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Administrator, Resident Tater Salad
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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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Administrator, Resident Tater Salad
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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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Administrator, Resident Tater Salad
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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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Administrator, Resident Tater Salad
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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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