Chev Cruze Diesel
The Chev Cruze burst into the C segment last year to hand a beat down to its competitors analogous to that I would receive were I to go knuckle-to-knuckle with Mike Tyson. It looks amazing from all angles, has unmatched interior quality and an array of standard features.
I went on the launch last year and I had only three criticisms of the car. Firstly, the engine options were quite silly for a car as big as the Cruze. Second was the fact that the rear lights don’t fit the rest of the cars aesthetics. Lastly the steering isn’t sharp enough.
My journo colleagues may not have agreed with me on points two and three because, well, they’re too diplomatic. Chevrolet took notice of point one though, and was quietly confident that the diesel model they had in the pipe line would put an end to the disapproving comments.
Now it’s unusual for a diesel to be the “performance” model in a range. But I think the idea makes sense in the modern era. Petrol isn’t cheap as it is, so having a big family saloon with a big petrol engine to make it go hikes up the running costs quite significantly.
In steps Chevrolet’s 2.0 litre turbo charged diesel unit, which, bolted into the Cruze, is simply infallible. Producing some 110 kW and 320 Nm (at just 2000rpm) the 0-100km/h time has been cut by just under 2 seconds from the old range topping 1.8 litre petrol. Also you were always shifting cogs in the 1.8 trying to find what little power was on offer – now the Cruze feels an entirely different beast with additional oomph available in town and on the highways.
Fuel consumption is far superior as well at just 5.7 litres/100km, compared with 7.6 in the petrol model. And you were lucky to get 7.6 because it’s almost impossible to drive such an underpowered car economically.
Due to the fact that diesel engines need to be so much stronger than petrol ones, the diesel Cruze is heavier. One can safely assume that the additional weight is up front over the wheels which in most cars would make the handling a little bit worse. Funny enough though (and I’m not sure it was the euphoria of such an incredible improvement on the power front) I found the steering in the diesel to have a meatier feeling. Turn in was more precise and this gave me far more confidence in the bends.
Aside from all the improvements, it’s still the same brilliantly made, well equipped C segment heavyweight. And at R266,400 the Cruze offers better value for money than the equivalent Toyota Corolla (R283,800).
I said in my last review that you’d be a mental to buy anything else. I’ll stick by my comment – put simply, this car is brilliant.
Price: R 266,400
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo charged diesel
Power: 110 kW
Torque: 320 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.6
Top speed (km/h): 184
Fuel consumption (l/100km): 5.7 (claimed)
Photo Credit: Quickpic