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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I have been a forum lurker for a while now, reading up on these cars and associated problems/owner testaments.

These days, I commute over 80 miles a day and have owned a 1996 Camry LE since the showroom floor. Well, with 382,000 miles on her, she's burnt a valve and it's time to let her go. It's been a fantastic car - probably the best car I have ever owned.

I'm in the market for a fuel-efficient commuter car. I have been looking for about 2 weeks now and limping around in a 3-cylinder Camry for the time being. I have driven the Toyota Prius and it's absolutely the worst car I have ever driven - I cannot understand how people can bear to drive such cars.

I have eliminated the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla - and narrowed my options down to the Chevy Cruze Eco (or Eco Diesel - still stuck between the two) and the Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE for their high MPG figures. I would like to check out the 2014 Accord Hybrid, but it looks like the timing won't work out for me, as I need a new car SOON and the dealers don't seem to have any in stock.

I would say I do about a 70% highway/30% city driving split. I commute from outside Chicago into the city, mostly highway on the way in, then gridlock around the city. As I tend to keep a car forever, I do not mind paying extra for whichever will get the best MPG, as I'm sure to make up the cost, but would like a car that comes in under $28,000 if possible. If there was more gridlock, I would rule out a manual transmission, but I would not mind it on this commute (my Camry was my first "grown-up" car with an automatic).

My 1996 Camry averages about 26 MPG on my day-to-day commute, and I am hoping to average somewhere in the 30s-40s to help even out the cost of a new car. I would like something that looks nice on the inside AND outside and that is somewhat pleasant to drive. Interior space or race-car performance is not really a big concern for me - my wife has a crossover that we use to cart the kids around, and I have a '66 Mustang in the garage. I would like something with adequate power to merge onto the highway and keep up with traffic.

I've driven the TCH on about a 60% city/40% highway route this weekend, and returned about 38 MPG. I also have a friend off work today that let me borrow his Cruze Eco for the commute today to test it out - he was the one that actually got me interested in the car. I have looked at the Diesel, and am very impressed with the interior on the Diesel, but have not had the chance to drive one.

For those of you that own either an Eco or a Diesel, how do you like your car and what kind of MPG do you get in a city/hwy split? How have your cars been reliability-wise?

I will come back with my impressions of the Eco after my drive home, as I spent much of the morning coming in toying and playing around with my friend's car to get to know it a little better. I have a dealer that is letting me borrow a Diesel for the day tomorrow, and I hope to make a decision on which car I will go with by tomorrow or Wednesday, as the Camry is hurting bad and running very rough at the moment.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to CruzeTalk!

From what you described, if you have $28k to spend and have lots of highway driving and want a car that lasts a long time, I would without a doubt go with the diesel. Yes, I am biased (I own one and love diesels), but the power and refinement of the diesel is excellent, and it will likely pay off for you long-term in longevity as well.

I haven't owned my diesel long enough to give you accurate mileage numbers, but lots of guys on here are easily getting better than EPA numbers both highway and city.

As far as reliability, it's probably too soon to know about the diesels as they've only been out about seven months and so far there are only about 2,500 of them on the road in the U.S., but thus far there have been no major problems with them that I know of, and a couple of guys on this forum are already up in the 20k or even 30k mileage with theirs with no issues. The engine is not new; it's been in Europe for several years already and was modified for U.S. emissions, and the transmission is a heavier duty and very reliable Aisin transmission not found in any other Cruze.

As far as the gas Eco, the 1.4L turbo engine has proven itself as quite reliable aside from some water pump and coolant smell issues which plague a lot of gas models. The water pumps have been redesigned, however, and the failed ones have been covered under the longer power-train warranty.
 
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Both Cruze models will achieve FANTASTIC MPG on the highway, but will come nowhere close to a hybrid in-town. Depending on your drive, you may be able to beat that hybrid's total average with a high highway MPG number.

Is that Eco a manual or automatic? If it's a manual, it's probably unlike most you've driven. The 1.4T can be shifted at ridiculously low RPM for a 4-cylinder - try running it under 2000 RPM and see what kinda MPG you can eek out of it.

