Review: Chevrolet Cruze

Reviews I By Winding Road Staff I November 29, 2009
This is the Master Landing Page for the Chevrolet Cruze. From now on, as we further review this car, we will be updating this page with whatever fresh content we create. Future drive reviews, updated specifications, videos, and other relevant information will all be found right here, in one convenient spot.
Don’t let this pre-Los Angeles Auto Show unveiling fool you — the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is still many months from its on-sale date (third quarter of 2010). And even though we’ve seen camo-less studio shots of the Cruze before, we now have the official images and details about the U.S.-spec model that comes our way to replace the Cobalt next year.
The Cruze certainly looks more robust than the aging, depressing Cobalt, and we’re really eager to get our hands on one equipped with the new Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged four. This engine may only be good for 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, but that should be plenty of grunt to make the Cruze a spunky little steer. Additionally, General Motors claims that this engine will be capable of achieving up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway, besting the numbers of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. A naturally aspirated 1.8-liter engine will be available producing similar horsepower but less torque, and all mills will be mated to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Inside, a nicely designed cabin sports higher-grade materials than the Cobalt, and it looks really upscale, especially with the two-tone leather trims. And since the Cruze shares most of its architecture with the upcoming and much-anticipated Volt, we’re hoping this car is a huge improvement from the Cobalts of yore. Then again, anything would be better.
Scroll down to read the official press release and click through our gallery of images to see the U.S.-spec Cruze from all angles.
The 2011 Cruze: Chevrolet Unveils U.S. Version Of The Popular, Fuel-Efficient Global Compact Sedan
2011 Chevrolet Cruze at a Glance:
o Popular global car refined for America
o Expected segment-best fuel economy – up to 40 mpg highway – with new family of small-displacement engines, including Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo
o Progressive design with exceptional levels of refinement, quietness and build quality
o More spacious interior and greater cargo room than Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla
o Ten standard air bags help make it one of the safest cars in its class
o Built at Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant
o On sale in third quarter of 2010
o Five-year/100,000-mile powertain warranty – the best coverage in America
LOS ANGELES – Chevrolet unveils the U.S. production version of the 2011 Cruze compact sedan at the L.A. Auto Show on Dec. 2. It is a global car refined for America, delivering many segment-leading features and details that challenge preconceived notions about what a compact car can be in North America.
The Cruze also affirms Chevrolet’s commitment to building refined, fuel-efficient vehicles, with new, small-displacement four-cylinder engines. It is expected to deliver segment-leading fuel economy with a new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo with variable valve timing – including up to 40 mpg on the highway with a high-efficiency model.
"Cruze is already a hit across Europe and Asia; and now, it’s coming to America to challenge the status quo," said Brent Dewar, GM Vice President, Chevrolet Global brand. "Along with the Volt electric vehicle, Cruze is the latest tangible example of how Chevrolet is working on exciting products that range from gas-friendly to gas-free."
Leveraging Chevrolet’s design and engineering talent in Asia, Europe and North America, the Cruze brings to market a progressive, globally influenced design complemented by exceptional levels of quietness, quality and attention to detail – from precise tolerances between body panels to the use of premium materials throughout the interior.
"The amenities, quietness and roominess you expect in larger cars are what the Cruze delivers," said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet product marketing manager. "This is a car that will shake up the compact segment, with a more spacious interior and more cargo room than the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla."
Cruze goes on sale in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2010 but has already logged more than 4 million miles in quality and durability testing worldwide, making it one of the most real world-tested GM products prior to a U.S. launch. The U.S. and Canadian versions of the Cruze will be built in Lordstown, Ohio, where $350 million was invested for their production.
More than expected
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims. Standard and available equipment includes:
* New family of efficient four-cylinder engines, including a 1.4L turbo and 1.8L
* Six-speed automatic and manual transmissions
* Ten standard air bags, including frontal, side-impact, roof rail head curtain, rear seat side air bags and new knee air bags
* Electronic stability control with rollover sensing
* Bluetooth, USB connectivity and navigation system
* XM Satellite Radio and OnStar
* MacPherson strut front suspension and Watts Z-link rear suspension, with a family of 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels
* Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes
* Fuel-saving, rack-mounted electric power steering
* Unexpected levels of quietness, smoothness and refinement for the segment
All models share an interior characterized by premium materials and a lengthy roster of unexpected equipment, including leading infotainment. A stereo system that includes MP3 playback capability, six speakers and an auxiliary jack for personal playback devices is standard. A premium Pioneer sound system is available, as is a USB port for iPod operation. Other available technologies include Bluetooth and a navigation system.
"There’s a lot of content in all Cruze models; it was designed to give customers the features they want regardless of the car’s size or segment," said Brooks. "At a very competitive price, you’ll be able to get a Cruze with leather and heated front seats, 16-inch aluminum wheels, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, Bluetooth, a USB port for your iPod, cruise control, power locks and power outside mirrors."
