2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel – First Look and Review

By Jonathan Spira on 27 May 2013
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The diesel market in the United States has been controlled by German automakers, DSC_4183namely Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen, for the past decade or so.  Although the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel is the first diesel auto to appear in the U.S. from one of the Big Three automakers, it has a much stronger German heritage than one would imagine.  First, it’s a globally developed and designed four-door sedan and General Motor’s Opel unit in Germany played a leading role in its development. Second, its engine is built at GM’s Opel components factory in Kaiserslautern (Opel Motoren Kaiserslautern GmbH).

Visually, there’s little to distinguish the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel from its petrol-powered stablemate other than diesel-specific 17” five-spoke alloy wheels and a small green 2.0 TD badge on the rear decklid.  Not as noticeable are the active grill shutters and underbody panels that come from the Cruze Eco, as well as the sound deadening materials borrowed from the Buick Verano including a hood blanket and heavier dash mat.

DSC_4186What you see isn’t really what you get as the Chevy Cruze Diesel is a totally different car, something you’ll discover once you sit down in the driver’s seat and start the ignition.  Chevy product managers say they are targeting Volkswagen Jetta TDI buyers with the oilburner.  Indeed, they had several Jettas available at the launch available for test drives and it was clear that Chevy wants the Cruze to feel, well, German.

Standard equipment includes the MyLink infotainment system (which supports Pandora and Stitcher as well as Bluetooth audio streaming), model-specific 17” alloy wheels, leather seating, a longer (five-year, 100,000-mile) powertrain warranty, and two years of maintenance (this includes refills of urea, which are needed every 10,000 miles).  Volkswagen, by comparison, offers three years of maintenance but its powertrain warranty is capped at 60,000 miles.

DSC_4131Chevrolet says it had four goals in mind when designing the Cruze Diesel including fuel economy which is industry leading at 46 mpg; emissions capable of meeting EU6 requirements; improved diagnostics; and finally, wide environmental support.

I found the environmental issue the most interesting.  The car has to be able to handle Death Valley temperatures during the day and Minnesota -40˚ C temperatures at night, plus mountains of 14,000’ (4,267 meters).

Indeed, the basic Cruze can handle temperatures as low as -30˚ C; an optional oil pan heater brings that to -40˚ C.

Chevrolet also says that the Cruze Diesel is B20 capable (B20 is a mixture composed of 20% biodiesel and 80% of diesel fuel), giving the Cruze an advantage in areas of the U.S. where B20 is more prevalent.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the Cruze Diesel, Fuel Economy, and Interior

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