My girlfriend has the 2.5-liter SE Camry and I have an LT Cruze. Both it and the Cruze are nice cars, but I think the Cruze is a much quieter, more refined highway driver (and the MPG is much, much better). Will it beat a hybrid on fuel efficiency? Probably not. The XLE should have a much softer suspension than the SE Camry as well, as that is one of my major complaints about the car.

I was really quite impressed with the Diesel. It isn't fast, but it has very healthy mid-range punch (passing power) and the Diesel drivers on the forum have been getting fantastic MPG from these little things.

Either Cruze is a heck of a lot more fun to drive...if you're into that sorta thing ;)
 

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I have owned a diesel Cruze longer than anyone in the US and have not had a single issue so far. You will find that once you have driven one the ease that it drives makes it a relaxing and quiet highway cruiser that makes it feel more like a V6 than a 4 yet still gives great fuel economy. Starting problems for diesels in cold weather is a thing of the past as well.
 

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If you pulled over 350k out of a 4cyl Camry, there is no question you stay on top of serviceing you vehicle.

I'm amazed you ot that many years off the Toyota in this climate.....they generally have turned to dust by now so you're doing something very right.
All that aside, if you stay with the service regimine you've been using, either the 1.4 gas or 2.0 diesel will fill the bill IMO.

It sort of does a disservice to the vehicle by using forums as a method of determining failures or weaknesses.
This because there are thousands of examples that have no problems at all......no problems, no need to find a forum and complain.
As a result, those of us that follow forums can easilily get caught up in the 'They all do that' mindset.

Anyways, like any new car, the Cruze did go through some teething pains in the beginning but I really have not picked up on any failure trending on the 13's and expect the 14's to be just as settled in if not even better.

The diesel will get very good mileage, but keep in mind fuel prices for diesel tend to be very stable......I'm sure you've noticed that diesel is averaging $.50 more per gallon than gasoline as I write this.
The price of gasoline varies widely but seldom exceeds the price of diesel over the last few years......something to consider.
Since you tend to run a car till the wheels fall off, put them back on and run it even longer, the potental reasale value will not have any real impact on you....

If you consider yourself pretty good at getting the most out of a gallon, I think the ECO, auto or stick will meet your needs.
I don't know why, but the eco auto shouldn't get much better than a 1LT but it does.
In the winter, my eco auto stays in the 35 range fairly easily and my city/highway split is the opposite of yours or worse.

In the summer, the average holds around 37/38 but steady highway around 60 mph, I have no problem seeing 45 mpg and have gotten into the low 50's with fair frequency.

As far as quiet, I contend the domestics have just run away from the imports.....especially in road noise infiltration.....this is a very quiet unibody car.

I guess it will boil down to what you enjoy driving the most....but I think the Cruze will have overall lower operating costs over its lifetime than any import.

Good luck and let us know your decision.
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm amazed you ot that many years off the Toyota in this climate.....they generally have turned to dust by now so you're doing something very right.
All that aside, if you stay with the service regimine you've been using, either the 1.4 gas or 2.0 diesel will fill the bill IMO.
I lived in Atlanta til about 2006. My wife was constantly flying back and forth between the two offices, so it made more sense to just actually move here.

The Camry and my wife's old Buick moved here with us. The last few years have been tough on the car, and it spends its life outside in the elements, but it is still not too much of an eyesore. To be honest, I'm kind of sad it didn't make it to 400 or 500,000, but it's just too much effort to replace the cylinder head in this brutal cold.

he engine is not new; it's been in Europe for several years already and was modified for U.S. emissions, and the transmission is a heavier duty and very reliable Aisin transmission not found in any other Cruze.
This is the main reason I'm interested in this car. I've researched a bit and it seems that the 2 liter diesel engine has been quite reliable overseas, and I can attest firsthand that Aisin transmissions are remarkable in their longevity.

