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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to the forum and considering replacing my VW TDI with a Cruze diesel. For those who have test driven the manual transmission, what did you think? Has anyone ordered or purchased one? What are your thoughts?
 

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Welcome to the forum! I have not driven the second gen manual. But I can tell you the first gen manual is one of the worst manual transmissions I've ever encountered, but it's still better than the best auto I've driven.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

I have a little over 4000 miles on mine with the manual transmission. I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for...

I've logged a lot of miles on a lot of manual transmissions, but nothing high performance or at the grand touring level. If you're expecting an experience like that of a Camaro or BMW, you're probably going to find issues with it. It's way better than the 1981 Chevette I learned on. :) It's at least as good or better than our 2009 Corolla.

I think it's easy to drive, easy to shift, and has pretty good ratios for the diesel. First seems a little low. I sometimes miss 6th and find 4th, but I've never had a 6-speed before and what it's doing makes perfect sense because I'd rather it fall into 4th for a downshift and require intent to go to 6th -- so if I'm lazy going to 6th I get 4th.

It's pretty tough to stall. I've only stalled it twice. Once when I tried to pull my driveway in second after nearly stopping and the engine noped. The other time was starting at an intersection and changing my mind about how hard I wanted to launch in the middle of doing it -- left foot got ahead of right foot when I decided I wanted to gun it.

Is there something specific you'd like to know?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Welcome to the forum.

I have a little over 4000 miles on mine with the manual transmission. I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for...

I've logged a lot of miles on a lot of manual transmissions, but nothing high performance or at the grand touring level. If you're expecting an experience like that of a Camaro or BMW, you're probably going to find issues with it. It's way better than the 1981 Chevette I learned on. :) It's at least as good or better than our 2009 Corolla.

I think it's easy to drive, easy to shift, and has pretty good ratios for the diesel. First seems a little low. I sometimes miss 6th and find 4th, but I've never had a 6-speed before and what it's doing makes perfect sense because I'd rather it fall into 4th for a downshift and require intent to go to 6th -- so if I'm lazy going to 6th I get 4th.

It's pretty tough to stall. I've only stalled it twice. Once when I tried to pull my driveway in second after nearly stopping and the engine noped. The other time was starting at an intersection and changing my mind about how hard I wanted to launch in the middle of doing it -- left foot got ahead of right foot when I decided I wanted to gun it.

Is there something specific you'd like to know?

Thanksfor the perspective. I am curious to know, Johnmo, if you ordered yours(and if so, had you test driven the manual before?) or if you bought it off thelot.

I own a '13 Jetta TDI 6spd manual right now, so I am certainly not looking for Camero performance. Just weighing my options due to the VW buyback program. What I am looking for, however, is an easy clutch and tight shifting with a solid feel. Also, from what I’ve read, sounds like 6[SUP]th[/SUP]gear is a pretty tall gear to take advantage of the diesel torque.


What are your RPMs at 60 mph, in 6[SUP]th[/SUP] gear?

Is it a pleasant progression through the gears as you increase speed? Does it “make sense”? I would also be curious to know what your feel is for the min. speed at which you can stay in 6[SUP]th[/SUP]gear (assuming you are just maintaining constant speed)

Have you calculated any fuel economy numbers? Do you have a feel for what you have been getting on the freeway?

Any other insight?

Thanks!
 

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Its funny, I think my transmission feels great. The throws are crisp and there isn't a lot of "play" in the stick. Clutch engagement is nice too.

The transmission in my brother's car is a pile of steaming hot garbage. Vague, loose, long throws. It's terrible, and the clutch engages really early in the pedal travel without much linearity.

I don't know if they made significant changes between model years (mine is '12 his is '14) or trim levels (ECO vs LT), but they feel like completely different transmissions

Welcome to the forum! I have not driven the second gen manual. But I can tell you the first gen manual is one of the worst manual transmissions I've ever encountered, but it's still better than the best auto I've driven.
 

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Thanksfor the perspective. I am curious to know, Johnmo, if you ordered yours(and if so, had you test driven the manual before?) or if you bought it off thelot.

I own a '13 Jetta TDI 6spd manual right now, so I am certainly not looking for Camero performance. Just weighing my options due to the VW buyback program. What I am looking for, however, is an easy clutch and tight shifting with a solid feel. Also, from what I’ve read, sounds like 6[SUP]th[/SUP]gear is a pretty tall gear to take advantage of the diesel torque.


What are your RPMs at 60 mph, in 6[SUP]th[/SUP] gear?

