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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

    Right car, wrong time.

    The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel comes at a time where diesel is being burned at the stake. Due to Volkswagen’s cheating on emission tests, the fuel has been vilified around the world. It also has meant more extensive testing, investigations into possible cheating from different automakers, and companies scrapping plans to introduce diesel models. Yet, General Motors sees an opportunity to take advantage of as there might be a group of diesel enthusiasts that still want a small and fuel-efficient sedan. The regular Cruze impressed me when I reviewed it earlier this year. Can the diesel do the same?

    • Under the hood is an all-new turbocharged 1.6L diesel four-cylinder with 137 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Impressive numbers to say in the least. This is paired up to a six-speed manual (what I had) or a nine-speed automatic.
    • In terms of fuel economy, the diesel is rated at 30 City/52 Highway/37 Combined with the six-speed manual, and 31/47/37 with the nine-speed automatic.
    • The first thing I noticed when driving the Cruze Diesel is how much quieter it is. When I drove the last-generation Cruze Diesel back a few years ago, I described it being noisier than a cab-over truck at idle. The new engine is much better. The only real signs of it being a diesel are when you start it up after letting it sit for awhile. Otherwise, the engine produces little to no clatter that diesel engines are known for.
    • Taking off from a stop, the diesel feels quicker than the standard gas engine. A key reason for this is torque arriving at a low 2,000 rpm. More impressive is how don’t always need to downshift when you need to make a pass. The engine has a fair amount of power on tap for these situations.
    • The manual transmission is easy to use as going through the gears felt effortless and it was easy to figure where in the shift pattern you were. The clutch is light, but has a long travel. Still, you will be able to find the catch point very easily.
    • The only downside to the manual is a very short first gear. Leaving a stoplight, you’ll find out very quickly that you need to shift immediately. For a time, I tried starting the vehicle in second. While this improves the overall drivability of the vehicle, I found it slightly tough to leave a stop somewhat cleanly. 
    • Fuel economy? I saw an average of 42 MPG in mostly city driving for the few days I had it. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to put the Cruze on a long highway trip. But from reviews I have seen, you can easily get 50+ MPG.
    • Everything else about the Cruze Diesel is mostly the same as the Cruze I drove late last year. The ride is smooth on most road surfaces. Road and wind noise are kept to near silent levels. Handling is about average as the Cruze goes a corner with body motions kept in check, but steering lacks the weight and feel some drivers are looking for in enthusiastic driving.
    • It is a shame that the Diesel sedan doesn’t get the option of the RS appearance package as it makes the Cruze more interesting to look at. The standard design is ok with a similar profile to the Volt. But the back is where the design unfurls as it looks very plain compared to the rest of the model. Not helping is the silver-blue paint finish which makes it look somewhat dull.
    • The interior is a pleasant and comfortable place to sit in with high-quality materials, comfortable seats, and plenty of room for passengers.
    • A 7-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet MyLink comes standard, while an 8-inch system with navigation is available as an option. I have to admit I like this system slightly more due to the simpler interface. I do wish the touchscreen was better at detecting when one of the touch buttons is pressed. The touchscreen system was slightly hit and miss at detecting this.
    • Pricing for the Cruze Diesel begins $23,795 - about $2,270 more than similar equipped Cruze LT manual. Part of the price increase is due to the Diesel getting the Convenience Package - includes a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, keyless start, and remote lock - as standard. With the Leather Package, our as-tested price of came $25,795.
    • The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel is much better than the model it replaces with a more refined engine that delivers an impressive stream of power and high fuel economy numbers. It doesn’t hurt that the Cruze is a well-rounded compact to boot. But it is going to be a tough sell in this time where diesel is considered a great evil. Chevrolet might only be able to bring diesel fans to the Cruze Diesel, which is a great shame.

    Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Cruze Diesel, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Chevrolet
    Model: Cruze
    Trim: Diesel
    Engine: 1.6L Turbodiesel DOHC Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 137 @ 3,750
    Torque @ RPM: 240 @ 2,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 30/52/37
    Curb Weight: 3,091 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Lordstown, Ohio
    Base Price: $23,795
    As Tested Price: $25,795 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Leather Package - $1,125.00

    Edited by William Maley


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    Love your write up William, especially the first sentence. Very cool to read how the test drive went for you.