Arching roofline
Chevy Cruze’s design is distinguished with a bold face – including a two-tier grille with the iconic Bowtie logo – that is Chevrolet’s signature look around the globe. An arching roofline connects a steeply raked windshield and fast-sloping rear pillars to give the car a sporty, coupe-like proportion.
The sporty aesthetic is also seen in prominent headlamp housings that wrap around the corners and sweep upward in the fenders and sculpted hood, as well as a short rear deck typically found on sports coupes. The wheels are at the corners, too, with minimal front and rear overhangs. All the elements work cohesively to give Cruze an aggressive look that is complemented by a wide, confident stance.
Indeed, the Cruze is wider and longer than most of its competitors. Taut, tightly drawn bodywork conveys solidity, while restrained use of exterior trim enhances the car’s high-quality feel. The overall appearance is one of purposeful precision.
Precision is also seen in the Cruze’s build quality. The Lordstown assembly plant’s body shop was retooled with the latest in body-framing and welding equipment to optimize the manufacture of a very solid body structure. That strong structure fosters minimal production variance and repeatable gap tolerances of 3 mm or less between most exterior panels. To the customer, this means a better looking car when new and one that feels solid for years to come.
Interior refinement
Cruze’s bold design cues and attention to detail carry over to the interior, where a Corvette-inspired twin-cockpit motif is matched with high-quality materials and exceptional assembly tolerances. Grained, soft-touch components and low-gloss trim panels exude a quality that is uncommon in the segment.
The instrument panel is an excellent example of how Cruze eschews expectations of compact cars. It features richly detailed instruments that are backlit with light-emitting diode (LED) technology. The LED lights provide a crisp, ice-blue illumination of the analog instruments, as well as lighting for other interior controls. A segment-rare standard driver information center offers a wealth of data for the vehicle owner.
Blending harmoniously with the instrument panels is an integrated center stack that houses the infotainment display, climate controls and radio controls. Flush-mounted components within the center stack have a gap tolerance of less than 1 mm, while the instrument panel-to-door panel gaps are less than 5 mm. Those tolerances are among the best in the class and contribute significantly to the Cruze’s aura of refinement and precision.
Cruze’s headliner and pillar trim exude craftsmanship, too. The headliner cover is made of a knit material that also serves as one of five layers of an acoustically designed headliner to help make the passenger compartment quieter. The interior pillar and other moldings are color- and grain-matched to the headliner, while seat inserts are color-matched to the color of the instrument panel accent trim, giving the cabin the detailed appearance of larger, upscale sedans.
New, efficient powertrains
Enhanced with its exhaust-driven turbocharger, the Cruze’s Ecotec 1.4L turbo performs like a larger engine when needed, but retains the efficiency of a small-displacement four-cylinder in most driving conditions. It is standard on LT and LTZ models, with power ratings estimated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm).
Standard on LS models is an Ecotec 1.8L four-cylinder that has the same basic architecture as the 1.4L turbo. Both engines are part of GM’s family of global small-displacement engines designed with fuel efficiency in mind, including technology such as full variable valve timing that optimizes performance and fuel economy across the rpm band.
Backing the Cruze’s new four-cylinder engines are six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Each contributes to Cruze’s excellent fuel economy and, with their carefully matched gears, enhances its fun-to-drive quotient.
With the Ecotec 1.4L turbo, Cruze’s fuel efficiency enables a cruising range of more than 500 miles (800 km), meaning it can go longer between fill-ups.
Cruze is backed by GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty – the best coverage in America.
Responsive, quiet driving experience
Complementing Cruze’s new powertrains is a strong body structure and chassis system designed to deliver a responsive and fun driving experience. The body structure is tight and stiff; and its solidity enabled engineers to more precisely tune the chassis for comfort and driving control.
A MacPherson strut suspension is used up front, while a technically advanced Watts Z-link design is used with the rear suspension. It helps center the rear axle during cornering, helping to keep the Cruze’s handling responses symmetrical on both left-hand and right-hand turns. The linkage’s capability to center the axle during cornering delivers a more balanced driving experience, as the rear suspension better follows the lead of the front suspension.
StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, as well as traction control and anti-lock brakes are standard. Electric power steering is also standard on all models. It helps save fuel because it removes the conventional power steering pump from the engine’s driven accessories. Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on LS and LT models, with 17-inch alloy wheels standard on LTZ. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are available on 2LT and LTZ models.
