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2018 Chevrolet Cruze TD Hatchback First Test
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By: MotorTrend On: 01-01-2018 Model(s): Diesel is now synonymous with dirty, thanks to Dieselgate, and as a result, oil burners lost favor in the mainstream. 2018 Chevrolet Cruze
Author Experience: Expert review

Diesel is now synonymous with dirty, thanks to Dieselgate, and as a result, oil burners lost favor in the mainstream. General Motors, however, thinks there’s still a future for the diesel engine and wants to prove that it’s not as bad as we think it is. Enter the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze TD, a vehicle GM hopes will help dispel the stigma on oil burners and become an alternative to gas-powered econoboxes and hybrids.

Under the hood of the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze TD is a 1.6-liter turbodiesel I-4 good for 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission that GM co-developed with Ford. At the track, the diesel-powered Cruze sprinted to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 16.5 seconds at 83.3 mph, putting it on par with the gas-powered model and the rest of the compact class in straight-line speed. Road test editor Chris Walton noted that with all of its torque available at 1,500 rpm, it can easily spin its front tires with the traction control off. Walton also noted that the nine-speed automatic shifts so quickly and smoothly that you can’t even feel it shifting through around six gears on the acceleration run.

When it comes to braking, the 2018 Cruze TD stopped from 60 mph in 116 feet, which is short for the class. Walton also noted that the brake pedal was firm and had a short travel and that braking performance was consistent. The 2018 Cruze TD finished the figure eight in 26.9 seconds with a 0.64 g average. On the skidpad the car generated an average of 0.86 g. Testing director and figure-eight guru Kim Reynolds noted that at its limit, the Cruze TD has a lot of understeer and that even with the electronic nannies off, they’re not fully disabled. Reynolds liked that the car was predictable and that it didn’t torque steer you into corners.

Once we were done at the track, we took the 2018 Cruze out on the road to see how it performs as a daily commuter on the streets of Los Angeles. One of the Cruze’s standout features is its comfortable ride. The suspension does a great job isolating the cabin from potholes and bumps found across Los Angeles’ less than perfect roads. With the optional 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the RS package on the diesel hatchback and the gas-powered Premier trims, the car does get unsettled over large imperfections. Like the Cruze Premier, the Cruze TD with the RS package comes with a Watt’s linkage rear suspension (Z-link in GM speak), which helps it ride better than variants with the more common torsion beam.

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