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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now this is a fun test: They loaded it with 400 lbs of books and drove it up Mine Hill Rd:

We were amazed, and then stunned by the front-wheel-drive Cruze Turbo Diesel’s flawless performance up Mine Hill Road. We kept waiting for a stutter, cough, stumble or, at least, some kind of motorized groan. But the Cruze Turbo Diesel was the little engine that could — offering not even a trace of strain up Mine Hill Road.

We loaded it with books — hauled from our eldest daughter’s apartment in New York, about 400 pounds worth of books — and made the trip up Mine Hill Road, again. Still, there were no complaints — absolutely none from the Cruze Turbo Diesel.
Their highway mpg was 44.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel: The little sedan that could - The Washington Post
 

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I bet any 1.4T automatic owners could through 400lb in the car and climb the same hill without even noticing. At highway speeds 65-80mph I never hit any hills that cause the trans to downshift and the motor does not seem to struggle what so ever.
 

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Now this is a fun test: They loaded it with 400 lbs of books and drove it up Mine Hill Rd:
Nice review. I knew that road name sounded familiar. I used to take my son over to that area for trumpet lessons.
 

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I bet any 1.4T automatic owners could through 400lb in the car and climb the same hill without even noticing. At highway speeds 65-80mph I never hit any hills that cause the trans to downshift and the motor does not seem to struggle what so ever.
I don't know the hill but I do know that while your 1.4T may climb the hill with weight in it the diesel will just drive off into the distance and wait at the top for you, they climb steep grades that well. My old V6 3.8 5 speed manual Commodore would not even come close on a hill climb, even though it would win on a flat road drag race.
 

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My ECO MT (1.4T) has zero, no, zilch (you get the idea) issues with mountains, even when loaded down. I do have to downshift, sometimes as far as 3rd gear to maintain speed going both up and down mountain passes. With the additional torque in the Diesel I would expect nothing less.
 

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My ECO MT (1.4T) has zero, no, zilch (you get the idea) issues with mountains, even when loaded down. I do have to downshift, sometimes as far as 3rd gear to maintain speed going both up and down mountain passes. With the additional torque in the Diesel I would expect nothing less.
Downshifting to third going up a hill on the highway constitutes "not liking a hill" ;). My Cruze has never met a hill where I had to drop under 5th.

Meanwhile, the diesel could pull up a small boat and not go over 2500 RPM.
 

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Downshifting to third going up a hill on the highway constitutes "not liking a hill" ;). My Cruze has never met a hill where I had to drop under 5th.

Meanwhile, the diesel could pull up a small boat and not go over 2500 RPM.
When my wife and I went to Grand Junction this past spring I had to downshift to 4th only up the steepest and highest climbs and I used 3rd coming down to avoid having to ride my brakes. When I did a waterfall drive last summer over I-70 I didn't have to drop below 5th going uphill but I still used 3rd coming down. I have yet to see a vehicle that doesn't have to downshift climbing to Vail Pass and the Eisenhower tunnels at the Continental Divide. On both those trips I averaged 47 MPG (pump measured) driving at the posted speed limits of 65 and 75 MPH. My ECO MT will accelerate up these climbs, something that the vast majority of the cars on the road simply cannot do.

I did just find the 'Mine Hill Rd" referenced in the WSJ article - impressive, but short hill. My ECO MT would make quick work of this hill. As one of the commenters to the WSJ article observed, a lot of how a car handles hills is the driver.
 

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I drove my Cruze through the Sonora Pass in California (summit 9,600') a few weeks ago and it had plenty of power all the way, and enjoying the great cornering of the LTZ.

Land vehicle Vehicle Chevrolet cruze Car Chevrolet
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Good review. Nit to pick. The photo is an LTZ, not a TD (can tell by the wheels..., though the fine print correctly indicates it is an RS).
Maybe GM needs to spam the photo services with more current pictures of the TD? I still see a lot of articles with pictures of the car from the auto shows.

My ECO MT (1.4T) has zero, no, zilch (you get the idea) issues with mountains, even when loaded down. I do have to downshift, sometimes as far as 3rd gear to maintain speed going both up and down mountain passes. With the additional torque in the Diesel I would expect nothing less.
He does describe the road as "winding" up a steep hill. This is different than a highway grade. Many drivers tend to slow down on curves. I can see how on a long up hill stretch of curves where people are slowing down and then trying to accelerate again how a car with lesser torque could fall behind and not be able to recover as easily.
 

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I drove my ECO MT up the Foothills highway to Estes Park shortly after I purchased it. Other than having to down shift to 4th the car did extremely well, even with the A/C running, to the extent that I got 715 miles on that one tank of gas. Foothills highway runs north out of Boulder to Lyons, CO, and then northwest to Estes Park in a twisty steep canyon. I guess my point is that if you know how to drive mountains, many cars, even "underpowered" cars, will do well.
 

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I guess my point is that if you know how to drive mountains, many cars, even "underpowered" cars, will do well.
It's the Cruze's flat power curve and the fact that it delivers full torque around 2000-2500 RPM that helps it get up hills so well. It does struggle to accelerate a little bit at low speeds on big hills though (35-45, unless you're revving 3000 RPM or so). The diesel will do even better without the need to rev high, and that was the Post's whole point of testing it where they did.

