Which Cruze are you?

2014 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
2014 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ & 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. Click image to enlarge

Article and photos by Jacob Black

When it comes to compact sedans GM’s Chevrolet Cruze is a class leader. It’s stylish, the interior is good, the handling is good, and the chassis is as tight as you realistically need in a vehicle of this class.

It also leads the domestics in the growing trend for diesel passenger cars, joining the Volkswagen Jetta by offering a turbodiesel option. Those two will be joined in the mainstream diesel segment by the Mazsa6 Skyactiv shortly.

Lately I had the chance to drive both the Cruze Diesel, and soon after a Cruze LTZ with the 1.4L turbocharged gasoline engine. Both had their merits, but motor vehicles are all about finding the best option for you.

And so, we present this handy Pop Quiz, designed to help you make the choice: Cruze Diesel or Cruze LTZ?

Where do you live?
A: The city
B: The middle of nowhere

If you answered A: You will enjoy the zippiness and relative frugality of the 1.4L Turbo LTZ. Without the added bulk of a 2.0L diesel over the front wheels the smaller engine makes for a slightly more nimble car. The EPA cites a negligible 0.3 L/100 km difference between the two cars for city driving. You are likely to encounter much more stop-and-go traffic too. The smaller engine is better suited to traffic congestion, while the Cruze Diesel suffers from worse turbo lag and a sluggish transmission.

If you answered B: Chances are you put a lot of miles on your car, spending lots of time on long highways. Here you’ll enjoy the camel-like frugality of the diesel 2.0L, which drinks a whole litre less per km on the highway than its gasoline powered counterpart. The high-torque, low-rev nature of the diesel makes highway speeds more relaxing and passing trucks a bit easier. The set-and-forget nature of your average drive suits this transmission, which is designed for maximum efficiency and suffers in stop-and-go traffic.

When you are made emperor, which transmission will be made mandatory on all cars?
A: Manual
B: Automatic

If you answered A: Hey! Us too! Let’s be friends! Also, you will want to stick with the 1.4L turbo, as the diesel engine is not available with a manual.

If you answered B: You are in luck! Both engine types come with automatics so you don’t have to fuss about with pesky clutch bite-points and the like.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel2014 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel & 2014 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ. Click image to enlarge

Who works on your car?
A: The dealer of course
B: Me
C: My father-/mother-in-law, who I love dearly
D: My father-/mother-in-law, because he/she has to control everything

If you answered A: You’ll probably not be too concerned with how easy it is to work on the car, but servicing costs might concern you. The good news is costs shouldn’t be too dissimilar, but the Cruze Diesel will need urea added to the particulate filter system every 15,000 km or so. It’s about $100 every time.

If you answered B: You will appreciate the extra engine-bay room afforded by the 1.4L Turbo engine. It’s tiny, so working space is reminiscent of the good ol’ days when engine bays were air-filled caverns.

If you answered C: See answer B.

If you answered D: Get the 2.0L diesel. The more cramped engine bay will provide plenty of entertaining moments as your irritating, interfering in-law smashes their knuckles, fiddles in tight confines and pops up regularly to reminisce about the good ol’ days, when engine bays were air-filled caverns. That’ll learn ‘em!

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