    FYI - I checked with the local Chevy Dealership, you can order the parts so I bet if you really wanted, you could buy the RS body parts, have them painted and put on and boom, RS inspired Diesel. That would rock! :metal:

    2017-cruze-diesel.jpg

    2017-cruze-RS.jpg

    Yes totally agree that the RS package Sedan is better looking than the normal Diesel package sedan.

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    Great write up. The first 'ever' Cruze diesel was a good car but had lots of teething issues mechanically here in the US. But it ushered in the awareness for this version. I'd be very interested in a Cruze diesel and I wish the regal or Malibu had a diesel option. The gas models are being heavily discounted right now so it makes the diesel price tough to consider but at the same time I think the msrp's are ok. I'd recommend to anyone and this may finally give GM diesel car cred in the us. Lots of people drive long distances to work and there is a market for high mpg high mile cars.  

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    It's really weird they don't at least dress up the sedan model to Premier trim standards, given the high price. This model should attract some VW converts as well as a fair amount of hypermilers. Time will tell if this was a worthwhile investment for GM, but I'm leaning toward "unlikely."

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    Another anecdote..a former coworker had a VW Jetta diesel wagon, when the lease was up last year he swapped it out for a new GTI...also bought a Sprinter camper, but that's a different use case. 

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    35 minutes ago, cp-the-nerd said:

    It's really weird they don't at least dress up the sedan model to Premier trim standards, given the high price. This model should attract some VW converts as well as a fair amount of hypermilers. Time will tell if this was a worthwhile investment for GM, but I'm leaning toward "unlikely."

    Agreed, I think they will let it wither and rot on the vine like they did the last one....which is one reason we didn't even test drive this when we replaced the TDI Jetta.

    3 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Another anecdote..a former coworker had a VW Jetta diesel wagon, when the lease was up last year he swapped it out for a new GTI...also bought a Sprinter camper, but that's a different use case. 

    ...and yes, GTI is still on my short list...

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    Another reason I think diesel is probably a bad investment–beyond the obvious–is that we're going to see HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) featured in new gas engines in the next 5 years. This is essentially the application of diesel ignition to gasoline, and will yield similar highway fuel economy without all the downsides of diesel emissions and additional maintenance.

    That leaves the only practical use of diesel being Trucks and commercial vehicles.

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    1 hour ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Another anecdote..a former coworker had a VW Jetta diesel wagon, when the lease was up last year he swapped it out for a new GTI...also bought a Sprinter camper, but that's a different use case. 

    Understandable, VW Diesel buyers are a very hard core group. I wish him luck with his Sprinter Camper. The quality of that MB product is the worse ever and now that the Camper vans have been out, I am not seeing anything better in regards to their quality or lack of high cost repairs.

    1 hour ago, cp-the-nerd said:

    It's really weird they don't at least dress up the sedan model to Premier trim standards, given the high price. This model should attract some VW converts as well as a fair amount of hypermilers. Time will tell if this was a worthwhile investment for GM, but I'm leaning toward "unlikely."

    Agreed, The Diesel should have had the Premium package minimum since your already have the higher cost diesel. The RS Trim should be base model on this car.

    47 minutes ago, cp-the-nerd said:

    Another reason I think diesel is probably a bad investment–beyond the obvious–is that we're going to see HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) featured in new gas engines in the next 5 years. This is essentially the application of diesel ignition to gasoline, and will yield similar highway fuel economy without all the downsides of diesel emissions and additional maintenance.

    That leaves the only practical use of diesel being Trucks and commercial vehicles.

    While I agree that Diesel is a bad investment for any company now, I think GM already had gone down the road to far to turn back or just shut it down and so you have this car.  I doubt GM will do another.

    In regards to HCCI, I have not seen anything that continues to show success and durability in a HCCI Gas engine. I expect more Hybirds like the VOLT than HCCI engines over the next 5 years. Course many will be CUV's.

