What is it?
This is Chevrolet’s handsome and well equipped Cruze saloon, a worthy and well engineered ‘value’ car underpinned by GM’s latest Delta 2 platform.
The Cruze has already been thoroughly tested by Autocar in petrol-engined form, but we drive it here for the first time with a diesel engine.
What’s it like?
When we tested the petrol Cruze, we had an inkling there was really rather a good car struggling to get out. This 2.0-litre diesel version is almost it.
In either guise the Cruze rides and handles well, but with the motor swapped for an oil-burner you get a genuinely impressive motorway and distance tool that even has a hint of character to its performance – a trait notably lacking from the petrol version.
It’s unobtrusively smooth and quiet once up to speed, and 70-90mph thrust in fourth and fifth is particularly strong. Lower down the rev scale the motor shows its lack of refinement, however. Catch it off guard with too few revs showing and you’ll be starved of thrust for 1000rpm until the turbo builds up boost again.
Economy and emissions are about on par for a car of this size, with a claimed 50.4mpg combined and 149g/km of CO2.
In top-of-the-range LT spec, as here, the Cruze is impressively well equipped for its £15,195 price tag. Only the £750 optional sat-nav fitted to our car pushed the price nearer to £16,000. Lower-spec S and LS versions are even more attractively priced.
Should I buy one?
Despite verging on being a great car, the diesel-powered Cruze still suffers two major drawbacks.
First, it’s only available as a four-door saloon when the majority of buyers would rather err towards a five-door hatch, and particularly so in this price segment.
Second, while the Chevrolet is good value, it’s not uniquely so, and it’s up against some strong and increasingly well established competition from Skoda, Hyundai and Kia.