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Testdrive in a Diesel Cruze

6188 Views 56 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  El Dobro
2017 with leather package.

This was a short test drive. The plastic was still on the seats, just off the truck on Saturday.


Diesel knock is absent, just as advertised.
9 speed automatic shifts smoothly - double clutch technology works. You have to get on the "oil" to make it downshift forcibly enough to feel it.
Stop-start technology.
Diesel torque + 9 speeds - pretty good acceleration

Low pitch engine rumble is always there - in no way is this silent propulsion.

Normally I would go with the Volt but the choice is not so clearcut here. There's zero state incentives, I'd have to buy the Volt and get 0% financing to go along with a modest amount of manufacturer's incentives. Even with the fed tax credit it's stretching to make the number close enough.
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What about a used 2016 Volt? Picked one up here in western North Carolina back in January for $21k. That's a few thousand less than the MSRP of a new Cruze Diesel and you'll get 53 electric miles and 42-mpg when running on much cheaper regular gas rather than the more expensive diesel fuel.

Plus don't you have to pay for that after treatment refill on occasion? I can't see how the math can work out in the Cruze Diesel's favor.

The Volt even beats it in performance, Volt = 149 HP / 294 Torque, Cruze Diesel = 137 HP / 240 Torque.

What am I missing here?
There are no 2016 Volts here - Michigan didn't get Gen 2 until well after the 2017 rollout started.
Diesel is marginally more expensive per gallon than regular (here) and occasionally the prices invert - diesel is cheaper.
Cruze looks to be about 600 lbs lighter than a Volt. Hence less hp needed.
This car is right out the factory and the salesman was sitting next to me so I didn't do anything zesty with the loud pedal other than force the tranny to downshift just to get a feel of the smoothness of shifting.
I did some more reading online and perused the owners manual.

Emissions - the car meets Tier 3 Bin 125 standard (whatever that is). That I think is the 2025 standard so it's way ahead of the curve.
If you run low on the DEF, the car will first warn you, then as the tank nears empty, will reduce propulsion to 65 mph, 55 mph, till eventually it's 4! mph. Basically you can't ignore the NOx reduction system without consequences.

EPA rating is 31 city 47 highway with automatic. Based on my experience with Chevy cars I'd expect 50 at a steady 70 mph after break-in. By big city standards my traffic at worst would be considered "light to moderate" so I think I would average 40ish.
For the technically inclined here is an explanation of Tier 3
Is your driving pattern mostlly urban stop and go? That scenario heavily favors Evs. Even though diesels claim excellent urban mileage, a Volt can get almost infinite mileage in city driving depending on your useage pattern.

More info on your commute would help.
Typically nothing like urban stop and go and I do some long driving trips - my GEN I lifetime mpg was 70 ish when I turned it in. I'm going to have to do some work on the Volt price.. I'll pay some delta over conventional for the EV but only so much.
Removing the emissions system from a car might void the warranty, you think?

Diesel vs. conventional Cruze, I would get the diesel just because. Volts are expensive, locally. Hate to think I have to ship one in from out of state. The path of least resistance is to go with the oil burner. Oh well, there's always next time.
Some comments on above comments:
Thanks for correcting me on the transmission - not a dual clutch. The shifts are still fast and smooth.
Price: the delta between a diesel auto and a comparable LT auto is about $2800 except the diesel has the 9 speed transmission vs. a 6.
Cold weather - I researched this and this appears not to be a problem. Doesn't get extremely cold here and diesel fuel is blended for the season.

I had a second test drive in a car the same as the first except for the color, kept it longer and was solo so I could wring the car out a little more.
The engine was quieter than I remembered from the first drive. Actually, really quiet.
0-30 feels very Volt like, the engine is responsive to the pedal and diesel have the low end torque. There's nice acceleration up to 80 mph.
Handling and ride are fine. Went well over the recommended speeds on some circular on/off ramps and the Assurance tires didn't complain. Nice ride over rough roads too.
Lastly, fuel economy - 50F day, 600 ft. ASL, light headwind, no hills. Set cruise to 75 mph. Gasometer stabilized at 45 mpg. Warm weather, air up the tires, broken in car, I can see 50 mpg as very possible.

Hoping that Chevrolet will do something about Volt pricing before I have to make a decision but I just have this gut feeling that the diesel has been done right, mechanically.
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480,000 Volkswagen owners would disagree with you.
The TDI owners I knew seemed eager to tell me how great their cars were, and how it was even better if you did the delete emissions mod if you weren't in a smog test area. Now they're anguished. People these days.
Back in 2012 I test drove a '13 TDI Passat (dealer didn't have a Jetta) and the car must have thought I was the EPA because the fuel economy was nothing to write home about. Eventually got the Volt.

Perusing cruzetalk, I see a lot of comments that the tiny turbos like the 1.4L run better on mid-grade or premium fuel, especially when temperatures are warm. Of course, it's a marketing disaster to require or recommend premium fuel on an "economy car" so the ECM has to have maps for chugging along on 87. So, if someone is looking for another excuse to get the diesel, diesel fuel is substantially cheaper than 89 or 91 octane.
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