze made its Australian debut at the Melbourne International Motor Show today signalling the company's latest entrant in the competitive small car segment.

Cruze is the first of General Motors' new wave of global products and enters Australia's small car segment equipped with striking road presence, advanced interior comfort and high levels of safety features.

Powered by a 1.8 litre 4-cylinder ECOTEC petrol engine or optional 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged common rail diesel engine, Cruze will go on sale in the second quarter of 2009.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss said Cruze represented Holden's commitment to the small car market and marked the beginning of a new era for the company.

"The small car market is the largest growing segment in the Australian market and this is our response to that change," Reuss said.

"Cruze will play a significant role in Holden's future and presents us with a new generation car, a new design and a new way of thinking.

"It is a world class small car that has the perfect blend of both style and substance, all from the base model to the top of the range."

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Drawing on GM best practices from around the world, Cruze was developed by a global design and engineering team.

Product line-up The Cruze line-up will include CD and CDX models, both powered by a 1.8 litre 4 cylinder ECOTEC petrol engine with the choice of a five speed manual transmission or six speed automatic transmission with Active Select.

A 2.0 litre common rail turbocharged diesel engine will be available as an option on the CD model and will form part of the Holden EcoLine range.

The choice of powertrains ensures fuel efficiency and excellent performance all with the ride and handling ability of a true Holden to ensure it feels as good as it looks.

Exterior styling With a wide track, long wheelbase and its wheels located at the outer edges of its body, the Holden Cruze sedan's 'four-door coupe' styling delivers the presence of an upscale mid-size sedan.

State of the art manufacturing processes ensures gaps are minimised and margins in the exterior design deliver high levels of quality, fit and finish.

Cruze has been designed to appeal to drivers who value sophisticated design combined with sporty good looks.

Interior comfort Inside, Cruze boasts one of the most advanced interiors of any small car on the market offering exceptional quality and functionality, while delivering sportiness and luxurious comfort.

Stylish and spacious, the Cruze interior offers exceptional fit and finish and comfort with contoured sport seats and a dual cockpit design which houses an advanced integrated centre panel with graphic information display and CD with MP3 "plug and play" functionality.

An integrated centre stack houses the infotainment display, radio and HVAC controls resulting in a fresh and contemporary look.

With generous rear passenger leg, head and shoulder room this small car comfortably sits five adults, and when combined with one of the largest range of standard features from the base model customers do not need to compromise on large car features.

Storage, functionality and convenience applications found on the new Cruze are plentiful with 60/40 split rear seats, seatback pockets, a centre console CD storage, a shopping bag hook and six cup holders.

Safety Safety was an overriding objective in the development of Cruze. Significant advancements in structural strength and a full offering of active and passive safety systems should combine to make the all-new Holden Cruze among the safest in its class.

The Cruze's stiff structure helps to minimise noise and vibration as well as assuring a good crash safety performance and optimal ride and handling properties.

With an impressive level of standard safety features across the range including:

* Electronic Stability Control (ESC) * Traction Control (TC) * Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) * Brake Assist (BA) * Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) * Six airbags including driver, front passenger, front side and curtain airbags * Seatbelt retractor and lap pretensioners with seatbelt load limiters * Sixty-five percent of the structure is high-strength steel

Holden Cruze CD Feature Highlights:

* 1.8 litre 4-cylinder ECOTEC petrol engine or optional 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged common rail diesel engine * 5-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic transmission with Active Select * 16 inch steel wheels * Body coloured door handles and mirrors * Electronic Stability Control (ESC) incorporating: o Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) o Traction Control (TC) o Brake Assist (BA) o Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) * 6 airbags including: o Front airbags for driver and front passenger o Front side impact airbags o Side curtain airbags * Automatic headlamps * 6 speaker audio system with MP3 compatible in dash CD, radio and MP3 "plug & play" functionality with graphic information display * Air conditioning * Steering wheel audio controls * Cruise control * Trip computer * Power windows, front and rear

Holden Cruze CDX - includes all CD specific feature highlights, plus:

* 1.8 litre 4-cylinder ECOTEC petrol engine * 5-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic transmission with Active Select * 17 inch alloy wheels (4) * Front fog lamps * Leather steering wheel * Leather appointed seats * Heated front seats * Rear park assist