Messing with sacred ground

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel Review

By Mathieu St-Pierre
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel Review

Summary Rating: 81%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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I’ve said it a number of times over the years: Product is key. In fact, I recall calling out GM and strongly suggesting that they take the Cruze, break down what they did to come up with this car, study it, and repeat.

Although the jury’s out on whether or not they’re doing so, they are clearly looking to push the appeal of the Cruze and see where they can take it. The arrival of the diesel version of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze is as controversial as it is brilliant. Our VW TDI vs. Chevy Diesel comparo test generated many comments from a number of points of view.

Regardless of whose side you may be on, the bottom line here is that the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is a very impressive offering from a manufacturer that nearly single-handedly annihilated diesel technology in North America in the 1980s. Powerful and frugal, the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is a compelling car that requires consideration. In that consideration, be mindful that refinement was not the priority.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel Price and Specs
The German-built turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine puts out 151 horsepower and a staggering 264 lb-ft of torque. The only available transmission for the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is a 6-speed automatic.

As with the vast majority of modern diesel engines, the Cruze’s powerplant generates 90% fewer nitrogen oxides (NOx) than previous-generation technology thanks to particulate filters, exhaust gas recirculation, selective catalyst reduction, and other technologies. It does not require urea like a number of diesel engines from other manufacturers. The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel meets Tier 2 Bin 5 emission standards.

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel starts at $24,945. With the Enhanced Safety package, power sunroof and MyLink with navigation, my tester retailed for $28,310.

Driving the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel
The most notable shortcoming with the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is the noise and general lack of refinement from the powertrain.

One of the common complaints pertaining to diesel is the noise generated by the engine. Unfortunately, it proved to be even a bit much for me, a huge fan of the technology. Cold start-ups and mild bouts of acceleration generated an awful din that should no longer emanate from a car.

Thankfully, the burst of torque created by the overboost (280 lb-ft for up to 10 seconds) quickly excuses the engine’s lack of sophistication. The transmission does a fine job of coping with the energy. Shifts are generally clean, but lack the smoothness and overall efficiency of VW’s 6-speed DSG ‘box.

Be that as it may, there’s no denying that the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is powerful and especially thrifty. My weeklong test drive average rolled in at a hair under 6.0L/100km despite me being fully addicted to the torque.

Ride quality and handling are very good. The suspension does not propose the finesse afforded by Volkswagens, but most would be hard-pressed to find a tangible disadvantage here.

Inside and Out of the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel
I’m still a huge fan of the Chevrolet Cruze as I find it blends American boldness with strong European subtlety. For the 2014 Clean Turbo Diesel version, this statement could not be truer. With only distinct wheels, a few minor enhancements up front, an integrated rear spoiler, and the small, green badge with the inscription “2.0 TD” beside the Cruze name on the trunk lid, there are very few differences between the gas- and diesel-powered models.

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel’s cabin is unchanged from the regular car save for a tachometer that displays a redline at 5,000 rpm.

The seats are reasonably comfortable as I felt throughout the week that I was sitting on the seat as opposed to in it. The base of the centre console is wide and impedes somewhat on legroom. Otherwise, four adults will be at ease in the 2014 Chevy Cruze. Ergonomics are good, and fit and finish are the same. The MyLink system continues to be quite appreciated for its ease of use.

Comparing the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel finds itself squarely in the middle of Volkswagen’s sacred ground on this side of the pond.

Until now, only the compact Jetta TDI and Golf TDI played the diesel card. The coming of the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is a ballsy move on behalf of GM. I reckon it will be difficult to convince diesel fans (i.e., VW enthusiasts) to shop in a Chevy store for their next car. However, currently, the Cruze is the better “diesel” in terms of power and efficiency.
 

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  • If Chevy wants a winner, they should have a stationwagon with a diesel engine. Families would jump at that. But no, they simply want to push SUV and CUV sales. What a cockeyed strategy.