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cp-the-nerd

Cruze Hatchback Premier: Long Term Update

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2017 Cruze Hatchback Premier (1.4T/6A)
Odo - 8051 mi


We just took the Cruze on a 1,000 mile road trip (from Baltimore to Myrtle Beach and back) and this was my first extended, in-depth experience driving and living with the car for a week. I'll break down the review into sections if you want to skip around.

Fuel Economy (EPA rated 28 city/37 highway):
*Premium gas/mobil 1 oil used. Manual recommends regular gas, dexos approved synthetic oil.

On our trip, we achieved 39.3 mpg leaving Baltimore and 41.0 mpg coming back, based on the gauge cluster. My wife reports that it's fairly accurate, if optimistic by an mpg. Hand calculation is pretty much out the window because we have to hit 3 different gas stations with wildly different pump shut-offs and then we burn half a tank around town for the week. Sorry, I'm just not that invested when I know we can trust the gauge cluster.

We did not hypermile whatsoever, just used cruise control as much as possible. We passed slow traffic and drove aggressively when the situation called for it. No sitting behind slow traffic or drafting large trucks to fluff the numbers. We drove 7-10 over the speed limit, with most of the journey being 65 and 70 mph zones.

- From what I can tell, 75 mph seems to be the 40 mpg cutoff. 
- 60 to 70 mph is the sweet spot for crushing the EPA highway rating.
- The gauge cluster's "Best 50 mile average mpg" indicated we set a new high score of 49 mpg.

Engine/Transmission
1.4T DI VVT is rated 153 hp/177 tq
C&D test numbers for the premier hatchback auto: 0-60 in 7.7 sec, 1/4 mile in 16 @ 84 mph.

In my experience, the direct-injected 1.4T provides more than adequate acceleration and feels peppy. The tires will peel out a bit when floored from a stop, and the engine offers strong torque for low-stress highway merging or passing even with 2 people and probably 150 lbs of luggage. I also drove with 4 adult occupants and acceleration remained adequate around town without revving hard. At full throttle, the engine starts getting out of breath above 5500 rpm.

The transmission is more eco-tuned than I'd like, but the logic is a far cry from the mess of GM's first 6-speeds. Downshifting to accelerate takes a bit of prodding, but the downshift is drama free with a progressive surge of turbo torque that follows. After 6 hours on the road, we hit stop and go traffic briefly and under 25 mph the transmission tripped over itself a few times noticeably enough for my wife to point it out. Can't really be replicated on demand.

Steering/Handling

The electric power system in the Cruze has good heft to it, and the predictable turn-in seems to mask the electric numbness.

It's easy to drive, which is a comment I found myself coming back to frequently in my thoughts behind the wheel. It's not sporty, but it nails easy driving and commuting. The tires are all-season performance firestone firehawk GTs in 225/45R17 size. They handle securely, but make a lot of road noise in an otherwise quiet car. Michelins or Continentals will make a world of difference.

Brakes

One of the weak points of the car is the brake pedal. It sits an inch further forward than the gas pedal, which is very awkward in use. There's also too much play between gentle slowing and heavy braking. It feels like you're pushing through the floor to stop quickly.

Mechanically, the car has 4-wheel disk brakes, and they stop the car with authority. Pedal placement and feel is really the problem.

Conclusion

My wife and I really like the car. I keep coming back to the "easy to drive" sentiment, fun wasn't the goal here and I already have a car for that. It's very happy commuting and eating up highway miles at 40 mpg. I was comfortable in the seats for 8 hours of driving, which is very rare. The acceleration power straddles base versus optional engines of other cars like the Civic and Mazda 3 without sacrifice to maximum fuel economy, which is a good balance that hasn't left us wanting.

With a set of good tires and perhaps a tune in the far future, this car will be hanging around well beyond the last payment.

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Nice review. 

Great fuel economy, but are you using premium gas when regular is recommended or did I misunderstood something?

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Basically all turbocharged engines benefit from using premium. In the case of my wife's Cruze, we use premium in the summer and switch to regular the rest of the year when temp isn't a factor.

We knew it was hot and humid in the south so we filled with premium for the week.

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Despite the engine being turbo, it depends how it was programmed to run optimally by the manufacturer.  Not sure what it says in your manual, but unless it says otherwise i would think premium gas will not give you any benefit.

(I know CX-9 for example can run on regular but you lose about 25hp while keeping the torque level)

In any case, it is a nice car, hope it serves you well. 8k miles, it is barely broken in.

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It's not just how it's programmed. Turbocharging is all about temperature management, and there's tons of real-world evidence that in high temps, regular recommendations go right out the window.

You guys put way too much stock in minimum recommended octane. It's literally a selling point to say your economy car recommends regular. Doesn't mean premium makes no difference.

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If it benefited that much from 91+ octane they would put that as the requirement, or 89. 

It's about timing and with programming these days the computer will pull and retard timing as required regardless. 

Is there no intercooler? 

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Well you're wrong, but don't let that stop you. :rolleyes:

Turbo performance varies significantly with temperature fluxuation and heatsoak no matter what the mfr does in the tune. Using premium 3 months of the year to mitigate losses to fuel economy and power, not to mention possible pre-ignition in worst conditions, is worth the minor added cost.

I'd prefer the thread wasn't derailed any further over something so irrelevant, so make another thread if you want to argue premium benefits in turbo engines.

