2015 Chevrolet Cruze Review

2015 Chevrolet Cruze - Turbo diesel gives give an already excellent compact superb economy.


The Chevrolet mid-size family sedan is decidedly apple-pie-American. That size sedan from various automakers continues to hold its own here despite a variety of competing vehicles with various body styles.

However, the new Chevy Cruze has tilted a bit to the European side by adding a "clean" turbocharged diesel engine that provides shining estimated fuel economy: 46 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 in the city.

The Cruze Turbo Diesel can be driven 717 miles per tank. So who needs a hybrid?

Diesel cars are common in Europe, where high  economy is needed  because of stiff fuel prices.

The Cruze diesel is a turbocharged dual-overhead-camshaft 2-liter four-cylinder that generates 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is more than some V-6 gas engines.

The Cruze diesel has an "overboost" function that pushes torque to 280 pound-feet for ten seconds at a time for such things as faster passing on highways. Chevy says the 0-60 m.p.h. time is 8.6 second, but my Cruze Turbo Diesel test car felt faster. Merging and passing above 65 m.p.h. were easy.

The Cruze diesel only emits a soft "diesel rattling" sound at idle and is only a little louder than a pure gasoline engine during regular driving. It passes the most stringent 50-state emissions standards, thanks to an exhaust after-treatment fluid system.

The engine works with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission, which can be manually controlled.

While it costs more than regular Cruze gasoline models, which start at  $16,170, the $25,660 Cruze Turbo Diesel is well-equipped.

For starters, it looks slick, with such items as an aero package that includes lower front grille air shutter, mid-body aero panels, front fascia air dam and a rear spoiler.

Also standard are leather upholstery, air conditioning, driver information center, power driver's seat, keyless entry, power windows, heated front seats, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with controls, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks, remote  power adjustable outside mirrors and two auxiliary power outlets.

Desirable, but costly options, include the $1,345 "Sun and Sound" package with a power sunroof and premium audio system and $790 Enhanced Safety Package with rear parking assist, rear cross traffic and side blind zone alert.

There's also a $495 audio system with a navigation system and an AM/FM/CD player with a 7-inch color touchscreen. A $340 package contains a rear-vision camera.

Front seats provide decent support in curves, but bright sunlight makes the speedometer and tachometer a little hard to read. The driver information center is easy to use, and dashboard controls are logically placed. There are a fair number of cabin storage areas.

Large outside door handles help provide quick entry into the quiet interior, which has upscale plastics and soft-touch materials. Dashboard vents are nicely placed. Visibility from the driver's seat is good, and outside mirrors are nicely sized. The sun visor mirrors each have twin lights.

However, the Cruze could use more backseat room, especially for growing teenagers and shorter adults. The front-seat area is roomy. Console cupholders are placed a little awkwardly, low and close to the front seats, but rear windows roll all the way down.

Steering is quick and precise, with good road feel,  and handling is quite good, helped by Stabilitrak-Stability control with traction control.

The ride is on the firm side, but is supple and comfortable. The all-disc anti-lock brakes are controlled by a firm pedal without much linear action.

The roomy trunk has a low, wide sill, and it's easy to flip the split rear seatbacks forward to expand the cargo area.

The hood seems to weigh a ton and is held open with a prop rod, but it's unlikely that it will be opened much by anyone but mechanics.

The Cruise Turbo Diesel, with its rugged engine,  seems like the sort of car owners might want to keep for a long time.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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