Is it a pleasant progression through the gears as you increase speed? Does it “make sense”? I would also be curious to know what your feel is for the min. speed at which you can stay in 6[SUP]th[/SUP]gear (assuming you are just maintaining constant speed)

Have you calculated any fuel economy numbers? Do you have a feel for what you have been getting on the freeway?

Any other insight?

Thanks!
Welcome, fellow VW refugee. My '09 Jetta went back to its maker March 3rd. My Jetta was my favorite car of all I've owned in 30 years or so. I only had it 4 years, but we put almost 100k miles on it in that time. I wanted a manual, but we originally got it for my wife, so it was a DSG. I really came to respect and like the DSG, but owing money on the car and concerns about upcoming maintenance and potential repairs made selling it back a good financial move IMO.

I drove both a stick and an automatic diesel Cruze. The one I bought was brought in from another dealer's lot. I didn't like the color of the manual on the dealer lot.

I think the clutch is very easy. The travel is shorter than what I was used to in my Corolla. I have an old F-150 and I hopped out of it and into the Cruze over the weekend and it was a dramatic difference because... truck. I don't think the shifter feels tight, but I don't have any problem knowing where I am with it except the aforementioned lazy shift to 6th. I'm still getting back into the swing driving a stick. My daily drivers have all been automatics for about 4 years now.

I haven't noticed the RPMs specifically @ 60 MPH, but I'll try to remember to look tomorrow. There's an upshift indicator on the dash that will put the RPMs at about 1,500 in the next gear on each shift if you follow the computer's advice. 1500 RPM seems to be near the bottom end of "happy" for each gear. It does make sense. There aren't any ridiculous gaps in the ratios. I can shift in a slow rhythm like it's a truck and each gear gets about the same duration. Punching it on an on-ramp can find you topping 60 MPH in 3rd gear and just dropping it into 6th unless you're going to accelerate on up to 80 MPH or something. The diesel torque I was used to with the VW TDI is there in the Cruze TD.

See my fuelly log in my sig for all of my economy numbers. I'm averaging around 55 MPG and have already easily gone 700 miles on a single fill-up -- something I only achieved once in the Jetta with great effort. The Cruze fuel computer shows you a current rolling average for the last 25, 50, and 450 miles and also remembers your best average for those distances. My best 25-mile average is 70 MPG, best 50 is around 65 MPG and my best 450 is about 56 MPG. If fuel economy is your thing, the Cruze is killing the Jetta.

Compared to the Jetta, I lost style (I love the MkV) and handling. The Cruze doesn't love the curves the way the Jetta did. The Cruze is competent in curves, but the tires squeal sooner. The Jetta had 17" and low profile tires and I think the 16" tires on the Cruze are probably low-resistance. If handling is important, the Cruze can probably be improved with aftermarket bits. The Cruze is better on fuel economy. It's comfortable. I picked up Android Auto/Apple Car Play and keyless ignition with the Cruze. I have to admit I'm getting a little spoiled by the keyless ignition thing. Automatic headlights are nice too. It always bugged me the Jetta didn't have those. I miss having the overhead bin for my sunglasses. The Cruze is kind of no-frills on cubbies and storage. The door pocket is huge, but awkward to reach into.

I avoided having a VW for a while because the nearest dealer is an hour away from home. There are Chevy dealers all over the place, so that's a plus for me, though I hope to see the Chevy dealer about as often or less than I saw the VW dealer. The Chevy diesel engine has been out in Europe for a few years and seems to have a good track record. The US emissions paraphernalia... not so much.

Overall I'm really happy with the Cruze so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome, fellow VW refugee. My '09 Jetta went back to its maker March 3rd. My Jetta was my favorite car of all I've owned in 30 years or so. I only had it 4 years, but we put almost 100k miles on it in that time. I wanted a manual, but we originally got it for my wife, so it was a DSG. I really came to respect and like the DSG, but owing money on the car and concerns about upcoming maintenance and potential repairs made selling it back a good financial move IMO.

I drove both a stick and an automatic diesel Cruze. The one I bought was brought in from another dealer's lot. I didn't like the color of the manual on the dealer lot.

I think the clutch is very easy. The travel is shorter than what I was used to in my Corolla. I have an old F-150 and I hopped out of it and into the Cruze over the weekend and it was a dramatic difference because... truck. I don't think the shifter feels tight, but I don't have any problem knowing where I am with it except the aforementioned lazy shift to 6th. I'm still getting back into the swing driving a stick. My daily drivers have all been automatics for about 4 years now.