I had the misfortune of driving a 127 HP Chevy Tracker in the mountains - on the highway at 65 (it could barely do 70 on a flat road), and up a twisty, windy road at 25-35.

Not only did it handle like a cow; it needed to be at 4-5000 RPM to climb a hill and maintain speed...and I'm not kidding at all...the cruise control alone would do this. Piece of junk.
 

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My Pontiac Transport was like your HHC - 3.1L engine and no torque. It struggled up I-70 west of Denver but it would haul @ss on flat ground, keeping up with traffic in Georgia (95 in the right lane, 100 in the left) without breaking a sweat. My Montana was much happier in hills but realistically topped out around 95 MPH. It was geared for towing. Haven't met a hill yet that my ECO MT couldn't handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had the misfortune of driving a 127 HP Chevy Tracker in the mountains - on the highway at 65 (it could barely do 70 on a flat road), and up a twisty, windy road at 25-35.

Not only did it handle like a cow; it needed to be at 4-5000 RPM to climb a hill and maintain speed...and I'm not kidding at all...the cruise control alone would do this. Piece of junk.
Was it the 2-Door or 4-Door? I drove '96 2D Tracker for a while, it had no problem going over 80 mph, but it was winding pretty high in 3rd gear on the highway and didn't feel real connected to the road at that speed. I got the impression that the torque converter never locked up at highway speeds. It couldn't climb hills very fast but it could climb some pretty steep hills in 4wd mode. I once used it to push a big Ford 250,with a tandem rear axel, that was stuck in the snow up a steep, short hill.

It was a winter beater for me and I also experimented using high mix ratios of E-85 in it for a couple of years to see how the engine would handle it. It actually ran better in some respects using mixes of 40% ethanol or more. In particular, the PCV valve stopped blowing out with the EtOH, when I was going through PCV valves at a rate of a more than one per year on regular gas.
 

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Was it the 2-Door or 4-Door? I drove '96 2D Tracker for a while, it had no problem going over 80 mph, but it was winding pretty high in 3rd gear on the highway and didn't feel real connected to the road at that speed. I got the impression that the torque converter never locked up at highway speeds. It couldn't climb hills very fast but it could climb some pretty steep hills in 4wd mode. I once used it to push a big Ford 250,with a tandem rear axel, that was stuck in the snow up a steep, short hill.

It was a winter beater for me and I also experimented using high mix ratios of E-85 in it for a couple of years to see how the engine would handle it. It actually ran better in some respects using mixes of 40% ethanol or more. In particular, the PCV valve stopped blowing out with the EtOH, when I was going through PCV valves at a rate of a more than one per year.
4-door 2001 (new body style). It was terrifying at highway speeds - wind gusts had it wandering all over the lane.

They are supposed to be great cars off-road, but this one was 2WD and absolutely horrible in snow...and on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
4-door 2001 (new body style). It was terrifying at highway speeds - wind gusts had it wandering all over the lane.

They are supposed to be great cars off-road, but this one was 2WD and absolutely horrible in snow...and on the road.
It surprisingly held its own off-road considering what it was. It definitely made you nervous on the highway, though. Had a lot of problems with the fuel system too. I could just never quite keep it in tune and the fuel rail was always needing to be cleaned out. I had to use premium gas in it and lots of Lucas fuel cleaner or it would get gunked up and stall at idle. It was always running at high load on the highway, so it liked the premium gas anyway in that situation. It liked to run rich and I'd try lean it out and replace sensors, or whatever, and it would get rich again. I think that's why it did okay with the ethanol.
 

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I have yet to see a vehicle that doesn't have to downshift climbing to Vail Pass and the Eisenhower tunnels at the Continental Divide.
Back in the mid 1970's I drove this route - lucky me - I had a Turbo Charged car - a 1973 Pinto 4 speed manual with a T04B Air Research Turbo kit - did not have to downshift once and was blowing by big engine motorcycles on the climb. The car weighed under 2000 lbs with 225 hp - dyno verified.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Back in the mid 1970's I drove this route - lucky me - I had a Turbo Charged car - a 1973 Pinto 4 speed manual with a T04B Air Research Turbo kit - did not have to downshift once and was blowing by big engine motorcycles on the climb. The car weighed under 2000 lbs with 225 hp - dyno verified.
Neat. Turbos were kind a rare back then. They still had carbonizing problems. The supercharger was still the preferred forced induction method. They seem to have mostly solved the carbonization problems with turbos nowadays, tho.
 

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Neat. Turbos were kind a rare back then. They still had carbonizing problems.
Was running 14 psi boost with h2o injection-engine was the German Ford SOHC 2.0 litre. Always used Shell Rotella T motor oil - which was formulated for turbo and supercharged engines. It was a real sleeper.
 

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Was running 14 psi boost with h2o injection-engine was the German Ford SOHC 2.0 litre. Always used Shell Rotella T motor oil - which was formulated for turbo and supercharged engines. It was a real sleeper.
I bet - 225 HP in a car the size of a shoe? My mom's BMW 2002 is ~2100 lbs, and even with 130 HP in its current setup, it's a blast to drive.
 
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