A friend has a Gen I Cruze with the 1.4T and 6AT, and I test drove a Gen II equipped similarly. With gentle acceleration, under light throttle, the AT upshifts at low RPM. You can get up to speed keeping the engine well under 2000 rpm in both cars. My time at the wheel of each was brief, so correct me if I'm wrong. So that's what I do with my MT car. I like getting good MPG, so I accelerate at a speed the engine can accommodate at low RPM and low throttle. That's pretty slow by the standards of impatient tailgater types, often young females, who don't understand the break for the 1-2 shift and give me ugly looks. (When the engine is fully warm, I'll goose it a little bit in 1st once it reaches the torque band, to give some space. But if it's cold, I drive really gently.)
Not sure I'm doing it 'safely' given this problem. It's so quiet, muffled by chassis design and by the turbo. Also, given the throttle-by-wire, I don't have as much feel through the pedal, and I don't know what the computer is actually doing with the physical throttle. And, the turbo throws a 'wild card' into the actual, physical throttle setting.
I am going to use some tricks outlined here, unless and until we have a word from GM. Top-tier premium fuel. Best oil (maybe the Amsoil SS), fuel treatment every 10,000 (just about due for the 1st, have bought the Gumout brand stuff, haven't put it in yet), haven't decided yet if the catch can is worthwhile.
I did have two LSPI incidents that I'm aware of. Both under heavy throttle. Once at around 2000 rpm, once in the upper 2000s to the best of my recollection. Pedal matted both times. I think both were after a dealer oil change where it was overfilled about 1/2 quart and where I think they may have used the prior revision of oil. I took it back to them after a few hundred mi to correct the overfill, before being aware of the oil revision and the propensity of these engines to blow up. They drained & refilled it but didn't change the filter. I haven't noticed a problem since, but I am also driving it differently, and using premium fuel, so not sure if anything has actually changed.
I thought on modern cars that it wasn't dangerous to mat the throttle, but hearing otherwise with this. Very disappointed that I can break it by using it normally. Haven't had that feeling while I owned a 1989 Honda and a 2001 Nissan, both with manual transmissions. My parents always had GM and they almost always had to pay for early engine repairs. I liked the cars otherwise... handling and driving feel and comfort balance was a GM strong suit and is also on this car.
I must say, the only thing more expensive than using top tier premium fuel and expensive oils and driving carefully, is selling the thing early and buying a different new car. I don't feel really wealthy, but, I could afford to do this I think. Not sure what type of Toyota I'm going to get next.
Interested to know what 'Italian tune-up' techniques work for this thing. Afraid to press the throttle to the floor now, but I suppose at 3,000 and above, it's ok. Haven't felt the need to redline it, but is this a necessity once in a while?