Along with a responsive driving experience, the Cruze delivers quietness and refinement on the road. Hydraulic ride bushings and an isolated engine cradle reduce or eliminate vibration pathways that could be transmitted to the passenger compartment. Similarly, a number of noise-reducing and noise-cancelling technologies are employed throughout the body structure, including 18 distinctive acoustical treatments. Examples include:
* The steel front-of-dash panel is sandwiched between two damping mats
* Nylon baffles are used in various hollow portions of the body structure and filled with sound-absorbing foam that expands when the body enters the paint oven
* The headliner comprises five layers of thermal fiber acoustic material, including a premium woven fabric on the visible outer layer
* Patches of sound-damping material are applied strategically throughout the body structure and melt into place when the body passes through the paint oven, allowing the patches to follow the contours of the sheet metal below
* Sound insulation material between rear-body structural components that is made from recycled blue jean material
* The doors have triple seals and feature fiberglass "blankets" that serve as water, airflow and noise barriers. The doors are also beta-braced, meaning they close with a solid, precise sound and no resonance.
Chevrolet has unveiled a more efficient version of the upcoming Cruze, called the Cruze Eco. The Eco version will deliver an estimated 40 miles per gallon on the highway without the use of expensive hybrid technology.
It’s turbocharged 1.4-liter Ecotec engine pushes the Cruze Eco from 0-60 in about ten seconds with the six-speed manual, or nine seconds with the auto. Also helping fuel economy, besides the small-displacement turbo, are low-resistance tires on lightweight wheels, as well as some neat aerodynamic design changes.
First of all, ride height is lowered on the Eco. A rear spoiler and underbody panels have been added. On the lower front grille, air shutters close at higher speeds to reduce drag, but open at lower speeds for engine cooling.
Arriving late in 2010, more economy figures and price tag will be announced closer to launch.
Have a look in the Image gallery, or scroll down for the press release.
Chevrolet Cruze Eco: Hybrid-Like Fuel Efficiency Without The Price Tag
          o Cruze Eco delivers an estimated segment-leading 40 mpg on the highway
          o Optional RS appearance package for Cruze LT and LTZ trim levels
NEW YORK – At the New York Auto Show, Chevrolet reveals the compact 2011 Cruze Eco. This high-efficiency model is powered by a 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine with variable valve timing that achieves an estimated 40 mpg on the highway when combined with a six-speed manual transmission. Cruze Eco is expected to deliver the best fuel economy in the compact segment, while offering midsize car presence.
“The Cruze Eco delivers hybrid-like efficiency without the price tag,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president Chevrolet marketing. “Along with the Volt electric vehicle, it demonstrates how Chevrolet is working to bring new products to market that range from gas-friendly to gas-free.”
Chevrolet also shows an optional RS sport appearance package for the Cruze LT and LTZ trim levels.
Cruze is the first in a family of all-new Chevrolet small and compact cars designed to offer excellent fuel economy, outstanding quality and top safety ratings. Cruze models for the United States and Canada will be produced at the Lordstown, Ohio assembly complex. In February, Chevrolet announced the addition of a third shift at Lordstown that will add 1,200 workers to support a smooth, fast and flawless ramp-up of Cruze production. More than $350 million has been invested to re-tool the plant and add new, state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment.
“This investment helps secure the best possible manufacturing footprint to react to market demand and deliver vehicles faster to our customers,” said Campbell. “We believe Cruze is the right car at the right time for American consumers.”
Cruze Eco details
Featuring a 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine with variable valve timing, the Cruze Eco is designed to be the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup, delivering an estimated 40 mpg on the highway with the standard six-speed manual transmission. City fuel economy, as well as estimates for the Cruze Eco equipped with an available six-speed automatic transmission, will be finalized closer to launch.
The Eco achieves greater fuel economy using a number of features that enhance its aerodynamics, minimize weight and reduce rolling resistance. Details include:
    * A lower front grille air shutter that closes at higher speeds to improve aerodynamics and opens at lower speeds to optimize engine-cooling airflow
    * The upper grille has more “closeouts” to improve aerodynamics
    * A lower front air dam extension, extensive use of underbody panels and a rear spoiler enhance aerodynamics
    * A lowered ride height improves aerodynamics
    * Unique 17-inch lightweight aluminum wheels
    * Ultra-low rolling resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires.
The axle ratio on the manual-transmission model is also optimized for fuel economy, while helping the car deliver confident performance. Chevrolet estimates the Cruze Eco will deliver 0-60 mph performance of about 10 seconds with the manual transmission and 9 seconds with the six-speed automatic.
The Cruze Eco will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Cruze RS details
Complementing Cruze’s sporty proportions is an optional RS appearance package for the LT and LTZ trim levels, which bolsters the car’s styling with unique fascias, rocker moldings, rear spoiler and fog lamps. An uplevel instrument cluster is also part of the package and includes chrome accent rings in place of the standard silver finish, as well as opaque cluster bezels that allow the cluster’s ice blue backlighting to shine through – providing a sporty nighttime appearance.
