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    Quick Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbodiesel


    • A Challenger To The Volkswagen Jetta TDI Appears!

    For the longest time, the Volkswagen Jetta has had it all to itself. I’m of course talking about the diesel compact sedan marketplace. Since the first Jetta came over the to the U.S. in the eighties, Volkswagen has offered a diesel engine as an option. Within the past few years, the popularity of the Jetta diesel has skyrocketed. But this past year, another contender has come in to challenge the Jetta’s dominance in this small niche. That would be the Chevrolet Cruze Turbodiesel. How does it stand up to the Jetta?

    Much like the Jetta TDI, the Chevrolet Cruze Turbodiesel doesn’t scream out that it's a diesel at all. The only clues that reveals its true identity are a set of seventeen-inch aluminum wheels and a new Eco badge that says 2.0 TD. Inside, the Cruze Turbodiesel comes fully loaded with leather seats, steering wheel controls, six-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, remote start, and much more. To get even close to that in a Jetta, you’ll have to go for one of the higher trims. One disappointment I had with the Cruze’s interior were the seats. I found myself squirming around in them to make myself comfortable. Also compared to the the Jetta TDI, the Cruze’s back seat doesn’t provide enough legroom.

    Powering the Cruze Turbodiesel is a turbocharged 2.0L DOHC diesel four-cylinder with 151 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is your only transmission choice. The Turbodiesel is quite the performer as torque peaks at 2,600 rpm and a majority of the torque is available between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm. This means the Cruze can very much hold its own when leaving a stop and there is always power in reserve when you need it. Fuel economy isn’t bad either with EPA ratings 27 City/46 Highway/33 Combined. Compared to the Jetta TDI economy, the Cruze beats it on the highway by four MPG, but the Jetta gets 30 MPG in the city. My average for the week landed around 37 MPG.

    However, all is not perfect with the 2.0L diesel. For starters, the 2.0L diesel engine sounds like it is from the eighties to early nineties with a loud clattering noise coming under the hood. Diesel engine technology has gotten much better to where the clattering noises are toned down by a fair amount, but you wouldn’t know it by standing next to the Cruze. Now I should at this point that when you’re inside the Cruze Turbodiesel, almost none of the clattering makes it in. This is a testament to noise reduction work done on the Cruze’s interior. It’s a shame that it wasn’t extended to the engine bay.

    2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbodiesel 14

    The other problem with the Cruze Turbodiesel’s powertrain is the automatic. There are times when it seems to know what its doing and there are other times where it holds onto gears far too long before upshifting. I don’t know if this is an issue with this particular car or Turbodiesel models in general, but it wasn’t pleasant.

    Ride and handling characteristics are still the same as the Cruze I drove back two years ago where it has big car characteristics of smoothing over road imperfections and not letting in road and wind noise. As for cornering, the suspension keeps the vehicle steady and steering is quick, though somewhat numb.

    At the end of the week, I found the Cruze Turbodiesel to be equal to the Jetta TDI. Both models have different strengths and weaknesses, so trying to pick one that is better than the other is difficult. I would say if you’re looking for power and a impressive amount of kit, then look at the Cruze. If you want space, powertrain refinement, and a lower price, then the Jetta TDI is for you.

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

    Year: 2014

    Make: Chevrolet

    Model: Cruze

    Trim: Turbodiesel

    Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Diesel Four-Cylinder

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 151 @ 4000

    Torque @ RPM: 264 @ 2600

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/46/33

    Curb Weight: 3,475 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Lordstown, Ohio

    Base Price: $24,885.00

    As Tested Price: $28,105.00 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Audio System W/ Navigation - $795.00

    Enhanced Safety Package - $790.00

    Pioneer Sound System- $445.00

    2LT Driver Convenience Package - $380.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    nice write, but I disagree that the Cruze diesel is 'clattering', when i test drove it, it did not seem obnoxious. Or not really all that different from a VW. I did find it to be tomb quiet inside and I never really find the noise outside the cabin to be a big deal. As far as the tranny, there were times it didn't seem to know what to do, but I've always disliked the VW diesel with automatic.......moreso with the dual clutch especially.

    http://www.cheersandgears.com/topic/81799-2014-chevy-cruze-diesel/

    For me, the only way the VW has an edge is city FE and rear seat room. More or less it's probably a draw, like you infer. I'd rather have a GM than a VW. Your chances are tougher in a VW I feel.

