High quality and a hotspot: What’s not to like?
A Washington-area General Motors dealer once scorned me for giving Chevrolet and other GM brands the benefit of the doubt.
“You are trying to be fair,” he said. “But you are going overboard. GM hasn’t earned it.”
That was in 2006, three years before GM, weighed down by poor sales and lousy public relations — which I still contend were influenced by some biased automotive journalism — filed for bankruptcy.
“Let GM earn it, really earn it,” the disgruntled dealer said. “Then we can talk.”
Respectfully, Mr. Dealer, I’d like to reopen that conversation — at your convenience, of course. GM has done what you said it probably would never do, crack the Top 10 list of Consumer Reports. The 2017 Chevrolet Impala and Cruze sedans did that.
I couldn’t believe it, either. So, I turned my attention to GM cars, planning first to spend my time in automobiles many of us actually could afford, starting with the new-for-2017 Chevrolet Cruze LT Diesel.
What have I learned? First, this is not the General Motors of which we previously spoke. It is better, much better, more dedicated to doing things right. If GM hasn’t yet “earned it,” it certainly is trying, and it is giving its buyers good bargains in the offing.
The Cruze LT Diesel is superior to any compact car — easily above the lackluster Chevrolet Cavalier and Cobalt — recently produced by GM. Fit and finish are excellent, on par with or better than examples turned out by Asian and some European rivals. Advanced electronic safety features, such as blindside monitoring and lane-departure warning, are good. The car has its own WiFi hotspot. Bravo! Equipped with GM’s OnStar communications system, you are as safe in the Cruze LT Diesel as you are in anything from MercedesBenz. It looks good inside and out. You can be proud being behind the steering wheel of this one.
What about that diesel? I’m not going to make the mistake I made with Volkswagen — fall for clever and deceptive marketing pitches about its tailpipe cleanliness. Painfully, I now know that when you embrace a lie in this business, you wind up lying to everyone. Mea culpa!
I will tell you what I experienced. I averaged 46.3 miles per gallon on the highway in the Cruze LT Diesel and 30 miles per gallon in the city. That is good. The car uses an add-urea system to treat diesel exhaust. Chevrolet’s engineers say the car complies with federal and California exhaust regulations (the toughest state regulations). I’ll believe them and let the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and similar entities that have the technology and experience to check those claims do the rest.
Keep in mind that the Cruze LT Diesel was neither designed nor engineered to operate as a speedster. It doesn’t.
It is a compact, front-wheel-drive economy car, mostly designed to lower fuel costs. It enters the highway safely and operates well at highway speeds. I’d recommend keeping it in the middle or right highway lanes to stay in saferspeed company.
The Cruze LT Diesel is good for long road trips, assuming you use common sense and rest when needed. The car is a tad noisy, and that can be wearing.
Otherwise, it is a very decent, safe, affordable and likable automobile that gets a solid “buy” recommendation here. You’ve earned it, GM. Keep trying.
The Cruze LT Diesel is superior to any compact car recently produced by GM.