2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel: Six-Month Review and Report

By Paul Riegler on 1 July 2014
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DSC_1006If you’re an automotive journalist who regularly reviews cars, there’s nothing like 14 winter storms in your neck of the woods to stop you dead in your tracks.

Few automakers equip their cars with winter tires and no-season (our term for all-season) tires aren’t effective for driving following a significant snowfall.

In hindsight, January 2014 wasn’t the best month for The Diesel Driver to add not one but two long-term test autos to its fleet.

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel was the first in (the second was the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec). The Cruze is one of many new diesels on sale for the first time for 2014 – and it received The Diesel Driver’s Diesel Car of the Year Award, presented at this year’s New York International Auto Show in April.

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Admittedly, we haven’t gotten to drive the Cruze as much as we would like – or as far as we would like as our schedule is still recovering from the storms. But everyone’s experiences with it here have been similar, non-objectionable styling, good handling, great fuel economy.

IS IT GERMAN?

The Cruze Diesel is the first diesel to be sold by one of the Big Three automakers in the U.S. market. Until it arrived, diesels were solely available from the five German carmakers selling their vehicles in the U.S.

Even with a Chevy crest up front, it still bears a strong German heritage. The Cruze was globally designed and developed with General Motor’s Opel unit in Germany (surprise!) taking the lead. The engine is built at GM’s Opel components factory in Kaiserslautern (Opel Motoren Kaiserslautern GmbH).

From the outside, until you turn on the engine and listen, there’s little to distinguish the Cruze from the petrol-powered variant, except that you’ll see it far less frequently at the filling station. Minor differences include the diesel-specific 17” five-spoke alloy wheels and a small green 2.0 TD badge on the rear deck lid. What you won’t see are the active grille shutters and under body 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.

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