Putting an automatic gearbox in the Cruze diesel was bound to happen. For one, the 148 bhp 2-litre diesel engine from the Captiva has abundant grunt and can well afford to lend some of it to a power-sapping torque converter. And with a diesel engine, you don’t mind losing a bit of efficiency.
With the automatic’s torque converter taking some edge off the turbo lag, cruising in the city is pretty relaxed. With this ‘box, the Cruze has lost some of the turbo kick experienced in the manual iteration.
The Cruze auto accelerates in a far more linear manner and upshifts are relatively quick. This makes progress and acceleration effortless. It’s fine if you plan to drive it in a relaxed manner, but if you’re in a hurry, it can get a bit soggy.
However, the auto box hasn’t seriously blunted the Cruze’s performance. The engine still retains its free-revving nature and the midrange is very strong. Keep your foot on it and it happily revs to the limiter without any fuss.
The strong mid- and top-end also mean it’s a good sprinter. The Cruze takes 9.95 seconds to reach 100 kph, which is not far adrift of the manual’s time. The grunt gained from the healthy output allows it to reach a top speed of 205 kph.
Chevrolet hasn’t toyed with the suspension of the manually driven car and it is on the highway that the Cruze feels its best.
Straightline stability, though not as impressive as the Cruze’s European rivals, is good and it feels stable even in excess of 150 kph.
The handling leaves a lot to be desired. A steering that is vague in the straight-ahead position and one that doesn’t weight up when you turn into corners means this car is better on expressways than hilly roads.
The stylish interiors are mostly unchanged, save for the automatic gear lever. The twin cockpit theme, the manner in which the dashboard has been clad, and the first-rate detailing all ensure that this is one of the most stylish interiors in its class.
The Cruze auto works well as a diesel luxury car with its attractive looks, strong performance, great-looking interiors and high levels of comfort. In traffic, the relaxed nature of the gearbox and the strong torque from the engine mesh well.
The six-speed gearbox, too, is good and it even has a manual mode. But the Cruze auto refuses to hurry up when you kick down and want to drop gears in a jiffy. Priced at Rs 15.9 lakh (approx), which is Rs 84,000 more than the manual variant, it’s not cheap either. Buy this if you must have an automatic.
- Autocar India