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    7 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    And Europe has been the biggest, strongest market for diesels..if this goes EU-wide, diesel's future doesn't look good..

    So France and UK has banded them, Germany is considering it. I figure if Germany does it, then the rest of EU will and over the next 10 to 20 years, Diesel will dwindle to nothing there except for commercial trucks and buses. Everything else will go hybrid / EV. This will also kill it for pretty much the rest of the world too. After all China has banned Diesel auto's now and is aggressively moving to Hybrid / EV.

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    27 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Another Nail in Diesel auto's, UK is banning them and has set a deadline for Gas auto's too.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40731164

    :pokeowned:

    Pretty much...Where is OCNblu when we need a good crank around here?

    18 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    So France and UK has banded them, Germany is considering it. I figure if Germany does it, then the rest of EU will and over the next 10 to 20 years, Diesel will dwindle to nothing there except for commercial trucks and buses. Everything else will go hybrid / EV. This will also kill it for pretty much the rest of the world too. After all China has banned Diesel auto's now and is aggressively moving to Hybrid / EV.

    Meanwhile here in the United States, our Fascist coke-head in chief and his meth addicted followers want us to move backwards to coal.

    • Haha 1

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    56 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    While I agree that Diesel is a bad investment for any company now, I think GM already had gone down the road to far to turn back or just shut it down and so you have this car.  I doubt GM will do another.

    In regards to HCCI, I have not seen anything that continues to show success and durability in a HCCI Gas engine. I expect more Hybirds like the VOLT than HCCI engines over the next 5 years. Course many will be CUV's.

    I know for sure that GM and Mazda are both working on HCCI engines. Last report I saw was it will be present in Mazda's next gen skyactive designs by 2020. Early systems will be highway-activated compression ignition for that big boost while cruising. What you'll see reflected in EPA ratings of something like the Mazda 3 or Cruze is a relatively normal ~30 mpg city, but 45-50 mpg highway.

    HCCI and electronic valvetrains are the future of the internal combustion engine. Hybrid/electric vehicles are not even remotely sustainable on a large scale. It's simply beyond global mining capacity to supply the battery volume of even a quarter of the US auto market. Meanwhile, fossil fuel currently enjoys the greatest production and availability in human history, with new methods of accessing oil being discovered all the time. There's no reason to believe oil will be a scare resource at any time in the near future.

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    2 hours ago, cp-the-nerd said:

    I know for sure that GM and Mazda are both working on HCCI engines. Last report I saw was it will be present in Mazda's next gen skyactive designs by 2020. Early systems will be highway-activated compression ignition for that big boost while cruising. What you'll see reflected in EPA ratings of something like the Mazda 3 or Cruze is a relatively normal ~30 mpg city, but 45-50 mpg highway.

    HCCI and electronic valvetrains are the future of the internal combustion engine. Hybrid/electric vehicles are not even remotely sustainable on a large scale. It's simply beyond global mining capacity to supply the battery volume of even a quarter of the US auto market. Meanwhile, fossil fuel currently enjoys the greatest production and availability in human history, with new methods of accessing oil being discovered all the time. There's no reason to believe oil will be a scare resource at any time in the near future.

    Not an issue about the Oil as I think Natural Gas is a better fuel. Yet we are seeing major climate change and need to think about a better balance of living on the planet with a healthier world for all. That means we need to cut the green house gas output. Auto's are one way to do that.

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    2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Pretty much...Where is OCNblu when we need a good crank around here?

    Meanwhile here in the United States, our Fascist coke-head in chief and his meth addicted followers want us to move backwards to coal.


    "Fascist coke-head in chief and his meth addicted followers"

    First off, you don't appear understand the word fascism. Second, you just insulted half of America. Seriously pathetic, and every time one of you high-and-mighty democrats say something so ignorant and condescending, moderates move further right and conservatives like myself are reminded why we voted Trump.

    The political section of this site is closed due in no small part to anti-conservative trolling and ad hominem bait threads, so keep your political bashing to yourself.

