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Now that Volkswagen has stepped down from the diesel territory, it has open up the playing field to perspective up incomers to claim this land – Chevrolet being one them with the introduction of the Cruze Diesel. But with the playing field left wide open, this might just be a battle of one since no one else is really playing with diesel.

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With the Cruze in its second generation, Chevrolet fell for the hatchback craze and launched the Cruze with a fifth door. Granted most hatchbacks usually look better than their sedan off spring, and in this case, the Cruze is much more attractive in a hatch formation. There is a problem however, get to the diesel engine in the hatch, it costs an extra $2900 over the base $21795 LT with a 1.4-liter Turbo gas engine and then it’s an extra $1600 for the nine-speed automatic. And that’s before we get to the options lists.

 

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Powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter diesel engine, the Cruze isn’t much of power hungry race horse with only 137-horsepower on tap. Though its feels much quicker than it actually is. Once it applies its 240lb-ft of torque, its linear thrusts keeps things moving steadily to 60 mph in about 8 seconds. While we prefer to play with our own gears, the Cruze’s nine-speed autobox seemed to manage the gear efficiently and effectively without any need for hostile takeover. Though nine is still too many gears for such a small engine. Diesel is all about torque, and torque is what it provides – it’s what helps ushers the Cruze along when it comes time for passing other motorists with confidence.

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Diesels however are quite different from a gas engine – they’re known to be loader than Uncle John’s snoring and feel a bit robust like a farm tractor on a chilly day. That’s not the case with the Cruze and its nicely insulated cabin. The Cruze is quiet and when standing next to it, it sounds like a normal engine. Plus the extra padded insulation in the cabin helps isolate out some of that engine noise. The diesel here also feels smooth like a 1-900 phone operator, though can’t say the same for the auto start/stop that’ll ruin the mood. Diesel is also known for its exceptional highway efficiency, though has started to become overshadowed by the incredible engineering from some hybrids and natural aspirated engines. The Cruze Diesel managed to pull out 50 mpg on the our 200 mile jaunt and combined 35 mpg around town – that’s fairly close to an unnamed German automaker before a scandal broke loose in 2015. It is claimed that the Cruze Diesel can achieve over 600 miles on a single tank, and while we are generally up for such challenge, our trip computer only read back 350 miles to empty.

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To get the Cruze Hatchback looking this sharp takes a single option, the $1245 RS Package that incorporates these large 18-inch machine finished wheels, upgraded front fascia with integrated fog lights, a sportier rear bumper with a squared off tailpipe and a large rear sportier for all that downforce wheel need. The RS Package also incorporates an upgraded suspension that firms up the ride and makes our Cruze a little bumpier than we would have wanted.

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Inside our handsome little Cruze hatch, the interior has been outfitted stunning black and orange interior, thanks to the $1125 Leather Package. This package also incorporates a higher quality interior feel with attractive color coordinating leather on the dash and door panels. The steering wheel also gets wrapped in leather and heated. The $2600 Driver Confidence, Sun and Sound Package is really where it’s at though, incorporating all of the latest advance technology on the market with Rear Park Assist Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring and a large 8-inch touch screen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a sunroof.

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Once the Cruze has been loaded up with all the finest of features, it’s quite a cozy little car to drive. The interior is comfortable and roomy and well suited for any driver. The rear seats are accommodating for adult passengers and with the hatch, there’s plenty of cargo space. The touch screen infotainment system is quick and sensitive to touch, there’s no delay between menus and is easy to get around. It’s even enjoyable to drive with soft, responsive steering and eager to stop brakes.

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At an as tested price of $31,370, the Cruze diesel is an expensive call to make. Especially when there are just as good as gas engines on the market that can achieve nearly just as good fuel economy. But if diesel is your forte, and enjoy the advantages of fueling up every 600 miles, then the price of the Cruze Diesel is worth the few extra dollars.

Vehicle Specifications:
2018 Chevrolet Cruze LT Diesel Hatchback: $35,865
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $31,370
Performance Specs:
1.6-liter Turbocharged Four Cylinder Diesel -137-Horsepower, 9-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±8.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 30/45/35 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 32.0 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±380 Miles