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    The other problem with the Cruze Turbodiesel’s powertrain is the automatic. There are times when it seems to know what its doing and there are other times where it holds onto gears far too long before upshifting. I don’t know if this is an issue with this particular car or Turbodiesel models in general, but it wasn’t pleasant.

    I have a little over 1000 miles on my Cruze diesel now. My initial test drives of a different car plus the exact one I bought fell in line with what I had read about the transmission shifting being odd. The strange thing is, once I actually picked my car up and started driving it, it has exhibited little of that past odd behavior. I'm not sure if they have a new transmission calibration that was flashed in it between when I test drove it and when picked it up or what changed. I also wonder if it doesn't have adaptive shift logic and having so many different drivers in the press cars causes problems. All in all, the transmission isn't really something I would complain about.

    I have put two tanks of diesel in mine so far with both averaging right around 35 mph calculated. This is actually better than the vehicle information center in the cluster stated. Also, at least 75% of my driving has been on surface streets so I'm pretty happy with the mileage so far (especially considering my heavy right foot) and it should only get better as it breaks in and the weather warms up.

    nice write, but I disagree that the Cruze diesel is 'clattering', when i test drove it, it did not seem obnoxious. Or not really all that different from a VW. I did find it to be tomb quiet inside and I never really find the noise outside the cabin to be a big deal. As far as the tranny, there were times it didn't seem to know what to do, but I've always disliked the VW diesel with automatic.......moreso with the dual clutch especially.

    Mine clatters quite a bit on a cold start but once it warms up it is much quieter. As stated in the review, even on the cold start, not much of it makes it into the cabin. Once it is warm, you wouldn't know it is a diesel sitting in the cabin.

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    Look at the pictures and remember that it was obviously quite cold when he had this car. diesels usually clatter more when cold

    Fuel economy tends to take a huge nosedive in such cold weather as well...

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    my last VW diesel drive (Jetta) was in winter so that may have jaded me some but the Passat TDI I drove previously didn't overwhelm me. I really don't think the VW is any more refined than the Cruze.

    "No indication to the masses that this car is a diesel in ride and drive or noises. Almost completely devoid of diesel personality. The only diesel rattle you hear is outside the car and even then it just isn't a fully committed rattler."

    that was just my take when i drove it. The inside was a tomb. All the sound deadening paid off but the Cruze diesel's one achilles to me is its weight. If they can trim 300 pounds off the Cruze diesel next go round, that'd be cool. It's hard to tout the Cruze's diesel achievements when its 3500 pounds plus and the Cruze Eco manual is like 500 pounds less. All that weight really has an effect on ride and drive and steering and suspension I figure. That's why for many, I think the Eco manual is almost a diesel killer in the Cruze lineup. Real world mpg's in combined driving can't be far apart and purchase price is so much less. Diesel prices are so volatile.

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    Yes, Cruze Eco manual is really the deal killer for the Cruze diesel. People are getting 44-45 mpg quite often.

    The average fuel economy for the Eco and Diesel are 35 and 36.5 mpg, respectively. That 1.5 mpg delta with a ~$0.60 price differential in fuel prices is really hard to overcome. And we are not even taking into consideration the price differential between the two models.

    As much as I love diesels, if I were in market for Cruze I would buy an ECO.

    Cruze Diesel really needs a manual transmission. Another blunder from GM.

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    What a ridiculous statement to say that the diesel engine sound at idle is not awesome. I love the sound of my VW diesel, standing outside of it, listening to it clatter away, be it winter, spring, summer or fall.

    A little bit of warm weather and my mileage is shooting up significantly. Very nice.

