Four years ago Chevy debuted their compact Cruz sedan. As such, it came up against the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the latter was the only competitor in this class to offer a diesel powerplant. And this is where Chevy was smart enough to meet that segment head on.
Cruz is offered in trim levels, L, LS, LT, LTZ, Eco and Diesel, the latter we were privileged to test.
Chevy’s small but potent 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder clean diesel puts out 151-hp and a whopping 264 lb/ft of torque. It can also be fed with B20 bio-diesel fuel. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the combo has been tested by Chevy at 8.6 seconds for 0-60. That is, about a half-second quicker than their turbo 1.4L, turbo gasoline engine. The 2.0L has tremendous grunt for a small engine. It would be no problem for a Cruz diesel to serve as a light trailer tow vehicle as it’s rated for 1,000 pounds. And EPA mileage estimates are 27 city, 46-highway mpg, that’s hybrid territory. And diesels last forever.
With new diesel technologies, diesel clatter is almost imperceptible. Chevy went the extra step to add special sound deadening to forego this annoyance.
As a diesel, it does require a urea refill at 10,000-mile intervals. A 4.5-gallon urea tank is tucked beneath the trunk floor and because of this, the Cruz Diesel has no spare tire but an air pump in case the car gets a flat.
Other engine choices include a 1.8L, I-4 rated at 132-hp and 125 lb/ft of torque; and a 1.4L, turbo I-4 rated at 138-hp and 148 lb/ft of torque. All engines use the 6-speed automatic, however, the diesels’ trans has been beefed up a bit to handle the extra torque.
Chevy designers gave the Cruz a semblance to its very attractive and stylish Impala. Same goes for the interior. The soft, semi-supportive seats are done in Meridian leather. The vertical stack is nicely arranged with faux-brushed aluminum trim adorning the sides of the stack and console. Chevy’s MyLink is standard and comes with several apps.
The back seats are suited only for three youngsters not three adults. And if the front seats are racked well rearward, legroom is extremely tight.
Back in the trunk, cargo space is rated at 13.3 cubic feet but more meaningful, it can accommodate one large roll-a-long or two hoofer golf bags if the 60/40 rear seatbacks are flipped forward.
Rear visibility, however, could be better if low profile rear seat headrests were used. Otherwise the Cruz was not only stylish but nicely functional as well.
Another nicety is that all 2015 Chevy vehicles now come standard with 4G LTE WiFi hotspot capability.
As for handling, and because of the heavier diesel engine block, the front end dips a bit under heavy braking. And the beefed up suspension, because of the diesel, gives a bit firmer ride than compared to a gasoline version. But overall, Cruz is a pleasure to drive and ride in.
A buddy of mine has a 2003 Cruz LS with the 1.8L engine and he loves it; except for the scratch the dealer put on it when he bought it new.
My test car base priced at $25,660 but after adding the sound (premium audio system) and sun package (power sunroof) for $1,345, the enhanced safety package (rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, rear parking assist including rearview camera) $790, audio with navigation and 7-inch touchscreen for $495, and the diesel convenience package for $340, bumped the bottom line to $29,105 with delivery.
To add another incentive for considering a Cruz, it garnered a five-star overall government safety rating; five for driver frontal crash, four for passenger; five for side crash (front and rear seats); and four for rollover. All impressive ratings that go to make the Cruz a compelling compact sedan.