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
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)
Leather Package - $1,125.00