The week we had the diesel version of the Chevy Cruze was probably the perfect time to test drive this fuel-efficient sedan – a week when gas prices were so ridiculously high in Michigan, people were posting pictures of their $100 fuel-ups on Facebook.

So even though the engine was a little rumbly and loud, driving around in this car felt like a smart, economical decision. I was zipping down the highway thinking, "Haha, I spent 20 cents a gallon less than the rest of you suckers!"

Diesel sedans have struggled to catch on in the U.S. They are very popular over in Europe, where diesel is usually much cheaper than regular gas. But without as-stringent price controls in the U.S., the price of diesel fluctuates. It isn't always cheaper than regular gas.

It's also got a bad reputation here for creating loud vehicles that belch gray smoke. That's an outdated perception, but one that lasts. Americans also tend not to appreciate the beauty of the low-end torque that diesel provides, which makes cars zippy and fun to drive.

Still, some Americans like diesel cars. Volkswagen routinely sells out of its diesel Jetta sedan, a competitor which Chevy clearly has its sights set on with this car. Will the diesel Chevy Cruze help Americans get over their diesel disdain? Read on to find out.

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote

The Basics

The Basics

Sticker Price: $24,885
Invoice Price: $23,890

As Tested Price: $26,695

Engine: 2.0L turbodiesel DOHC

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Performance: 151 hp, 264 lb-ft of torque

Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 46 mpg Highway

Seating: 5 people

Cargo Capacity: 13.3 cubic feet

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote

Exterior Design

Exterior Design

There isn't really anything that distinguishes the Cruze Diesel from the standard Cruze, save the small green diesel badge on the back . It's still a handsome little sedan that has aged quite well since it was released for the 2011 model year. The front end is sharp, the side profile is sleek and, with the Diesel's standard 17-inch rims, it looks like it costs a little more than it actually does.

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote

Interior

Interior

Inside the Cruze Diesel, you'll find a nice selection of standard features including remote keyless entry and start, heated front leather seating, Chevrolet MyLink with Bluetooth connectivity and a touchscreen interface and more. It's a pretty nice package, giving it a leg up on its main competitor, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The seats are comfortable, the sound system is good and it's pretty aesthetically pleasing. All in all, it's a nice place to drive a car.

When it comes to the noise level, there are two very different experiences: Windows up and windows down. When the windows are down, the diesel engine is very much noticeable. It's a loud, rattly engine, especially at higher RPMs. It's an unfortunate side-effect of this type of engine you'll have to deal with if you want some fresh air in your face. With the windows up, however, the engine is barely noticeable at all. GM has done a great job heavily insulating its cabins from sounds in its newer models. If you're fine with using the air conditioning in order to cool down, the Cruze Diesel offers near-luxury levels of sound dampening.

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote

Passenger And Cargo Room

Passenger And Cargo Room

Up front, driver and passenger room is good, with plenty of space for heads, legs and shoulders. It's a small sedan, so space in the backseat is limited. Adults won't love riding back there, but they'll be fine for shorter trips.

Cargo capacity is rated at 13.3 cubic feet, providing more than enough room for a heavy trip to the grocery store or an overnight trip.

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote

Driving Dynamics

Driving Dynamics

All diesels experience turbo lag, which is the time it takes for the turbocharger to kick in and for you to feel the car accelerate, to varying degrees. The Cruze Diesel suffers from it pretty badly. If you're not used to driving diesels, it may take some time to get used to what feels like very jerky acceleration. For about a second, the Cruze will feel very slow off the line. Then, once the turbo wakes up, you're subject to some giddy-up courtesy of 264 lb-ft of torque.

Handling isn't anything to write home about. The car is well-balanced and the steering is fairly responsive, but this isn't a car I would take on a twisty mountain road. Not that it would be dangerous. It just wouldn't feel all that fun.

The suspension is tuned for comfort, making for a nice, smooth ride. Even on bumpy roads, the Curze glides long effortlessly. All in all, this is a great car for your commute. Quiet, inoffensive and pleasant to drive, it's a comfortable car to drive, whether you're cruzing (sorry) on the freeway or taking the back roads.

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote

Tech And Infotainment

Tech And Infotainment

The Cruze Diesel comes with a standard 7-inch touchscreen and the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment interface. It's a solid, easy to use system, complete with apps for stuff like Pandora and Stitcher and Bluetooth connectivity. It's not a mind-blowing, innovative system, but I think it is perfectly acceptable and will give you minimal problems. Navigation isn't standard, but it can be added as a $795 option.

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Chevy Cruze diesel is a very nice car. But it's competing against two much beloved diesel sedans -- the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and the Volkswagen Passat TDI. Both of those cars regularly sell out each year, and among diesel fans these vehicles are the go-to options.

Frankly, we liked the Cruze diesel better than either of those cars. The interior was nicer, and felt more modern. For a well-equipped diesel Cruze with a sunroof, you'll end up paying about $26,605. For that price, you're getting a car with more features than the Jetta. The Jetta is a bit roomier, but we think having more features makes up for the difference.

But the Cruze only comes with an automatic transmission, so drivers who want a manual will have to opt for one of the VW vehicles.

We're not sure the Cruze is so much radically nicer than the Jetta or Passta TDIs to steal many customers away from Volkswagen. But it's definitely worth test driving, and you might be surprised to find you like the Chevy Cruze diesel better.

Research the Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Photos & Information
Chevrolet Cruze Best Deals
Chevrolet Cruze Local Dealer Price Quote



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago