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2014 Chevrolet Cruze Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze was new.


Performance: 8.1

The automotive press agrees that the 2014 Cruze delivers a comfortable ride and secure handling. Though they say the base four-cylinder engine feels a bit weak, they’re impressed with the turbocharged gas and diesel four-cylinder engines, saying that they deliver plenty of power. 

  • "Points in the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze's favor include a lineup of solid-performing, high-efficiency four-cylinder engines, a sophisticated ride and handling balance, and the car's sharp, non-gimmicky design inside and out." -- Edmunds
  • "While most compact cars have no problem shuffling short distances, offering similar levels of ease on long commutes can be another matter. Here the Cruze lives up to its name with impressive smoothness." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On the road, the Cruze really scores over its competition in two areas: refinement and ride quality." -- Car and Driver (2011 Cruze)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2014 Chevrolet Cruze has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower. This engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission. The Cruze is also available with a 1.4-liter, 138-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is paired with either transmission. Although the turbo four has the same horsepower output as the base engine, it makes 23 more pound-feet of torque. New for 2014 is a 2.0-liter turbo diesel four-cylinder engine, which is combined with a different six-speed automatic than other Cruze models. The base Cruze gets up to 25/36 mpg city/highway. Cruze models with the turbocharged engine get up to 26/38 mpg, and Cruze Eco models get up to 28/42 mpg. The new diesel Cruze gets 27/46 mpg, which is very good for a compact car. 

Test drivers note that the base 2014 Cruze feels a little underpowered when accelerating from a stop, but has adequate power in most driving situations. Turbocharged non-diesel Cruze models are praised for their potent acceleration and torque, though reviewers note that there is a bit of turbo lag from a stop. Critics are impressed with the new diesel Cruze, saying it has plenty of power for a compact car. They also like the diesel’s automatic transmission, saying it shifts quickly when more power is needed.

  • "The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze sedan's 4-cylinder turbocharged engine not only delivers ample torque for a relatively fun driving experience, it's also quiet and fuel-efficient. Drivers who enjoy shifting for themselves will appreciate the Cruze's light and easy-to-use manual transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The more potent Cruze diesel model is an intriguing choice and a win-win proposition, as it offers both good fuel economy and satisfyingly brisk acceleration by compact-sedan standards. As with most turbocharged engines, there's a moment of pause when you hit the throttle from a standstill, but then the sedan gathers speed quickly. The Cruze diesel uses a different six-speed automatic transmission from other Cruzes, and we've found it more responsive in highway passing situations." -- Edmunds
  • "Gasoline-engine Cruzes are far from the quickest compacts, owing mostly to lackluster-for-the-class horsepower and torque. They are adequate in most situations, and turbocharged models are reasonably confident for highway passing and merging." -- Consumer Guide
  • "I also find the powertrain surprisingly strong for a wee 1.4-liter four-cylinder. Thanks go to the turbo, which really punches up the power, even if it comes with a little lag. There's also some delay in engine decel on throttle lift--not continued acceleration or anything out of control, mind you, just a tendency to wind down a little slower from high revs." -- AutoWeek (2011 Cruze Eco)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say that the Chevrolet Cruze has poised handling. Some think the steering is a little vague, while others think it’s precise.

  • "The Cruze's steering is a bit numb in the corners but nicely weighted." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze deftly combines responsive handling with a comfortable, compliant ride. The sport suspension on the 2LT, LTZ and Diesel models is firmer but still provides an agreeable ride." -- Edmunds
  • "Not quite sporty, but Cruze handles with confidence. Steering feel is accurate and natural, which is impressive given how the system is electrically, rather than mechanically, operated." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The steering is direct and confident." -- The New York Times (2011)

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