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On 10/16/2017 at 10:36 AM, cp-the-nerd said:

Basically all turbocharged engines benefit from using premium. In the case of my wife's Cruze, we use premium in the summer and switch to regular the rest of the year when temp isn't a factor.

We knew it was hot and humid in the south so we filled with premium for the week.

crazy, my malibu turbo hates anything besides plain old ethanol tarnished 87 octane the best.

i see your Cruze is pulling some great mpgs!

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      Additional 2019 updates across Malibu’s lineup include:
      A new, standard 8-inch diagonal color touchscreen radio running Chevrolet Infotainment 3 New 8-inch diagonal reconfigurable driver information center display on the Premier model Rear Vision Camera1 system is now standard on the Malibu L model The up-level Malibu Premier features standard heated outboard rear seats New available interior and exterior colors New wheel designs available in multiple sizes, including 16-, 17- and 18-inch The restyled Malibu joins the 2019 Cruze and Spark as part of Chevrolet’s freshened car portfolio. It goes on sale this fall.
      RESTYLED 2019 CHEVROLET CRUZE POSITIONED TO STRENGTHEN MARKET MOMENTUM
      DETROIT — Chevrolet today introduced the restyled 2019 Cruze with a more premium appearance that enhances its on-road presence and strengthens its value for customers. The updates for 2019 position Cruze to continue its success in the compact car segment.
      “Cruze is a cornerstone of Chevrolet’s car strategy, bringing new customers to the brand,” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director for Cars and Crossovers. “In fact, 53 percent of Cruze customers in 2017 were new to Chevrolet. Cruze has been so successful at attracting new buyers to Chevy because its lineup offers something for every customer, from body style to fuel choice to trim and design.”
      Recent introductions of the Cruze Hatch and Diesel models helped push the car to a 0.6-percent retail market share gain in 2017 and helped Chevrolet secure its third consecutive year of higher overall retail market share.
      New design
      The 2019 Cruze’s front fascia and grilles are all-new. Revised grille designs reinforce Cruze’s premium appearance. In the Premier trim, Chevrolet’s signature dual-element taillamps now feature LED accent lighting, which adds to Cruze’s sculptural beauty.
      “Cruze’s refreshed styling gives Cruze a more upscale look while maintaining its Chevrolet design DNA,” said John Cafaro, executive director, Global Chevrolet Design.
      What’s new for 2019
      Chevrolet is the most awarded, fastest-growing brand for the last four years overall* and as part of that, the first-ever Cruze Hatch LS continues Chevrolet’s commitment and momentum in offering a broad car portfolio with choices for every budget and need.
      Additional updates include:
      New Chevrolet Infotainment 3 running on a standard 7-inch diagonal color touchscreen radio Remote start and automatic climate control standard on LT and Premier models New wheel designs Black window moldings, bowtie emblems and 17-inch (and available 18-inch) machined wheels for Cruze’s RS package New available Umber interior color The 2019 Cruze goes on sale later this year, offered in sedan and hatchback models, with 1.4L turbo and available 1.6L turbo-diesel engines. It also features 4G LTE connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot (with limited service trial), and one of the segment’s biggest rosters of available active safety features, including:
      Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Rear Park Assist Following Distance Indicator Forward Collision Alert Front pedestrian braking Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking CHEVROLET INTRODUCES RESTYLED 2019 SPARK
      DETROIT — An updated face and new available active safety technology for the 2019 Spark add attitude and purpose to Chevrolet’s feisty, segment sales-leading mini-car.
      “Customers can easily personalize Spark, which is a main reason why it leads its segment in sales, attracting both young buyers and women to the brand,” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director for Cars and Crossovers. “Spark is an excellent value for customers seeking an affordable car that offers great safety technology and connectivity.”
      Spark’s fresh front-end styling takes its cues from the Chevrolet line, while new, available Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking1 can help drivers prevent or reduce the severity of low-speed front-end collisions by applying the brakes or enhancing the driver’s braking.
      The new styling boosts Spark’s premium appearance with a rich use of chrome in the grille. Available projector-style headlamps further enhance Spark’s chic styling. The available LED daytime running lamps are moved lower, giving Spark a more powerful presence and a family resemblance to the rest of the Chevrolet car lineup.
      At the rear, dual-element taillamps further the signature brand cue. Spark continues its tradition of offering customer personalization through bright and distinctive paint colors.
      The 2019 Spark is offered in LS, LT, 2LT and ACTIV trims, with the ACTIV featuring crossover-inspired design cues and a ride height raised by 10mm. All trims feature standard air conditioning, 10 standard airbags2 and a rear-vision camera system.
      New, segment-exclusive Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking joins the available Driver Confidence Package, complementing the package’s additional active safety features, Forward Collision Alert1 and Lane Departure Warning. 1
      When it comes to connectivity, Spark delivers a standard Chevrolet infotainment system featuring phone integration compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a limited trial of OnStar and connectivity access at no additional cost, plus access to the MyChevrolet mobile app.
      Spark is powered by a 1.4L DOHC engine offered with a manual transmission or an available continuously variable transmission (CVT).
      The refreshed Spark joins the 2019 Malibu and Cruze as part of Chevrolet’s updated car portfolio, which offers new styling, new technologies and more choices and value. It goes on sale later this year.

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