2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel

2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel Review

Chevy brings diesel back, hoping for better luck this time.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: September 20th, 2013

The Chevy Cruze Turbo Diesel is a welcome sight in a country that has traditionally - and unfairly - shunned diesel for several decades. Of course, it's the domestic automakers themselves who are to blame; the diesel cars they made during the energy crisis of the 1970s were atrocities - smelly, noisy, and just plain bad.

But much time has passed and while American auto buyers turned their noses up at diesel technology, European automakers steadily worked to improve the technology, successfully ridding diesel of everything that made it icky and nasty to American drivers.

Enter the Chevy Cruze Diesel, the car that tries to bring a little of that European flair - and excellent fuel efficiency - stateside. For a domestic automaker's return to the once shunned-technology, the Cruze is a welcome sight. But compared against its European competition, it leaves a little to be desired.

  • On the Road

    You can't argue with the fuel efficiency of the Cruze Diesel - at 46 highway and 27 city, it offers the best mpg numbers of any non-hybrid in America. And on the freeway the Cruze Diesel handles as well as its non-diesel brethren. Its 151-hp engine makes 264 lb-ft of torque, making it a sporty little cruiser, or cruzer if you prefer. With its high mpg rating, the Cruze can give you up to 717 miles on a full tank. That's nothing to spit diesel particulates at, and it more than makes up for any difficulty one might have finding a diesel gas pump.

    Where the Cruze fails is at idle. The diesel knock is significantly more noticeable than in the car's nearest competitor - the VW Jetta TDI - and the transmission tends to get a little hiccough-y at low speeds. Several times we found ourselves reaching for the clutch that doesn't exist, fearing that our diesel-powered Cruze might stall.

  • Interior

    The inside of the Cruze is as unspectacular as the outside, but it's roomy and comfortable and features Chevy's MyLink infotainment system, which is far from the worst, but remains, by virtue of its being a modern infotainment system, needlessly complicated. The leather-appointed seats are a nice touch, and the two-tone interior adds just enough style to keep the styling from looking strictly utilitarian.

  • Exterior

    Nothing but the extra badge distinguishes the Cruze Diesel from other Cruzes, which is a good thing, because it's a handsome compact. Certainly not a car that will draw crowds, but no one expects that from a midsize sedan.

  • Conclusion

    The Cruze Turbo Diesel would be easy to recommend if it weren't for two complicating factors. One is the price: At $25,000, it's not cheap, and that extra cost isn't really make up in the money you'll save on fuel. The other complicating factor is the existence of the Jetta TDI. The TDI gets better city mileage, is better looking, quieter, and ultimately a better car.
    Still, if you're dying to go diesel and want to support an American car company, the Cruze is a very good choice, and one you won't be likely to regret.

  • Specs,Features & Prices

    Engine: 2.0-liter turbo diesel

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Power Output: 151 hp / 264 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy: 46 city / 27 highway

    Base Price: $27,795

    As Tested: $25,695 (incl. $810 destination charge)

    Features: Color touch radio with 7" screen, CD/MP3 player and USB port; leather-appointed seats; 17" painted aluminum wheels; aero performance package, including lower front grille air shutter, mid-body panels, and front fascia air dam and rear spoilers.

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