I haven't noticed the RPMs specifically @ 60 MPH, but I'll try to remember to look tomorrow. There's an upshift indicator on the dash that will put the RPMs at about 1,500 in the next gear on each shift if you follow the computer's advice. 1500 RPM seems to be near the bottom end of "happy" for each gear. It does make sense. There aren't any ridiculous gaps in the ratios. I can shift in a slow rhythm like it's a truck and each gear gets about the same duration. Punching it on an on-ramp can find you topping 60 MPH in 3rd gear and just dropping it into 6th unless you're going to accelerate on up to 80 MPH or something. The diesel torque I was used to with the VW TDI is there in the Cruze TD.

See my fuelly log in my sig for all of my economy numbers. I'm averaging around 55 MPG and have already easily gone 700 miles on a single fill-up -- something I only achieved once in the Jetta with great effort. The Cruze fuel computer shows you a current rolling average for the last 25, 50, and 450 miles and also remembers your best average for those distances. My best 25-mile average is 70 MPG, best 50 is around 65 MPG and my best 450 is about 56 MPG. If fuel economy is your thing, the Cruze is killing the Jetta.

Compared to the Jetta, I lost style (I love the MkV) and handling. The Cruze doesn't love the curves the way the Jetta did. The Cruze is competent in curves, but the tires squeal sooner. The Jetta had 17" and low profile tires and I think the 16" tires on the Cruze are probably low-resistance. If handling is important, the Cruze can probably be improved with aftermarket bits. The Cruze is better on fuel economy. It's comfortable. I picked up Android Auto/Apple Car Play and keyless ignition with the Cruze. I have to admit I'm getting a little spoiled by the keyless ignition thing. Automatic headlights are nice too. It always bugged me the Jetta didn't have those. I miss having the overhead bin for my sunglasses. The Cruze is kind of no-frills on cubbies and storage. The door pocket is huge, but awkward to reach into.

I avoided having a VW for a while because the nearest dealer is an hour away from home. There are Chevy dealers all over the place, so that's a plus for me, though I hope to see the Chevy dealer about as often or less than I saw the VW dealer. The Chevy diesel engine has been out in Europe for a few years and seems to have a good track record. The US emissions paraphernalia... not so much.

Overall I'm really happy with the Cruze so far.
Great insight, thanks again! Very impressive fuel economy, as well. I would be curious to know where your RPMs are @ 60 mph, if you happen to remember to look. It will be difficult to part ways with my Jetta. It has been a great car, but like yours, it is nearing its part of its life where there will be some heavy maintenance items coming up. Makes somewhat financial sense to take advantage of the buy back. However, I will only do it if there is a viable alternative (aka diesel with manual transmission), and it seems like the Cruze is the only one. If anyone else has any insight, please feel free to share.
 

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Its funny, I think my transmission feels great. The throws are crisp and there isn't a lot of "play" in the stick. Clutch engagement is nice too.

The transmission in my brother's car is a pile of steaming hot garbage. Vague, loose, long throws. It's terrible, and the clutch engages really early in the pedal travel without much linearity.

I don't know if they made significant changes between model years (mine is '12 his is '14) or trim levels (ECO vs LT), but they feel like completely different transmissions


WARNING: I am about to rant. You don't have to read any of it, I promise you won't miss anything.

Don't get me wrong, I've adapted and grown to love the thing, but I would make so many changes if I could. I've got the non-ECO Getrag M32 MR5 6-Speed Manual in my 2014 1LT Cruze. Here's my gripes:

-When I first bought it, I suffered the 1-2 grind under hard acceleration. The factory manual trans fluid is known to be under filled from the factory and is a very cheap thin oil. The syncros cut right through the oil, and with the huge ratio gap between 1-2 it tends to lead to grinding with a quick shift. I've heard it's even worse in the ECO since the gap is bigger between first and second. I changed the trans fluid to Amsoil synchromesh and it helped a lot. I eventually learned how to shift slowly and work with the transmission.

-That brings me to the second issue, the transmission likes to fight me. I feel like I push the clutch in and apply slight pressure to shift out of gear, and I have to wait to it to want to come out on it own, otherwise I feel like I'm forcing it out against it's wishes. Then going into the next gear it likes to fight because the difference in gear ratios is so wide for 1-2-3 the synchros have to work harder to line up the shift collar. This problem isn't really helped by the rev hang. I'd like to bring 3rd a little closer to 2nd, and 2nd a lot closer to 1st.

-It's very chunky and shifts with a lot of noise from the engine bay, sound's very unrefined.

-The gap between 5th and 6th is too small, the difference is negligible. You could just as easily go from 4th to 6th all the time and never miss 5th. 5th is really only good when you're cruising at exactly 38 mph. 38 is too much for 4th and too little for 6th on slight inclines. I'd rather just have the ECO 6th and bring 5th up a little.