    • Downvote 1

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    3 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Pretty much...Where is OCNblu when we need a good crank around here?

    Meanwhile here in the United States, our Fascist coke-head in chief and his meth addicted followers want us to move backwards to coal.

    But we'll have great healthcare, the finest, most luxurious health care ever, to take care of all the people that get cancer and emphazima from breathing in coal smoke.

    • Haha 1

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    But almost all OEMs are developing or producting EVs at his very moment. The wheels are turning, to use an automotive euphemism; they are incentivized. Consumers still have to agree to BUY them.

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    47 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    But almost all OEMs are developing or producting EVs at his very moment. The wheels are turning, to use an automotive euphemism; they are incentivized. Consumers still have to agree to BUY them.

    Tesla has no problem selling EVs, it's the mainstream auto makers that have trouble selling them.  

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    2 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Would not it make FAR MORE sense to establish EVs, and THEN ban ICEs, not the other way around???

    Not trying to be funny but serious here.  But this comment is hitting me the wrong way and it is not your fault.

    Father of one of my 16 year old Daughters friends is a flat Earth advocate and I have dealt with a lot of astonishing stupidity the last couple of weeks.

    The real issue with our country is that we cannot think about things like adults or act like adults. Our Politics and the whole common sense point you just made are signs and symptoms of this.

    58 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Tesla has no problem selling EVs, it's the mainstream auto makers that have trouble selling them.  

    They just have a problem building them profitably.

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    8 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    VW drivers switch to a GM car, even a diesel Cruze?  Call me when there actual numbers to those conquest sales.

    How about selling to people who don't want to lower their standards and buy a vW ?

    • Haha 1

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    1 hour ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Tesla has no problem selling EVs, it's the mainstream auto makers that have trouble selling them.  

    Tesla sells because they are rich guy toys and tech toys. 

    Until we find out if they can actually make cars in volume with average quality and deliver on time and at price, tesla is teetering on failure. 

    My feeling is GM is laying in the weeds on EV's.  They realize they could assault the market with EV's and no matter what they do they will get battered in the press because of Tesla. Real truth is if GM set their mind to it they could own the EV world with a few product releases. It is probably true as well that making and supplying batteries that the supply chain needs to ramp up to keep quality at a high level. 

    There is still a place for diesels in the market for the next 15 years etc. at a minimum.  

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    2 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Tesla has no problem selling EVs, it's the mainstream auto makers that have trouble selling them.  

    As stated above- Tesla makes zero profit selling EVs. Musk also claim they'll sell 500K at the end of next year, but only sold 46K the end of last year. The company has lost money for 10 years straight, to the tune of $3B on a company the size of Porsche. Do those 3 points count as 'trouble' at all?

    BTW- Chevrolet sold 28K EVs in 2016 (Bolt was only 579 out of that) - on pace for 38K in 2017. And by 'relying' on [what consumers want to buy and] just over half of Tesla's volume in EVs, GM made $19 billion in profit in just the last 2 years.

    2016 only saw 159K EVs sold in the U.S.... out of what- 17 million ?
    That 159K is BOTH EVs and PHEVs like the Volt. Cut out the PHEVs and pure EVs sold only 85K.

    Tesla's marketshare is 0.2%. In March of '17, GM sold 6221% more cars than Tesla.
    Cold and hard, is objective data.

    We, bloggers & journalists can wax high poetry over EVs (and PHEVs), and there were 35 models to chose from.... but they are have major problems resonating with check-writers. Their share will increase, but the RATE is widely & enthusiastically over-estimated. Thusly, any talk of banning ICEs is ridiculously premature.

     

    1 hour ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Not trying to be funny but serious here.  But this comment is hitting me the wrong way and it is not your fault.

    The real issue with our country is that we cannot think about things like adults or act like adults. Our Politics and the whole common sense point you just made are signs and symptoms of this.

    Not sure I get your point here, Horse.

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    9 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Not sure I get your point here, Horse.

    My point is merely that we seem incapable of utilizing common  sense when it comes to automotive or energy policy. The way the VW scandal was handled would be IMHO further proof of this.

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