Introducing The Diesel Driver’s Next Long-Term Car: the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

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The Cruze’s 2.0-liter diesel engine

What 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 crank it up.  Chevy product managers say they are targeting Volkswagen Jetta TDI buyers with the oil burner, and indeed the Cruze took the place of our former long-term Jetta TDI Diesel in our fleet.

As Jonathan Spira noted in his first test-drive of the Cruze at its launch last May, Chevy wants the Cruze to feel German.  In this they have succeeded.

EQUIPPING THE CRUZE DIESEL

Our new Cruze came very nicely equipped.   Standard equipment includes the MyLink infotainment system (which supports Pandora and Stitcher as well as Bluetooth audio streaming), the aforementioned diesel-specific 17” alloy wheels, leather seating, a longer (five-year, 100,000-mile) powertrain warranty, and two years (or 24,000 miles) of maintenance (this includes refills of urea, which is needed every 10,000 miles).

A seven-inch touchscreen central display that fronts the MyLink telematics system is also standard, as is Bluetooth wireless connectivity.  When used in concert with OnStar turn-by-turn navigation, the system displays driving directions on the 7” screen. A convenient feature is an applet that presents a list of nearby fueling stops that can be filtered by fuel type (this is particularly useful for a diesel-fueled vehicle).

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The Cruze Diesel comes standard with leather seats

The OnStar RemoteLink app (available in both iPhone and Android versions) allows us to send destinations to the car, as well as to lock and unlock it and remotely start the engine.  We think of the phone remote start as a range extender for the keyfob remote start.  Real-time diagnostics, checking tire pressure as well as displaying fuel on board level and driving range, are also available via the app.  The OnStar telematics unit is standard and the car comes with six months of OnStar service that includes automatic crash notification, which uses built-in vehicle sensors to detect a crash and automatically alert OnStar, which can send help.

The German-built 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine develops 151 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired to a six-speed automatic, although not the same that is supplied with the gasoline-powered Cruze, as that one couldn’t handle the increased torque.

We didn’t have to add many options but the convenience package adds a rear camera, auto-dimming mirrors, and heated, power outside mirrors among other items.  The Cruze Diesel also comes standard with ten airbags and earned a five-star overall vehicle score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Cruze was designed to be able to handle Death Valley temperatures during the day and Minnesota -40° F (-40° C) temperatures at night, plus mountain roads with altitudes of 14,000’ (4,267 meters).

Indeed, the basic Cruze can handle temperatures as low as -22° F (-30° C); an optional oil pan heater brings that to -40° F (-40° C).  We equipped it with the heater, just in case.

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 somewhat of an advantage in areas of the U.S. where B20 is more prevalent.

We’ll report more after we have had a chance to be behind the wheel for a bit.

THE DETAILS

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Base price/price-as-tested $24,885/$26,260
Drivetrain Front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine 2.0-liter inline four
Horsepower/Torque 151 / 264
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (lbs) 3,475
Wheelbase (inches) 105.7
Length x width x height (inches) 181 x 70.7 x 58.1
0-60 mph (seconds) 8.6
Fuel economy (mpg) 46/27

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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