2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel: going the extra mile
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.
On paper, this engine’s output is higher than Volkswagen’s 2.0L TDI.