"For customers who want even more personality and presence in their vehicle, the RS appearance package builds on the already bold face and coupe-like proportions of the Cruze,” said Michael Simcoe, executive director, North American Exterior Design.
Midsize presence in the compact segment
All Cruze models offer the spaciousness and amenities of a midsize car, combined with segment-leading features and details that challenge preconceived notions about what a compact car can be in North America.
Along with the Eco, the 2011 Cruze will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims. Standard and available equipment includes:
    * Ten standard air bags, including frontal, front-seat side-impact air bags, roof rail head curtain, rear-seat side air bags and new front knee air bags
    * Bluetooth, USB connectivity, XM Satellite Radio and navigation system
    * Standard OnStar with one year of Directions and Connections service
    * MacPherson strut front suspension and Z-link rear suspension, with 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels
    * Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing, traction control and anti-lock brakes
    * Fuel-saving, rack-mounted electric power steering
    * Unexpected levels of quietness, smoothness and refinement for the segment.
All models share an interior characterized by upscale materials and a lengthy roster of equipment usually found in larger and more expensive vehicles. Available technologies include Bluetooth and a navigation system.
Cruze’s 1.4L Ecotec turbo performs like a larger engine when needed, but retains the efficiency of a small-displacement four-cylinder in most driving conditions; it is standard on Eco, LT and LTZ models. Rated at an estimated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm), it enables a cruising range of more than 500 miles (800 km). Cruze will lead the way for Chevrolet in the use of small-displacement, turbocharged Ecotec engines that are highly fuel-efficient and power vehicles that are fun to drive. 
Standard on LS models is a 1.8L Ecotec four-cylinder rated at an estimated 136 horsepower (184 kW) and 123 lb.-ft. of torque (166 Nm). Both engines are designed with fuel efficiency in mind, including technology such as variable valve timing that optimizes performance and fuel economy.
Backing the Cruze’s engines are six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Each contributes to excellent fuel economy.
Also announced at this years New York International Auto Show is the RS appearance package for the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT and LTZ.
On the exterior, the RS package includes a unique fascia, door sill moldings, a rear spoiler and fog lamps, as well as RS badging to set it apart from the rest of the lineup.
Inside, the RS sees an upgraded instrument cluster with ice blue lighting and chrome accents.
Chevrolet engineers have already logged more than 4 million miles in quality and durability testing worldwide, making Cruze one of the most real world-tested products prior to a U.S. launch. It is backed by Chevrolet’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty – the best coverage in America.
About Chevrolet
Chevrolet is one of America’s best-known and best-selling automotive brands, and one of the fastest growing brands in the world. With fuel solutions that range from “gas-friendly to gas-free,” Chevrolet has nine models that offer an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway, and offers two hybrid models. More than 2.5 million Chevrolets that run on E85 biofuel have been sold. Chevrolet delivers expressive design, spirited performance and strives to provide the best value in every segment in which it competes. More information can be found at For more information on the Volt, visit
Chevrolet has announced a long-roof variant of the Cruze to be shown at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The Cruze Station Wagon, like its hatchback brother, will be a Euro-only affair. The Europeans will also get their hands on the 1.4-liter turbo four we get stateside, as well as a new 1.7-liter diesel.
The Cruze Wagon is almost four inches longer than the sedan and more than six inches longer than the hatchback. That extra length means it can fit nearly 53 cubic feet of junk in the back with the rear seats folded.
The hatchback’s launch will coincide with a light refresh for the Cruze, both here and overseas. All 2012 Cruzes will get a remodeled front fascia, new wheels and the option of adding MyLink—Chevrolet’s new smartphone integration system, complete with a seven-inch touchscreen, to their center console.
We’ll have more images of the newest member of the Cruze family when it hits the show stand at the Geneva Motor Show, starting March 6.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Chevrolet.
World premiere for Chevrolet Cruze station wagon
* Station wagon is the third variant of world’s favorite Chevrolet
* New engine line-up includes sporty turbo and frugal diesel
* Refined design and new technologies
* MyLink: cutting edge smartphone infotainment system
The Chevrolet Cruze station wagon is all set for its global premiere at the 82nd International Geneva Motor Show early next month. The station wagon, the latest bodystyle of Chevrolet’s most popular nameplate, complements the sedan and hatchback versions, which together have combined sales in excess of one million vehicles globally since the carline was launched in 2009.
"The Cruze station wagon caters to an important market segment. It ticks all the boxes for European drivers in terms of distinctive design, dynamic driving, space and economy," said Chevrolet Europe President and Managing Director Susan Docherty.
The new station wagon features generous storage space and a choice of powerful and efficient engines as well as the state-of-the-art Chevrolet MyLink onboard infotainment system.