My girlfriend has the 2.5-liter SE Camry and I have an LT Cruze. Both it and the Cruze are nice cars, but I think the Cruze is a much quieter, more refined highway driver (and the MPG is much, much better). Will it beat a hybrid on fuel efficiency? Probably not. The XLE should have a much softer suspension than the SE Camry as well, as that is one of my major complaints about the car.
Hey, I remember you! You're on TN too! Yeah, the XLE's suspension is pretty comfy, though it goes around corners with lots of body roll. Road noise is a bit pronounced, but it might be because the drivetrain is so quite (especially when the gas motor shuts off). Kinda eerie.
 

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The ECO MT's gearing is slightly odd because of the really long legs in 4, 5, and 6. Once you get used to the gearing the car is a joy to drive, even in bumper to bumper traffic. I frequently commute without ever breaking 2,000 RPM in my ECO MT. If you want the extra bells and whistles or don't want a manual, definitely go with the CDT.
 

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Hi, welcome to Cruzetalk!

Great choice for prospective cars.

While I do not own either the Eco- or Eco-D, both are fantastic choices for your commute. It really comes down to if you want a stick or not. If you want the manual, just go with the Eco. I personally am a strong advocate of buying the least expensive vehicle if overall expenses are your first concern. If you want some leather and additional power, pony up for the Eco-D. You really can't go wrong. The Eco just makes the most sense for someone who doesn't mind a stick.
 

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I have a 2011 ECO 6M. On the highway at 72 mph I have seen 48.5 mpgs. My lifetime average which included lots of 2 mile trips for the first year is 34 mpgs. This car easily exceeds its EPA ratings. No issues - I have 22,250 miles.
 

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My MPG is in my sig below for my ECO 6MT gas. If you can afford the diesel Cruze + tax title and tags as well as the diesel fill ups(remember ECO gas range is no where near ECO diesel) then I would lean that direction.


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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On my 2014 Cruze diesel, I pulled 41.9 MPG on the last tank, both highway and city. About 80% highway though. The car also has a surprising amount of power- when you hit the accelerator, there is NO lag. Its nice to have great economy and speed if you were to ever need it. Best I've gotten so far is 52.5 mpg for 2 hours, cruise control at 60 mph on flat highway. I commute an hour to and from everyday, and I forget what a gas station looks like! LOL ...old audi wasn't nearly as efficient...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, final verdict is in. I don't think the Eco is for me. I did average 38 MPG (35 on the way in) on the trip home from work, trying to shift as low as I could in the city traffic as recommended. So, a tie for the Camry there and very impressive for a non-hybrid vehicle. I typically drive 5 over the speed limits, which are 55-60 on the Interstates. I reset trip 2 while maintaining steady speed on the highway, and I did see 46 MPG from the car. That is higher than I EVER saw from the TCH.

The 1.4 is very surprisingly peppy (especially considering the size of the engine) in gears 1-2-3, but the power all goes downhill after there unless you rev each gear out a little more. The gaps between the gears are huge! I made the mistake of changing lanes to pass a slow-moving bus and nearly got run over when I floored it, downshifted to 5th, found no more power, and dropped to 4th to find still almost nothing. I understand that the transmission is optimized for fuel economy, but it seems a little TOO optimized towards that instead of drivability to me, especially considering that this engine seems to pull strong between 2500-4000 RPM in the lower gears.

That said, I love the way the Cruze drives. It's quiet, smooth on bad roads, surprisingly good in snowy conditions that weren't cleared up by this morning, and otherwise fun to drive. I may look into the LT models if the Diesel doesn't pan out. The interior is surprisingly comfortable, the controls are all laid out well, and the MyLink radio is much easier to use than the Toyota Entune system. Back seat is very small, but usually it is just my son or wife riding in the front seat of my car, and if we have to take both kids, we just take the wife's vehicle.

Picking up the Diesel on my way into work tomorrow - the salesman agreed to leave the keys with the service department that opens early.
 

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Congrats! I hope it all goes through well for you!

As good as the gas Cruze is, I'm glad to hear another diesel will be hitting the road. If mine is as reliable as my last Cruze, I plan to keep it for a long time.

