This is a loaded question. “Should you buy a Cruze?” would be easier to answer but the combination of the body-style and powertrain seriously complicates the response. Chevrolet’s Cruze has proven to be a popular nameplate for the company however it’s never resurrected the Cobalt or Cavalier’s level of success. Blame the competition.
The addition of the hatchback and a diesel engine option, unique in the segment, broaden the car’s appeal on paper but the reality is that Cruze buyers are not likely to spend $30k on their car. As tested, my diesel hatchback LT with RS package retails for $32,480, which is a tremendous amount of money. It also happens to be the best Cruze I’ve ever driven.
So where does that leave us? Let’s look at the pros and cons:
Why you should buy a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback diesel:
- The 6L ECOTEC turbo diesel 4-cylinder engine is torque-rich and responsive
- The 9-speed automatic transmission is ideally geared and smooth
- Fuel economy is incredible
- The Cruze hatchback is gorgeous, especially in Crush orange like my tester
- The ride is comfortable and surefooted – almost luxury car-like
Why you should not buy a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback diesel:
- If you want the diesel option, be prepared to spend 50% more (!!) than the base Cruze sedan price, or $8,000. With the hatchback, the difference is of just over $4,000.
- This is a hefty price to pay for a 0.5-0.8L/100km improvement in fuel economy. You’ll have to drive 30,000+km a year in order to try and make it worthwhile
- Engine start/stop function cannot be deactivated. This is a crime
- This car is not designed for the sporty-driver in mind. There are no paddle shifters or drive modes
If you want a diesel powertrain in your compact car, Chevy’s picked up where VW’s left off so there are no other options. About diesel, although I love the performance and fuel savings, the time for the technology was three or four years ago. The point here is to not bother spending the money on the ECOTEC turbo diesel engine.
The Cruze itself is a great car, especially in hatchback form. Its boot is massively larger than the new Corolla HB’s. In fact, it’s one of the most capacious in its segment. The petrol-powered 1.4-litre turbocharged is plenty powerful and frugal for the application.