The new and improved engines will be available on the entire Cruze line-up starting summer 2012. In addition to the current 1.6L and 1.8L gasoline engines, a new 1.4L turbo gasoline, a new 1.7L diesel and an improved 2.0L diesel engine complete the powertrain offer.
The 1.4L gasoline, 1.7L diesel and 2.0L diesel engines come with start-stop technology as standard. All engines are Euro 5-compliant.
The station wagon, at 4,675 mm, is slightly longer than the hatchback (4,510 mm) and sedan (4,597 mm) models. Load space ranges from 500 liters up to the window line in the rear to nearly 1,500 liters up to the roof top with the rear seats folded down.
Refined design and new technologies
The station wagon is immediately recognizable as a new variant of the best-selling Chevrolet Cruze. The exterior design features a tapering single arch roofline and comes with roof racks as standard, providing convenience while maintaining a poised and sporty look.
A number of exterior and interior styling changes are being introduced in 2012 for all Cruze models. These include a remodeled front fascia, modified head-lamp interiors and fog lamps, and new wheel styles on the exterior and refinements to the center console and a greater choice of seat finishes for the interior.
New Cruzes are equipped with keyless entry, allowing access the vehicle with the key safely tucked away in a bag or pocket. Additionally, the system allows the engine to be turned on or off by pressing a button without the need to insert the key into the ignition.
A brand-new Chevrolet infotainment system, called MyLink, is being introduced in higher trim levels in the Cruze line-up and in the Chevrolet Aveo as of summer 2012. It brings owners’ smartphone capabilities into the vehicle.
MyLink aggregates content from the smartphone onto the seven-inch diagonal high-resolution full-color touch-screen display. Once the smartphone is connected, personal playlists, photo galleries, phone books, videos and other stored media and data, such as a special navigation app, can be accessed though the infotainment system touch-screen.
About Chevrolet
Chevrolet is General Motors’ largest global brand with annual sales of more than four million vehicles in more than 140 countries. It is the fourth biggest global car brand in terms of sales and also one of the fastest growing brands in the world. Chevrolet cars combine bold design, performance, innovation and practicality. They provide outstanding value for money. Established in the U.S. by Swiss émigré Louis Chevrolet in 1911, the brand celebrated its centenary in 2011. The brand was re-launched in Europe in 2005. It is represented with a total of 2,500 sales and service outlets in Western and Central Europe. The European Chevrolet line-up includes the Spark city car, the small Aveo sedan and hatchback, the compact Cruze sedan and hatchback, the Orlando family van, the Captiva SUV, the legendary Camaro and Corvette sports cars and the extended-range Volt electric car. In 2012, Chevrolet is launching the Cruze station wagon and the Malibu mid-size sedan. More information on Chevrolet can be found at or
We hate looking a gift horse in the mouth, but this isn’t what we were hoping for. This is the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, a vehicle we’ve been waiting some time for. Its 2.0-liter turbodiesel produces 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which represents a 10-horsepower and 120-pound-foot improvement over the standard Cruze’s 1.4-liter turbo.
It’ll return 42 miles per gallon on the highway and can zip to 60 miles per hour in 8.6 seconds. For those keeping track at home, that makes the oil-burning Cruze half-a-second faster to 60 miles per hour than the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, while returning an identical 42 mpg on the highway.
Our problem with the Cruze is this; It is not cheap. Unoptioned, it starts at $25,695, or only slightly more than a mid-range Jetta TDI (a basic, entry level TDI can be had for $23,055, though). But the Cruze is going to be parked in the showroom next to a car that looks identical, returns the same 42-mpg highway number, and has a starting price of just $20,490 (that’d be the Cruze Eco, for people still guessing). Importantly, the cost of diesel is generally higher in the US than gas. Pair that with the extra $5000 that the Diesel demands and the fact that it’s no more efficient than the Cruze Eco, and we’re starting to wonder how Chevy dealers are going to move this oil-burning sedan.
The 2014 Cruze Diesel goes on sale this summer.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Chevrolet
Chevrolet Debuts 2014 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel
Turbocharging helps deliver segment-leading 148 horsepower (est.) and 258 lb-ft of torque (est.) with estimated 42 mpg highway
$25,695 MSRP includes destination and two – year maintenance plan
CHICAGO – Chevrolet is entering the U.S. and Canadian diesel car markets this summer with a 2.0L turbo-diesel version of its hottest-selling sedan, the Cruze , featuring the cleanest diesel passenger car engine General Motors has ever produced. Clean diesels generate at least 90 percent less Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and particulate emissions when compared to previous-generation diesels.
Built in Lordstown, Ohio, the 2014 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel delivers a combination of segment-leading features and efficiency. Based on GM testing, the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has demonstrated estimated best in segment range and 42 mpg on the highway with spirited performance and the durability diesel owners value around the globe.
