Yesterday we spent some time with the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, and as a bonus, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2.5 (more on that later). The event was all-too-brief. Regardless, we were able to answer most of your questions about the Cruze Diesel’s characteristics, and here’s what driving the 2014 Cruze Diesel is like in a few brief bullet points:
- From the inside, windows up, it’s hard to tell that there’s an oil burner sitting between the front wheels. This is because Chevrolet took some of the quiet-tuning elements used to make the cabin of the Buick Verano a cocoon of silence, and applied it to the Cruze Diesel. Notably, its cabin is quieter than that of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, which Chevrolet also had on-site to experience. From the outside, there’s the giveaway sound of the low-rumble noise characteristic from the cast-iron 2.0L diesel engine, but visually, there’s almost no telling it apart from the Cruze Eco, save for the unique set of wheels. Though we would like to see fog lights in the lower grille.
- The re-calibrated steering and suspension are unique to the Cruze Diesel, as are the larger brakes. This is to help balance out the added weight. The result is a ride quality that’s as good as the noise-cancellation efforts. The shocks absorbed the bumps of broken Michigan backroads better than expected, making for optimal refinement and comfort for the likes of a C-segment volume car.
- The power band is very broad, and really shines when performing a pass. Off the line, however, it takes a split-second for the torque to kick in, as the torque curve is best between 1,750 and 3,000 RPM, with peak torque found at 2,600 rpm. Still, it’s the fastest Cruze sold in America, with an 8.6 second 0-60 time. To note, the 280 lb.-ft. overboost feature really comes in handy when powering down the on-ramp. As for the transmission, it’s not terrible, with shifting characteristics similar to that of the gasoline model. But in the world of eight-speeds and DCT units, the six-speed auto is so pre-2010.
Fun fact: the diesel engine will start up unassisted in temperatures as cold as -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Obviously, the Cruze Diesel is out of its element when it comes to more spirited driving. The comfort-oriented suspension and low-rolling resistance Goodyear tires shared with the Cruze Eco and Chevy Volt are not the ideal tools for corner-carving. So to judge the Cruze Diesel on its ability to be pushed is like judging a Camaro’s ability to seat four comfortably. However, we sure would be curious to see what this car could do with HiPer Strut front shocks and stickier tires.
- There’s nothing unfamiliar about the Cruze Diesel’s cabin layout. Which is to say that it’s the same well-done interior that is in every other Cruze. But given that the Cruze Diesel features a unique trim package, it is highly contented, with leather seats, Chevy MyLink, Bluetooth and so on and so forth.
- As for the mileage, the instantaneous highway fuel economy of 46 mpg was achieved on the interstate, but to really gauge how long a tank of diesel can last, and just how high the mileage can be, we’re going to need more than just an afternoon of seat time. Look for a more thorough observation of the Cruze Diesel’s fuel economy in the near future.
If GM engineers can get from “Romeo, Michigan to damn near Naples, Florida on two tanks,” we’d like to see what we can do.