-Since the factory likes to under fill the transmission, if you don't change it with the proper amount, you'll likely experience bearing failure on the 5th and 6th gear shaft, since it sits higher in the transmission. It doesn't get enough oil. That's a manufacturing error though, not necessarily a fault with the trans.

-The clutch feels like sometimes it's delayed. When I shift I can take my foot off the gas and hit the clutch same time under hard acceleration, and sometimes the car lurches like I pulled my foot completely off the gas in gear and never touched the clutch. It's weird.

-The clutch has no feeling at all, it's like it's connected to the transmission through a pillow. You can't feel anything.

I realize I'm being very critical, and the transmission I just described above, if it made any sense at all, is tailored to my personal driving style. This car isn't meant to be brisk off the line then cruise with an eco gearing. This particular trim level, the 1LT was designed to get great gas mileage, but it couldn't be better than the ECO's mileage, so they made the 6th gear in the LT the same ratio as 5th gear in the ECO and adjusted all the others down a bit to accommodate the change.

I also want to point that on a scale of 1-10, 1 being: I don't notice anything it's perfect. and 10 being: It's un-live-able, I had to trade the car in the problem was so bad, these problems rate at about a 2-3. They're slightly annoying, but I've learned to live with them. Each manual has it's own personality, and the one in my car, and I don't get along very well but I'm trying to earn it's love and learn to love it back. We can co-exist no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for your thoughts. It sounds like the transmission in the last gen gasoline version is not so great, which is a bummer. But it sounds like the 2nd gen manual transmission for the diesel is meant for the diesel--6th gear is a true overdrive gear and logical progression of gears throughout.
 

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Welcome, fellow VW refugee. My '09 Jetta went back to its maker March 3rd. My Jetta was my favorite car of all I've owned in 30 years or so. I only had it 4 years, but we put almost 100k miles on it in that time. I wanted a manual, but we originally got it for my wife, so it was a DSG. I really came to respect and like the DSG, but owing money on the car and concerns about upcoming maintenance and potential repairs made selling it back a good financial move IMO.

I drove both a stick and an automatic diesel Cruze. The one I bought was brought in from another dealer's lot. I didn't like the color of the manual on the dealer lot.

I think the clutch is very easy. The travel is shorter than what I was used to in my Corolla. I have an old F-150 and I hopped out of it and into the Cruze over the weekend and it was a dramatic difference because... truck. I don't think the shifter feels tight, but I don't have any problem knowing where I am with it except the aforementioned lazy shift to 6th. I'm still getting back into the swing driving a stick. My daily drivers have all been automatics for about 4 years now.

I haven't noticed the RPMs specifically @ 60 MPH, but I'll try to remember to look tomorrow. There's an upshift indicator on the dash that will put the RPMs at about 1,500 in the next gear on each shift if you follow the computer's advice. 1500 RPM seems to be near the bottom end of "happy" for each gear. It does make sense. There aren't any ridiculous gaps in the ratios. I can shift in a slow rhythm like it's a truck and each gear gets about the same duration. Punching it on an on-ramp can find you topping 60 MPH in 3rd gear and just dropping it into 6th unless you're going to accelerate on up to 80 MPH or something. The diesel torque I was used to with the VW TDI is there in the Cruze TD.

See my fuelly log in my sig for all of my economy numbers. I'm averaging around 55 MPG and have already easily gone 700 miles on a single fill-up -- something I only achieved once in the Jetta with great effort. The Cruze fuel computer shows you a current rolling average for the last 25, 50, and 450 miles and also remembers your best average for those distances. My best 25-mile average is 70 MPG, best 50 is around 65 MPG and my best 450 is about 56 MPG. If fuel economy is your thing, the Cruze is killing the Jetta.

Compared to the Jetta, I lost style (I love the MkV) and handling. The Cruze doesn't love the curves the way the Jetta did. The Cruze is competent in curves, but the tires squeal sooner. The Jetta had 17" and low profile tires and I think the 16" tires on the Cruze are probably low-resistance. If handling is important, the Cruze can probably be improved with aftermarket bits. The Cruze is better on fuel economy. It's comfortable. I picked up Android Auto/Apple Car Play and keyless ignition with the Cruze. I have to admit I'm getting a little spoiled by the keyless ignition thing. Automatic headlights are nice too. It always bugged me the Jetta didn't have those. I miss having the overhead bin for my sunglasses. The Cruze is kind of no-frills on cubbies and storage. The door pocket is huge, but awkward to reach into.

I avoided having a VW for a while because the nearest dealer is an hour away from home. There are Chevy dealers all over the place, so that's a plus for me, though I hope to see the Chevy dealer about as often or less than I saw the VW dealer. The Chevy diesel engine has been out in Europe for a few years and seems to have a good track record. The US emissions paraphernalia... not so much.