“Chevrolet has a diverse portfolio of products and technologies to meet the needs of the most discerning customer, whether it’s driving across town gas free in a Spark EV or cross-country in a clean turbo diesel,” said Chris Perry, Chevrolet vice president of marketing.
The compact sedan’s new 2.0L turbo-diesel engine produces an estimated 148 horsepower (110 kW) and 258 lb.-ft torque (350 Nm) with 0-60 performance of 8.6 seconds, which is better than the Volkswagen Jetta TDI automatic and competitive with German diesel cars that dominate the U.S. market.
Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel’s emissions will be below stringent U.S. environmental standards including Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standards.
“Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel fills an important role in Chevrolet’s diverse four-cylinder lineup, and is primed to win over diesel devotees and compact car buyers with its performance, torque and fuel economy,” said Perry. “We leveraged engineering expertise from around the globe to develop a world-class, low-emissions engine to give U.S. and Canadian customers a car that’s both fun to drive and practical at the pump.”
With a starting price at $ 25,695, including a $810 destination charge (excludes tax, title, license, and dealer fees) Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, 3.20 final drive ratio, 140-amp alternator, 800-cold-cranking-amps battery, 17-inch alloy wheels, ultra-low-rolling resistance all-season tires, rear spoiler, Aero Performance Package and leather-appointed seating.
Other standard features include Chevrolet’s infotainment system MyLink, a two-year maintenance plan, and a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
“Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is the most sophisticated passenger car diesel engine GM has ever produced,” said Jens Wartha, GM global program manager and chief engineer for the Cruze’s diesel engine. “We merged European diesel expertise with the real world driving preferences of North American consumers.”
GM has sold nearly two million Chevrolet Cruze models globally since it was launched in mid-2010. GM produced more than half a million small diesel-engine cars across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America last year, including Cruze. In Europe, approximately 40 percent of Cruze models are diesel-powered.
Diesel details
Cruze’s 2.0L turbo-diesel is based on proven architecture already used in European models. Collaborating with Italian and German engineering groups, GM’s diesel experts in the United States adapted the engine to accommodate more stringent diesel emission standards and a wider range of driving conditions – including colder climates and higher altitudes – for the United States and Canada.
“This Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel represents a new era in diesel performance for American cars,” said Jens Wartha, GM chief engineer. “We’ve adapted a proven engine from Europe, the world’s diesel capital, and married it with the emissions-reducing technology that was perfected in the United States. It’s a great example of how Chevrolet’s global resources work harmoniously to produce the right product at the right time and for the right market.”
Cruze’s new 2.0L turbo-diesel delivers an estimated 148 horsepower (110 kW) and 258 lb.-ft. of torque (350 Nm). Peak torque is achieved at a low 2,000 rpm for a sustained feeling of power on demand at almost all speeds – particularly when passing or entering a freeway onramp. The engine has an overboost feature capable of increasing torque to an estimated 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nm), for stronger acceleration periods of about 10 seconds.
“With the benefit of continuous refinement in other markets, the 2.0L turbo-diesel comes to the United States and Canada with performance that will impress,” said Mike Siegrist, assistant chief engineer. “It is powerful, efficient and clean. It will change perceptions of what a diesel car can be, while giving customers another fuel efficient choice in the Cruze lineup.”
Cruze models in the United States and Canada offer a 1.4L turbo, a 1.4L Eco model and 1.8L naturally aspirated engine.
The 2.0L turbo-diesel engine provides greater fuel economy than a comparably sized gasoline engine through greater thermal efficiency, a higher compression ratio and an unthrottled combustion process. It features an iron cylinder block and a forged steel crankshaft, each designed to stand up to the greater cylinder pressures commensurate with a turbo-diesel engine.
A lightweight aluminum cylinder head and aluminum intake manifold contribute to the engine’s comparatively low weight of 408 pounds (185 kg), helping the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel deliver a balanced ride with outstanding handling characteristics. Additional highlights include:
Dual overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters with low-friction roller-finger followers
Quiet belt-driven cams/valvetrain with high-strength belt material and tensioner rated for 100,000 miles
High-strength aluminum pistons with reinforced top ring and integral combustion bowl design
Central direct injection, with the injector positioned in the middle of the cylinder, with the bowl in the piston serving as the combustion chamber. This enables a high 16.5:1 compression ratio that enhances power and combustion efficiency
Variable-swirl intake manifold design, which optimizes air charge mixture motion in the cylinders for a more-efficient combustion that enhances performance and reduces emissions
Common-rail fuel system with Piezo fuel injectors that create multiple injections per combustion for greater performance, combustion efficiency and quietness
Variable-nozzle turbocharger that broadens the engine’s torque curve, particularly at low rpm, and supports greater high-rpm horsepower. It is mounted close to the exhaust outlet of the engine for quicker “spool up” of the turbine and faster “light off” of the exhaust catalyst
Intercooling system produces a cooler, denser air charge for greater power
Piston oil jets that help reduce friction and optimize piston temperature for greater performance and efficiency
Turbocharger bearings are oil-lubricated and cooled via an oil cooler
Variable-displacement oil pump helps save fuel by optimizing the oil pressure, which reduces friction
Vacuum pump designed for lower engine friction
Ceramic glow plugs, which provide greater cold-start performance over conventional metal glow plugs (an engine oil heater is offered for cold climates)
B20 bio-diesel compatibility.