Stay in touch with us here on CruzeTalk once you pick up your new car.
 

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Top end power in these cars (1.4) is simply not there, turbo kicks out at around 4200 rpm so flooring will leave u with nothing. Trifecta tuning ($315) will really help with this for such times. Now, I must also push the diesel because I am a 1.4 driver now but I test drove the TD and it is simply amazing. The brakes are bigger (be advised, go easy on brakes... MUCH easier than in 1.4 which is light as is) and stop VERY sharply without much motivation. Also, quieter smoother and it feels like I am driving a MUCH more expensive car. Don't expect "sports car" from it... but passing power is there as needed. Also, we had a member do 900 some odd miles in a tank this week. 900. Yes seriously. Test drive and you will fall in love, beware friend. Go in ready to buy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Congrats! I hope it all goes through well for you!

As good as the gas Cruze is, I'm glad to hear another diesel will be hitting the road. If mine is as reliable as my last Cruze, I plan to keep it for a long time.

Stay in touch with us here on CruzeTalk once you pick up your new car.
Hold on there, I've still yet to drive the Diesel! But I'm hoping the test drive turns out well :)
 

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The gearing was my major complaint with the Eco as well. The LT's are much closer together, passing power is pretty good even in 5th/6th, but a drop to 4th at highway speeds will get you what you need most of the time.

I too think you'll be the happiest with the Diesel though. Good luck!
 

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He knows you haven't driven it yet... he is just expressing confidence in the product. I share in this confidence... you will drive, and if you leave without signing papers I will be surprised. It is that good. Like I said there... 900 hwy miles to a tank done by a member. POSSIBLE to do such numbers yourself. We wish you luck. Either way, glad to see another member on CruzeTalk and hope you stick around after you fall in love with the TD.
 

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Well, final verdict is in. I don't think the Eco is for me. I did average 38 MPG (35 on the way in) on the trip home from work, trying to shift as low as I could in the city traffic as recommended. So, a tie for the Camry there and very impressive for a non-hybrid vehicle. I typically drive 5 over the speed limits, which are 55-60 on the Interstates. I reset trip 2 while maintaining steady speed on the highway, and I did see 46 MPG from the car. That is higher than I EVER saw from the TCH.

The 1.4 is very surprisingly peppy (especially considering the size of the engine) in gears 1-2-3, but the power all goes downhill after there unless you rev each gear out a little more. The gaps between the gears are huge! I made the mistake of changing lanes to pass a slow-moving bus and nearly got run over when I floored it, downshifted to 5th, found no more power, and dropped to 4th to find still almost nothing. I understand that the transmission is optimized for fuel economy, but it seems a little TOO optimized towards that instead of drivability to me, especially considering that this engine seems to pull strong between 2500-4000 RPM in the lower gears.

That said, I love the way the Cruze drives. It's quiet, smooth on bad roads, surprisingly good in snowy conditions that weren't cleared up by this morning, and otherwise fun to drive. I may look into the LT models if the Diesel doesn't pan out. The interior is surprisingly comfortable, the controls are all laid out well, and the MyLink radio is much easier to use than the Toyota Entune system. Back seat is very small, but usually it is just my son or wife riding in the front seat of my car, and if we have to take both kids, we just take the wife's vehicle.

Picking up the Diesel on my way into work tomorrow - the salesman agreed to leave the keys with the service department that opens early.
You have to rev match it into 3rd just right above 4k & let the needle fall just as you let out clutch for a quick seemless pass. 3rd gear doesn't fuel cut on the eco till about 93ish mph. If you haven't passed the car before that point, abandon the overtake.

You should enjoy overboost on the CTD and notice the sound deadening over the Eco. If you go Auto LT since stick is a hit or miss option you will also notice a difrence in how the diesel shifts over the 1.4 equipt autos.
 

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It's important to remember that you won't get the best fuel economy from a brand new car still in break-in mode and in a car that you're new to driving. As you and the car break in, mileage will improve. My first tank is still the worst to date and was 4 mpg less than my usual tank from that time of year.
 
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