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    I would have to say my cruze diesel has been great so far! Only 1400 KM on it but its roomy enough and gets amazing mileage.. even when it was -20C at the beginning of March. The Clatter? What clatter.. I can't hear it idiling next to my Cummins!

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    GM absolutely needs to advertise this thing! I don't know why they have not done a better job. It's almost old GM like in that they release a new product but don't bother to tell anybody about it. I guess they just hope the car mags will do the trick for them. The problem is, its not really an enthusiasts car and enthusiasts tend to be the ones that read the car magazines. It seems like every person I tell that I bought a Cruze diesel always replies "Oh, I didn't know there was a diesel Cruze."

    As far as value goes, I've assumed all along that for the 2 - 3 years I will own the car, I will not save enough money on fuel to justify the purchase. Since diesels typically have better residual values, I am hoping I get more of my money back when it comes time to sell. Of course, if they don't ever let people know they make it, there may not be many people looking for a used one in a few years.

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    Probably would be a great car for you if you could find a slightly pre-owned one. You keep your cars forever and with a diesel, you'd be looking at a good level of reliability for an extended amount of miles.

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    $25-28k for a Cruze seems like a lot to me. If it were a Verano or Malibu diesel for $28k, I think it would be a better deal. That being said, I think they should put the diesel in more vehicles, and perhaps some powertrain and transmission refinement needs done also. Should they get an 8 or 9 speed transmission for front wheel drive cars, that might solve some issues and add to the mileage.

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    Probably would be a great car for you if you could find a slightly pre-owned one. You keep your cars forever and with a diesel, you'd be looking at a good level of reliability for an extended amount of miles.

    all the unsold ones will become demos or will get titled and driven a couple k miles and put back on the lot as used....... once the 15's come out you will see a flood of used 14's. There's actually already quite a few used Cruze diesels across the USA on autotrader. No real price advantages yet tho.