Quiet, smooth performance is enabled by a number of features on and around the engine. There are also sound-absorbing features added to the Cruze, specific to the diesel model, including a unique dash mat, hood blanket and more.
A precise exhaust gas recirculation control system features a high-capacity cooler and bypass feature that enable the engine to meet United States and Canada’s tough diesel emissions regulations. There is also an exhaust after-treatment system is similar to what is used on Chevrolet’s heavy-duty trucks and vans equipped with the Duramax diesel, including a diesel particulate filter and urea injection, that helps make the 2.0L the cleanest diesel passenger car engine ever from GM.
An approximately 4.5-gallon (17 liters) tank in the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel holds enough diesel emissions fluid to provide at least 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of driving between refills. The system is also designed for servicing to coincide with oil changes, for greater convenience.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at
Chevrolet Cruze 1.8
Engine: Inline-4, 1.8 liters, 16v
Output: 138 hp/125 lb-ft
Weight, Manual/Automatic: 3093/3082 lb
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy (Automatic Transmission): 25(22)/36(35) mpg
Base Price: $17,440
Chevrolet Cruze 1.4
Engine: Turbocharged inline-4, 1.4 liters, 16v
Output: 138 hp/148 lb-ft
Weight: 3126 lb
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 26/38 mpg
Base Price: $19,370
Chevrolet Cruze Eco
Engine: Turbocharged inline-4, 1.4 liters, 16v
Output: 138 hp/148 lb-ft
Weight, Manual/Automatic: 3011/3102 lb
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 28/42 mpg
Base Price: $19,325
Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Engine: Turbodiesel inline-4, 2.0 liters, 16v
Output: 148 hp/258 lb-ft
Weight: 3475 lb
Fuel Economy, Hwy: 42 mpg
Base Price: $25,695
Our Chevrolet Cruze Eco had a standard six-speed manual transmission. After having driven the Cruze with the clumsy, sluggish automatic transmission, the do-it-yourself gearbox really seemed to breathe life into the small turbocharged engine. While not the best stick shift I’ve operated, it feels very smooth, and adds a sense of refinement to the Cruze’s driving character and driver interaction. Plus, it’s much easier to take advantage of the 138 turbocharged horsepower under the hood when you’re the one choosing when and how fast to shift. It’s really easy to get great mileage out of the Cruze Eco, and it feels like more of an accomplishment when you’re fully responsible. As usual, stick wins.
The Eco also seemed well trimmed. It had cloth seats, but the cloth felt pretty durable, and the seats were comfortable. Also, the Eco had cloth inserts that extended across the door to the dash. This seemed like a bold design move that could have easily turned out looking and feeling cheap, but instead added to the sense of refinement at a value. It seemed to match the driving dynamics of the car too.
The Chevy Cruze doesn’t try to pretend to be a sports car. It presents itself as a clean, practical, usable everyday vehicle. I think it pulls this off nicely, and the Eco adds just a splash of unique personality, particularly with its subtle exterior aero treatment. It wasn’t until I drove the Eco (with the manual trans) that the Cruze began to finally grow on me.
—John Beltz Snyder, Production Editor
This Cruze Eco has got a much different sensibility to it than most new cars I drive on behalf of Winding Road. It manages to be, largely because of it’s decent manual gearbox, both the most fuel-efficient, and the best-to-drive example of the Cruze range.
In previous Cruze experiences, the subtly of the suspension tuning and the overall competence of the ride/handling balance was a bit lost on me, primarily because I spent most of my time frustrated with the transmission. Freed of that frustration with a manual that is, to be fair, pretty average, I was better able to suss out the great-handling car that Chevy has put forth here. Without sacrificing any ride comfort—the car covered broken places in the road with grace similar to some luxury cars I’ve driven recently—the Cruze felt very willing when pushed.
Interestingly, the Cruze doesn’t feel a lot like a small car in terms of turn-in and rotation, but the positive tradeoff is great highway-speed stability (along with a very quite ride), and the aforementioned harsh-surface mitigation. Steering effort felt progressive with more lock, too, though feedback levels are pretty low. Honestly, with just a little bit more torque, and some weightier controls, the Cruze could do a passable BMW imitation on a back road.
