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2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Review

MPG-o-Matic 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Review Summary: The 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel heralds a new era. Call me crazy, but I’ll say it here first … 2013 will go down in history as The Year of the Diesel in America. It’s been decades since an American auto manufacturer offered a diesel-powered sedan and the new Cruze Diesel is the first out of the gate. Chevy has planned for a limited run of 12,000 diesels in this first model year and I’d wager that they’ll sell out, shortly after the word gets out. The Cruze is the most fuel-efficient car from an American manufacturer for the open road. My marketing friends might call this one out as a scarcity play. Will dealers mark up if supplies grow tight? Only time will tell.



The Chevy Cruze Diesel is fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 151 horsepower and 264 foot pounds of torque, courtesy of a Garret turbocharger. The turbodiesel is exclusively mated to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission. There is just one level of trim, roughly equivalent to the top level LT.

Mileage always matters here at MPGomatic, so lets get right to it …

Take the official fuel economy estimates for the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel – 27 city / 46 highway miles per gallon (MPG) – as a point of reference. We traveled more than 700 miles and slipped past the official estimates, landing an average of 39.9 miles per gallon combined, and 50.5 MPG on the Interstate highway at our customary 68 MPH target speed. The Cruze Diesel is fitted with a 15.6 gallon fuel tank that provides an astronomical cruising range. A seven hundred and fifty mile tank is well within reason, as long as you’re easy on the accelerator pedal. Slow it down just a little bit and you can see significant benefits. (Is 60 MPG at 60 MPH possible? We dare say it is.)

Folks will inevitably compare the Cruze Diesel to the Jetta TDI. If you’re considering either, you should drive both to see which best fits your tastes. It’s worth noting that while the Cruze Diesel and the Passat TDI require diesel emissions fluid, the Jetta TDI does not. The Jetta TDI’s DSG transmission delivers snappier shifts than the Cruze Diesel’s conventional automatic. Some folks like that. Some folks don’t. Once again, you’ve gotta drive ‘em …

Which brings us to acceleration and overall snappiness. While the Cruze Diesel’s HP and torque numbers are higher, there’s something to be said for a quick shifting transmission.

Although the car is assembled in Lordstown Ohio, the 2.0-liter clean diesel engine is built in Germany by VM Motori – an Italian company co-owned by GM and Fiat.

In-cabin amenities are up to snuff. Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is standard, with all the Bluetooth and digital audio goodies, including Pandora and Stitcher integration. The USB and auxiliary audio input jacks are inside the center console. 12-volt outlets between the shifter and driver’s seat and at the back of the console. Leather seating surfaces are standard, as well.

All-in-all, 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel is a winner, well-suited to our wide-open roads. It’s absolutely tremendous to see an American automaker offer a diesel-powered sedan, once again. There were many folks who thought this day would never happen. While there’s a bunch of stuff on our wish list (including a wagon variant and a manual transmission), this is a fabulous first effort. Kudos to the faithful at General Motors for staying the course.

Note to the faithful: this Cruze Diesel review marks our first video review for the kind folks at Autobytel.


2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Review

4.4
Daniel Gray
2013-7-03

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12 comments ↓

#1 G. on 07.05.13 at 11:05 pm

While the MPG is impressive enough, How is this figure affected by the increased sticker price over a gas engined Cruze such as ECO along with the higher priced Diesel fuel (.45 in my area) and the cost of the required fuel additive?

G.

#2 mpg-o-editor on 07.06.13 at 7:02 am

G – Excellent questions! Diesel fuel prices are always in flux … the price differential varies on a geographic and seasonal basis. Around these parts, diesel is currently running around the price of mid-grade unleaded gasoline – more than regular, but less than premium. Advance sells a jug of Peak Diesel Emissions Fluid (DEF) for $15. The Cruze Diesel is comparable to a top-end trim level Cruze 2LT. The ECO is not available with a leather interior. This is a great topic for a post. Stay tuned …

#3 V. on 07.11.13 at 12:05 pm

I think this Cruze Diesel is not by the VM Motori. The one from VM Motori is only available out of states.

#4 clem zahrobsky on 07.12.13 at 7:59 am

no one in his right mind goes out and buys a new car to save money on fuel if you have a good car now. maybe if you drive 50,000 miles a year but not at the average of 15,000 miles a year

#5 mpg-o-editor on 07.12.13 at 8:20 am

@Clem – it all depends on how the math works out. The MPGomatic Gas Mileage Calculator makes it easy to figure. If you jump from a car that gets 20 MPG on average to a car that gets 40 MPG, you can save $1,500 per year (if fuel is $4 per gallon) over 15,000 miles.

If you own a good car – free and clear – that’s a great thing! My Ain’t Fuelin’ project is all about getting more miles from every tank, no matter what you own. :)

#6 G. on 07.12.13 at 9:20 pm

The only real downfall I see with the U.S. Diesel powered Cruze is the unavailable European spec’ed Wagon body style which would make it into a very versatile vehicle. It’s a real shame there’s so little available in a Wagon in the states, I’m hoping this will change in the near future.

#7 Mike on 07.14.13 at 8:20 am

Some truck stops sell diesel exhaust fluid or “DEF” from a regular pump. Pilot/Flying J truck stops currently charge $2.80 per gallon pretty much nationwide from checking on their website.
Can the Cruze diesel be filled with the same fluid?

#8 rob on 07.14.13 at 5:52 pm

It would be interesting to see the fuel mileage the new diesels could get without all the emissions now required. I have seen a 6.7 diesel dodge 2500 4×4 get 35 mpg (imperial) with the dpf system removed. Being in Canada, there are horror stories related to dpf and urea systems.

#9 Mike b on 08.08.13 at 10:13 am

The first 2 years or 24,000 miles is maintence free. Free oil changes and DEF. I replaced my 2004 F250 (14.5 MPG avg.) with a Cruze TD (35 MPG avg.). Love it.

#10 Ted K on 10.29.13 at 10:15 am

Regarding the effect of diesel emissions controls on fuel mileage, I’ve found it to decrease the mileage. I’ve owned 4 VW diesels, and the 1′st, a 1980′s VW Rabbit diesel, a noisy smelly thing, definitely got the best mileage. Over one entire year of New England driving, summer and winter, it got 55.0 MPG. That was found by dividing the total amount of fuel purchased for the year by the number of miles driven. My current 2010 VW Jetta TDI diesel is quiet and odor free, but does well to average in the low 40′s MPG over the year.

#11 JAY B JACOBI on 12.28.13 at 11:19 am

I am surprised at all the damage govt controls have done to engines when it is too obvious over the years that, high performance initiatives have done more for clean machines than any other methods. That’s 46 years of ops/working (hands on) and experiments. The petroleum industry/other interests (politely put) killed the 70 mpg Suburban and did more for petroleum interests/sales/EPA etc. Anything to kill Inventiveness/Industrial might/Innovation in The Americas. All the back door deals in congress/senate/big brother… No wonder the people of the world want to diminish govt’s by roughly 80% = always money and more more more =

#12 Davisbound on 01.03.14 at 1:40 pm

(ULSD) Diesel Fuel and DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) are NOT the same thing people! These cars will need to be filled with ULSD which is running close to $4/gallon across the US. I see people always trying to cheat the system and killing their vehicles because of it…. just like those who think putting half of a tank of E85 and half 87e won’t hurt a regular engine…. WRONG! Please check before ever putting that nozzle into the tank to avoid HUGE repair bills NOT covered by warranty!

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