Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Introduced in 2011, the Chevrolet Cruze is a front-wheel-drive compact sedan that, in the past five years, has done well in the commercial fleet market. The most recent addition to the Cruze was a diesel engine option. This was significant since there is only one other model in the compact passenger car segment that offers a diesel engine, which is the Volkswagen Jetta TDI sedan. With the introduction of the diesel option, the Chevrolet Cruze offers six trim levels – L, LS, LT, LTZ, Eco, and Diesel.

Automotive Fleet had an opportunity to test drive the Cruze Diesel model and we were impressed by its excellent fuel economy, expanded cruising range, spirited engine performance, wealth of safety features, and its ability to contribute to corporate sustainability goals with its low NOx emissions.

The powertrain for the Cruze Diesel is the four-cylinder 2.0L turbocharged diesel engine mated to a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which is different from the transmission offered on other Cruze models.

The Cruze Diesel’s 2.0L turbodiesel engine is based on a proven Opel engine used in the Opel Insignia and Astra models, and meets U.S. diesel emission standards for NOx and particulate emissions. As an added bonus, the 2.0L turbodiesel is capable of running on B-20 biodiesel.

During our driving test, the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel demonstrated solid acceleration while merging into traffic from freeway onramps and during passing maneuvers. The engine generates 151 hp at 4,000 rpm and 264 lb.-ft. torque at 2,600 rpm. During these driving situations, a variable-nozzle turbocharger expands the turbodiesel’s overall torque curve.

What contributes to the performance of the Cruze Diesel is a common-rail fuel system with Piezo injectors, which make multiple injections per combustion resulting in improved engine performance.

Excellent Fuel Economy

The EPA fuel economy for the Cruze Diesel is 33 mpg combined (27 mpg city/46 mpg highway). Also contributing to the Cruze Diesel’s excellent fuel economy is that it offers the same aerodynamic enhancements and low-rolling-resistance tires as does the Cruze Eco model. In addition, the Cruze Diesel sits on lightweight 17-inch wheels.

Another strong selling point to the Cruze is its excellent cruising distance due to its 15.6-gallon fuel tank, which allows a range of 700-plus miles per tank.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Driver Comfort & Safety Features

The overall dimensions for the 2015 Cruze makes for a comfortable driving experience. There is interior headroom of 39.3 inches for the front and 37.9 inches for the rear. Legroom is 42.3 inches front and 35.4 inches for the rear. To accommodate drivers of all sizes and shapes, the Cruze includes a six-way power driver seat, and for those working in colder climates, there are heated driver and front passenger seats.

As a fleet sales vehicle, the Cruze Diesel offer has a large trunk, with 13.3 cubic feet of storage space, providing plenty of room to carry a wide array of point of sales materials.

Wealth of Safety Features

In NHTSA crash testing, the Cruze earned a top five-star rating for overall safety performance, with five stars for total frontal-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection.

The Chevrolet Cruze offers 10 standard air bags, roof rail-mounted head curtain side air, seat-mounted side-impact air bags (front and rear), and front knee air bags. The pedal assembly is collapsible to help protect against lower-extremity injuries.

There is also an available Enhanced Safety Package that includes side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist.

All 2015 Chevrolet Cruze models come standard with stability control and antilock brakes. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, and stolen-vehicle assistance.

In the 2016 model-year, an all-new model Cruze will be introduced.

Related Photos: GM's Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

About the author
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Former Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Global Fleet of Hal in 2022. He also won the Industry Icon Award, presented jointly by the IARA and NAAA industry associations.

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