Again, most of what I just discussed is evident (probably) in the non-Eco Cruze, too, but if you care enough to pay attention to the car’s personality, you’ll probably want to avoid the automatic gearbox.
—Seyth Miersma, Editor-In-Chief
Easy to achieve great fuel economy
Excellent ride quality and handling for a small car
Interior is a refreshing chance from the norm at this price point
Turbocharged motor lacks tubro character—almost too smooth for our liking
Not a pointy, corner-seeking small car
As fits its more refined character, the Cruze is pretty isolated
Hybrids, EVs, diesels…they get all the credit. With advanced powertrains, super-clean emissions, and lofty EPA ratings, these fuel-sippers are stars. Meanwhile, there’s a range of ultra-efficient gas engines that, to quote the legendary Mr. Dangerfield, get no respect.
That’s wrong, as we found out during our week with the smallest member of Chevrolet’s Eco range, the Cruze Eco. With a 1.4-liter, turbocharged Ecotec engine and a six-speed manual transmission, there’s a lot to like about this smallish Chevy. It packs 138 horsepower, 148 pound-feet of torque, will net 28 miles per gallon in the city, and 42 mpg on the highway. Combine those numbers with a curb weight of just 3011 pounds (it’s no Lotus Elise, but it’s still decent), and the Cruze Eco’s appeal begins to shine through.
Flat out, it’ll easily get out of its own way. We have no qualms with its ability to accelerate for highway passing or merging maneuvers, and with peak torque coming on at a low 1850 rpm, it feels equally adept in city driving. Torque is hardly diesel-like, but the Cruze will still happily chirp its low-rolling-resistance tires. Despite being a small turbo, lag is well managed, and once spooled, power delivery is smooth and linear. This is a pretty quiet engine, producing less noise under acceleration than a Chevrolet Volt does when its gas engine kicks to life.
The Cruze has always been blessed with a better-than-average balance of ride and handling, and the Eco is no exception. Vertical damping could stand to be a bit stronger, but side-to-side motions are well managed. Overall, the chassis balance leans decidedly towards the front of the vehicle (not surprising considering it’s a front-engined/front-drive small car). Actual grip levels aren’t very high, on account of the aforementioned eco-friendly tires.
The ride is smooth and comfortable, with a controlled level of road and wind noise. Impact noises from the suspension are negligible. It soaks up bumps and ripples in the pavement quite well, and certainly wasn’t bothered on some of the bigger imperfections we traveled over.
There is a distinct lack of feedback through both the chassis and the steering, which, to be fair, is a chronic problem in the realm of both $20,000 sedans and fuel-efficient vehicles. The steering is rather light, but what effort there was built up in a linear manner. Overall, we’d call it one of the better electric setups on sale.
We have to admit to being big fans of the Cruze’s interior. The seats are rather soft, but offer a nice level of support, with right-sized bolsters. They’re finished in a breathable and comfortable cloth that feels surprisingly upscale (for cloth). It’s easy to find a comfortable seating position, and fans of putting the steering wheel in their lap will enjoy the great range in the tilt/telescopic wheel. There’s only one area we aren’t really sure of, and that’s the cloth insert that spans the breadth of the dash. It looks odd, and doesn’t feel particularly good. Really, we’ve never said this, but just give us a spot of painted soft-touch plastic instead.
Fuel economy during our time with the Cruze was impressive. On a 100-mile loop, we managed an impressive 44 mpg on a prolonged stretch of highway, before hitting our final number of 37 mpg after a stint of urban driving. What struck us was the ease with which the Cruze Eco achieved its mileage. We weren’t actively trying to drive efficiently, yet our results were quite good. We like cars that deliver effortless economy, and we’re officially adding the Cruze Eco to that list. The only thing we’d like to see is better metrics for measuring economy, as the Chevy was lacking in that regard.
In terms of pricing, the Cruze Eco looks like a bargain. It starts at a mere $19,325, which for a five-passenger sedan that can net 42 mpg is very impressive. Our tester also featured a $995, seven-inch, touchscreen navigation system. All told, we’d shell out $21,560 (including destination) for a 42-mpg, nav-equipped, manual-transmission, turbocharged sedan. That price is even more impressive when we look at it next to its big-name competition: the Toyota Prius.
A standard Prius starts at $24,000. With gas at a conservative $3.70 per gallon (the same number quoted by the EPA on the Cruze’s Monroney window sticker) and a driver that would cover 12,000 miles per year, it’d take over 11 years to recoup the price difference between a base Cruze Eco and a base Prius Two. Of course, that number will decrease as fuel costs increase, but prices need to go way up for this to make economic sense.
We understand the hype towards EVs, hybrids, and diesels, and that eventually gasoline-powered cars will be supplanted completely. In the here and now, though, Chevrolet’s Cruze Eco is a great fuel-saving sedan at an even better price.
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco


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