Overall I'm really happy with the Cruze so far.
Worth noting, I had the 16" wheels stock and swapped them for 18's with ultra high performance summer tires and the handling is next level.
 

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They are more or less the same transmission - the Diesel gets a different final drive. I have only driven the Gen 2 gas, as they don't believe in diesel manuals around here. They changed the linkage on the M32 for the Gen 2, which did improve clunkiness of the gear changes pretty dramatically, but throws are still a bit long and vague. The clutch is completely numb - zero feeling, but it's predictable and easy to drive.

The clutch response can be improved - on both generations - by removing the clutch delay valve. I imagine the 1-2 shift synchro problem might not even be an issue for the diesel since you're running much lower RPM than a gas engine most of the time.

It was also common on VW TDIs, but there have been dual-mass flywheel lockup problems with the Gen 1. I hope they've redesigned the flywheel for the Gen2, but that was the major reason I went from manual -> auto with my Gen2 (that, and I felt that the Eco ratios are poorly suited to the 1.4L). As far as some of the bearing failures on the M32, make sure the fluid is filled properly (there used to be a level check plug) and change at regular intervals with a good synthetic gear oil.
 

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It turns about 1800 RPM @ 60 MPH and about 2200 RPM @ 70 MPH.

A couple of other interesting observations about the clutch. It has a feature where you can shift with the cruise control engaged. I guess you'd call that auto-resume.

I've also noticed that the computer juices the engine a little for you as you start to release the clutch. It's handy for maneuvering in 1st and reverse.
 

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It turns about 1800 RPM @ 60 MPH and about 2200 RPM @ 70 MPH.

A couple of other interesting observations about the clutch. It has a feature where you can shift with the cruise control engaged. I guess you'd call that auto-resume.

I've also noticed that the computer juices the engine a little for you as you start to release the clutch. It's handy for maneuvering in 1st and reverse.
Thank you for this insight. That's pretty neat!
 

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It turns about 1800 RPM @ 60 MPH and about 2200 RPM @ 70 MPH.

A couple of other interesting observations about the clutch. It has a feature where you can shift with the cruise control engaged. I guess you'd call that auto-resume.

I've also noticed that the computer juices the engine a little for you as you start to release the clutch. It's handy for maneuvering in 1st and reverse.
Yeah Gen 1 Cruze if you touched the clutch the CC is gone as if you tapped the brakes. In my Accord it's like as you described where you pretty much hold speed with higher revs if you downshifted.
 

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It turns about 1800 RPM @ 60 MPH and about 2200 RPM @ 70 MPH.

A couple of other interesting observations about the clutch. It has a feature where you can shift with the cruise control engaged. I guess you'd call that auto-resume.

I've also noticed that the computer juices the engine a little for you as you start to release the clutch. It's handy for maneuvering in 1st and reverse.
I'm not a fan of the ECM juicing when the clutch comes out. I can understand the admiration though for sure.
 

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I'm not a fan of the ECM juicing when the clutch comes out. I can understand the admiration though for sure.
I'm not really a fan either -- I know how to drive a stick. I first noticed it because the engine speed picked up when I released the clutch in neutral, which is a complete waste because it's guessing wrong at that point. Once you know it's there, though, it is kinda handy for low-speed maneuvering.

Forgot to mention the brake-assist thing too. I'm kind of mixed on it as well. I've had at least a couple of occasions where it didn't let go quickly enough and I was fighting it to let me move. But, if you're on a severe incline and not proficient with the clutch, it's handy. I just wish they'd put in a button to trigger it so it only engages when I want it to. I think that used to be called "the parking brake."
 

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I'm not really a fan either -- I know how to drive a stick. I first noticed it because the engine speed picked up when I released the clutch in neutral, which is a complete waste because it's guessing wrong at that point. Once you know it's there, though, it is kinda handy for low-speed maneuvering.

Forgot to mention the brake-assist thing too. I'm kind of mixed on it as well. I've had at least a couple of occasions where it didn't let go quickly enough and I was fighting it to let me move. But, if you're on a severe incline and not proficient with the clutch, it's handy. I just wish they'd put in a button to trigger it so it only engages when I want it to. I think that used to be called "the parking brake."
It's kinda helpful in stop and go traffic when you're just creeping forward over and over again. Not that you probably really need the bump with the diesel, but it was helpful with the 1.4, and I was often lazy enough to just do that and not touch the gas.

I kinda wish my Gen 1 had had the brake assist - again, because less effort.
 
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