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      Is the Honda Ridgeline a truck or not? Depends on to whom you ask this question. A truck person would say no since the Ridgeline isn’t a body-on-frame vehicle. Instead, it uses a unibody platform from the Honda Pilot. A consumer would say yes because it looks like a truck and has all the attributes you would find on one such as a bed. I spent some time in a Ridgeline over the holidays to see if I could figure out the answer.
      The previous Ridgeline looked like an auto show concept squared-off shape and missing the design cues you would expect on a truck such as a gap between the cab and bed. This put a lot of people off from looking at the Ridgeline. The new model looks more in line with the current crop of midsize trucks as Honda adopted the standard cab and bed design. This includes the gap between the bed and cab, although this is more of a design touch. Stick your hand in the gap and you’ll realize that both parts are connected (thanks unibody construction).
      The front end is where you’ll make your decision as to whether you like the Ridgeline or not. There is an imposing grille with a long chrome bar on top. A set of large headlights sits on either side of the grille. Other design items to take note of are the sculpted hood and front bumper. Personally, I found the front end to a bit over the top. Honda was trying to make the Ridgeline look tough and imposing, but the end result is a look that is trying too hard. 
      At least Honda got the Ridgeline’s bed right. Compared to the last model, Honda added four inches to the overall length of the bed (64 vs. 60 inches). This gives the Ridgeline the longest standard bed in the class. Unlike competitors, you cannot option a longer bed for the Ridgeline. Honda has also fitted some clever ideas for the Ridgeline’s bed. First is the in-bed trunk that offers 7.3 cubic feet of space where you can stow tools or luggage, giving the Ridgeline a significant edge in practicality than its competitors. Second is the dual-action tailgate which allows the tailgate to be opened downward or to the side.
      The recent crop of trucks have been stepping up their game when it comes to interiors and the Ridgeline is no different. The interior is borrowed from the Pilot crossover and brings forth an easy-to-understand control layout and high-quality materials. One item that wasn’t carried over from the Pilot was the push-button transmission selector. Instead, the Ridgeline sticks with a good-ole lever. Thank you, Honda.
      The Ridgeline proved to be a very comfortable pickup truck thanks to supportive leather seats, and power-adjustments for the driver. I took this truck to Northern Michigan and back during the holidays, and I never felt tired or had any soreness afterward. The back seat provides more than enough head and legroom for passengers. The bottom cushion of the back seat can also be folded up to provide a decent amount space for carrying larger items.
      Honda’s infotainment system in the Ridgeline has to be one of the most frustrating systems we have ever come across. The eight-inch system gets off on the wrong foot by using touch-sensitive controls for the volume and other functions that don’t always respond whenever pressed. At least you can use the steering wheel controls for a number of these functions. HondaLink needs a serious revamp in terms of its interface as trying to do simple things is very convoluted. For example, if I want to pick a podcast episode from my iPod, I have to jump through a number of menus to just to get to the listing of the specific show I want to listen to. You can avoid using HondaLink by plugging in your iPhone or Android phone and using CarPlay or Android Auto. 
      All Honda Ridgeline’s come with a 3.5L V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up with a six-speed automatic. The base RT to the RTL-T has the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The RTL-E and Black Edition only come with all-wheel drive. No other V6 truck in the class can match the performance of the Ridgeline’s V6. Acceleration is strong whether you’re leaving a stoplight or making a pass. The run to 60 mph is said to take around 7 seconds, making this one quick midsize truck. The six-speed automatic delivers fast and smooth shifts.
      All-wheel drive Ridgelines like our tester come with Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management system. This system quickly redistributes the amount of torque going to each wheel to improve handling and traction. AWD models also get the Intelligent Traction Management system which adjusts the settings of the powertrain to help you get through whatever terrain you find yourself in. We put these systems to the test by driving through an unplowed road with deep snow. The Ridgeline was able to make it through without breaking a sweat. That doesn’t make the Ridgeline a truck you want to take on an off-road trail as it only offers 7.9-inches of ground clearance and no low-range.
      The Ridgeline’s payload is towards the top the of class when compared with other midsize crew cab trucks. Front-wheel drive models can haul between 1,447 to 1,565 pounds in the bed. All-wheel drive models have a payload capacity of 1,499 to 1,584 pounds. For towing, the Ridgeline falls a bit short. Front-wheel drive models have a max tow rating of 3,500 lbs, while AWD models are slightly higher at 5,000 lbs. For most people, the Ridgeline will be enough to handle various towing needs. If you need a bit more, then the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are ready to help.
      The EPA rates the Ridgeline AWD at 18 City/25 Highway/21 Combined. My average for the week landed at 23.6 mpg in a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.
      Previously, we’ve considered GM’s midsize trucks as having the best ride in the class. The Honda Ridgeline now holds that honor. The unibody platform and four-wheel independent suspension setup give the Ridgeline a ride that is almost equal to a passenger sedan. Bumps and other imperfections are smoothed out. The Ridgeline is a decent handling truck as well. There isn’t much body roll and it feels stable when going into a corner. We do wish Honda would make the steering slightly heavier for the Ridgeline.
      The Honda Ridgeline may not meet the true definition of a pickup truck, but it is one in spirit. Yes, the unibody architecture does limit the capabilities of the Ridgeline as it cannot haul or tow heavy items. Nor can it go deep into the wilderness due to decisions made by Honda on the Ridgeline’s off-road capability. But it is in other areas that the Ridgeline begins to stand out such as the clever ideas in the bed, comfortable interior, and a ride that is more in tune with a regular car. They might not be the advantages you would expect in a truck, but they are something that Honda believes will bring in those interested in a pickup minus a lot of the issues that other models have. 
      To put it another way, the Honda Ridgeline is like Festivus from Seinfeld; they’re both for the rest of us.
      Disclaimer: Honda Provided the Ridgeline, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Honda
      Model: Ridgeline
      Trim: RTL-E
      Engine: 3.5L SOHC 24-valve i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 280 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,515 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, Alabama
      Base Price: $41,370
      As Tested Price: $42,270 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
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