2014 Chevro­let Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel: go­ing the ex­tra mile

Southwest Booster - - WHEELS - BY MICHEL DES­LAU­RI­ERS, AU­TOGO.CA

Fi­nally, more than one main­stream brand is giv­ing diesel-pow­ered pas­sen­ger cars a chance in North Amer­ica.

And more will come. VW pretty much had the com­pact and mid­size sedan classes to it­self, as far as diesel propul­sion goes. GM thinks it can beat the Volk­swa­gen Jetta TDI at its own game, or at least grab a share of the mar­ket, with the 2014 Chevro­let Cruze Diesel.

Ob­vi­ously, this new oil burner prom­ises very low fuel con­sump­tion, as low as 4.2 L/100km on the high­way, and a half-litre less than the Jetta. But wait a minute – doesn’t Chevro­let al­ready of­fer a blad­der­bust­ing vari­ant called the Cruze Eco? In­deed, al­though the lat­ter equipped with a gaso­line en­gine and an au­to­matic can man­age “only” 5.0 L/100km on the open road. We can’t crit­i­cize the Gen­eral for giv­ing

its cus­tomers more choices. More power than TDI GM’s diesel en­gine is a 2.0L four that pro­duces 151 horse­power and 264 lb-ft of torque. And ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer, it has an over­boost func­tion that tem­po­rar­ily serves up 280 lb-ft of torque. On pa­per, this en­gine’s out­put is higher than Volk­swa­gen’s 2.0L TDI.

On the tar­mac, how­ever, it doesn’t feel all that more pow­er­ful. Blame the 2014 Chevro­let Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel’s ex­tra heft – about 250 pounds – and the six-speed au­to­matic’s fuel econ­omy mis­sion. The Jetta’s gear­box in­cludes a sport mode for quicker shifts and keep­ing the en­gine at full boil, not the one in the Chevy.

You can also opt for the six-speed man­ual in the Jetta, which you can’t have in the Cruze. In ad­di­tion, the VW TDI con­sumes 6.7 L/100km around town, while the Cruze Diesel is rated at 7.5. Our av­er­age over the course of the week was 6.0 L/100km, a lit­tle higher than ex­pected but still pretty good; at that pace, we could’ve trav­elled 1,000 km on one tank. We just wish GM’s en­gine wasn’t so darn noisy; it’s far from in­tol­er­a­ble, but def­i­nitely sounds less re­fined than the VW TDI lump.

As with most new diesel en­gines, this one runs on what is called Diesel Ex­haust Fluid, or Ad­Blue. It’s used to lower NOx emis­sions, and the deal­er­ship takes care of fill­ing up the DEF tank dur­ing reg­u­lar ser­vice in­ter­vals. Looks the same From the out­side, there’s no way to dis­tin­guish a 2014 Chevro­let Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel from gas-pow­ered ver­sions, be­sides a small green logo that reads “2.0 TD” on it and ex­clu­sive 17-inch al­loy wheels. Then again, there’s no rea­son to make it stand apart, ei­ther.

The Cruze’s clean and mod­ern lines are ag­ing well; very well, in fact, since its de­sign was com­pleted in 2008. It’s not easy to cre­ate a car whose look will please cus­tomers in var­i­ous coun­tries around the world, but GM nailed it. On the other hand, a lit­tle facelift wouldn’t hurt, at least to please the first buy­ers of the Cruze who would like to trade in for some­thing that looks newer. Alas, my girl­friend thinks the com­pact Chevy is a car styled for old peo­ple, so it’s all a mat­ter of per­sonal taste.

The 2014 Chevro­let Cruze Diesel shares the Eco trim’s aero­dy­namic add-ons and grille shut­ters to cut through the at­mos­phere more cleanly. And like the Cruze Eco, it rides on lowrolling-re­sis­tance tires, dump­ing the com­pact spare for a sealant and in­fla­tor kit to save weight.

In­side, the car boasts a taste­ful de­sign, al­though I’m not a big fan of ex­pan­sive sil­ver-painted trim pieces. I like the cloth cov­er­ing the dash­board, but not many peo­ple share my opin­ion on this; some say it looks cheap, I say it looks dif­fer­ent. How­ever, ev­ery­one can agree that it will gather dust fairly quickly.

The Cruze doesn’t boast class-lead­ing room, but four adults will be quite com­fort­able for road trips. Trunk space is re­duced in the diesel vari­ant, how­ever, from 425 litres to 376. The ride is quiet and re­fined, as if we were driv­ing a big­ger car, and that’s one of the lit­tle Chevy’s strong points that makes it so pop­u­lar.

Photo by Au­togo.ca

On pa­per, this en­gine’s out­put is higher than Volk­swa­gen’s 2.0L TDI.

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