There’s something extremely comforting about things remaining the same. Most of us enjoy familiarity and routine, and the same applies when we get behind the wheel of a new car.
We spent a week with the 2014 Chevy Cruze Turbo Diesel where we enjoyed the ease of driving something special, but with the looks and functionality of every Cruze we’ve driven before. There’s no special gauges, buttons, shifters, modes or electronic wizardry. It was as simple as get in, turn the key, put it in D and go.
Under the Hood
Twist the ignition to the Cruze diesel and expect quite a bit of noise from the outside. Roll up the windows and it subdues a significant amount, though it still isn’t gasoline engine-quiet. Under the hood is a Europe-designed 2.0L diesel engine that produces 151 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque, and can go from 0-60 in about 8.6 seconds. The engine also has an overboost feature capable of increasing torque to an estimated 280 lb.-ft, for stronger acceleration periods of about 10 seconds.
Power around town and on the highway was perfectly adequate. We found that the 6-speed automatic transmission hesitated as to what gear it wanted to be in, making acceleration not as smooth as we’ve come to expect with the gasoline Cruze.
The diesel Cruze achieves 46 mpg on the highway, better than any non-hybrid or gasoline car in America, allowing 717 miles of travel on a single tank! Besides the diesel powertrain, eco modifications from the Cruze Eco like a rear spoiler, special 17″ wheels, low-rolling resistance tires and louvers in the lower front grille that close at certain speeds all contribute to reducing aerodynamic drag.
Now, there’s the misconception that diesel = dirty, and a few decades ago that was true. Today though, everything from GM’s heavy-duty trucks to the Chevy Cruze TD come with a particulate filter and a fluid injection system for the emissions system. That means no cloud of black smoke and very little exhaust emissions, fewer than many gasoline cars!
For those concerned with consuming fewer fossil fuels, the Cruze TD is B20 bio-diesel compatible.
The Cruze Turbo Diesel comes well-equipped at its base price of $26,000 with all the amenities and features expected in a modern car, from remote start to heated leather seats. Surprisingly though, an illuminated glovebox is not available.
Quiet, smooth performance is enabled by a number of features on and around the engine, including sound-absorbing features such as a unique dash mat, hood blanket and more. Everything else about the Cruze Turbo Diesel feels, looks and operates like any other Cruze, which is great because we found the Cruze to be the perfect in just about every way when we reviewed it in 2012.
Cold weather start is another worry of many people with diesel experience from the past, but rest-assured that the Cruze was developed for North America and even includes a remote starting system on the key fob and through the OnStar mobile app to ensure the engine is warmed up by the time you’re ready to go.
The Cruze is backed by GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is better than any diesel currently on the market, and also includes two years of maintenance for items like oil changes, tire rotations and diesel exhaust fluid top-offs.
This is GM’s first attempt at a diesel car in many years and we commend them for being the first American automaker to create a diesel at a price point many can afford. The Cruze diesel isn’t glamorous and it isn’t silent like a hybrid on city streets, but If you’ve always wanted an oil-burner for the highway fuel economy and massive amount of torque, the Cruze Turbo Diesel is perfect.
Our test car stickered for $25,795 including destination and a $100 oil pan heater, and at a price like that, the Cruze Turbo Diesel shines in the growing diesel market.