Photo via GM
Last Friday was not a normal Friday. I noticed a Red Hot (yes, that's actually the name of the color) 2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel parked in front of my office. The keys were for me, as I agreed to tear apart and review Chevy's new offering. This review would be different from any I've ever written- this is my first diesel test drive!
Now, this article isn't my full in-depth review, rather a snap shot into what the first few days with the car has been like. I have to admit, I've been excited about the number of manufacturers bringing diesel engines to the United States- I've talked to officials with Mazda who also are releasing their signature car- a Mazda6- with a diesel option later this year, and the promise they bring.
First of all, for those who think of diesels of disgusting, sooty, dirty vehicles- you have no ground to stand on anymore. I've been blown away by the Cruze diesel. It's so clean- the exhaust tip has no build up at all, it accelerates just as clean as my gasoline powered Mazda that I own, and most importantly to me- it has gobs of torque- it accelerates quickly and cleanly.
Matched with the latest technology- including Bluetooth integration, fuel prices on demand on the high resolution in dash screen, this thing is amazing. I'll admit, I'm a bit jealous of new car owners these days- my late model Mazda lacks any of this cool stuff except for a dinosaur navigation unit.
So back to the diesel Cruze- I took it down the Lake Michigan coast, to the heart of Chicago, where traffic can be among the worst in the nation, and the Cruze has performed perfectly thus far. On my way to the suburbs for an evening of music, I noted the Cruze diesel holding at over 50 miles per gallon at 55mph- and THAT was music to my... wallet. So far, in city and highway driving, the car indicates I'm achieving 36.5 miles per gallon on average- COMBINED- you read that right. On the highway, 40-plus miles per gallon is the norm, thanks to the six-speed automatic transmission.
But is the diesel worth it? According to FuelEconomy.gov, my Mazda, at 18/26mpg and 20mpg combined, I spend about $2,900 per year in fuel. Chevy's Cruze diesel would cost about $1,750 per year to fuel up, a sizable savings. But when compared to a 2012 Honda Civic, the Cruze would cost $100 more per year in fuel, so before the Cruze seems like the car to beat, there are certainly other options that could keep your fuel bill lower.
I'll follow up with more on the 2014 Chevy Cruze in the days ahead as we dig into this car and let you know if we think it's a worthy vehicle.