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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, I’m in the market for a used Gen 1 Cruze. I drive around 50,000 miles a year so gas mileage and reliability are a must for me. For those reasons I would prefer a manual transmission. What year/engine do you recommend? Any timing chain/belt issues with the Gen 1’s? I am open to the diesel model if they are indeed worth the upfront investment. Thanks!
 

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From what I see on this site, there can be many advantages to having the manual diesel. I am not sure what year is the best though.

The 2014 and possibly the 2015 is/are the best year(s) for a 1.4 Turbo. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The flip side is, it all depends on the vehicle itself. If you get a bad one, you'll think they are all bad, but it is not so. Statistically is how you need to look for one though - sorry for the ramble.
 

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Everything was pretty well sorted by ‘14. So I’d say no older than that. After that there was a full production run of ‘15 and a partial of ‘16.

As for the diesel, it was only ‘14 and ‘15. Driving diesel is an easily acquired taste. But the emissions system can be finicky. So it’s not for the lighthearted. Especially without GMPP. I’d compare it to the early days of amateur radio or even the internet over acoustic telephone modems. They’re great for hobbiests and tinkerers. Not so much for people who don’t know - and don’t want to know.
 
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From what I see on this site, there can be many advantages to having the manual diesel. I am not sure what year is the best though.
But I thought OP only wanted a Gen1 chassis?
 

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I would go with a 2012 - 2014 ECO Manual or a 2015 CDT (diesel, only automatic).
 

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gas mileage and reliability are a must for me. For those reasons I would prefer a manual transmission.
I suspect the auto trans are more reliable. And I don't think there's much difference in gas mileage.
 

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I suspect the auto trans are more reliable. And I don't think there's much difference in gas mileage.
Eco MT gets quite a bit better hwy mileage than most of the Gen 1 Autos. Probably a combo of gearing, aero, and the MT engine tuning being a bit different. Knock off about 2-4 MPG highway for a LT MT, and another ~2 off that for an auto. Reliability...yeah, the MT's have had issues, mostly in earlier years though. 15-16 got the upgraded GMPP clutch and flywheel which is the weak spot (and 5-6 bearings whining), so that would be my choice for a manual.

If you pick one up, change the transmission fluid and fill it to 2.5 qts. Should help keep that 5-6 bearing from going bad if it isn't already.

Gen 2, it's a wash in MPG between transmissions.
 
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