2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel vs. 2013 VW Jetta TDI

For the Love of Fuel Economy...

2
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel vs. 2013 VW Jetta TDI

No longer is the Volkswagen Jetta the only compact sedan in town with a diesel engine. Finally a rival is here in the form of the Chevrolet Cruze Eco Clean Diesel. Neither one is a clear runaway winner; so here’s the nitty gritty about which one is a better buy.

The Weigh-In

Jetta vs Cruze2When it comes to power, the diesel engine in the Cruze makes 151 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of twist and isn’t even the peak as an overboost function allows the diesel engine in the Cruze to put out 280 lb-ft for up to 10 seconds. By comparison the VW Jetta TDI’s motor is down 11 hp and 28 lb-ft. So far, so good for the Chevy.

But the story quickly flips around when it comes to transmissions and fuel economy. The VW Jetta’s quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission feels sporty, but abrupt shifts during slower driving leave it feeling unrefined. It’s still better than the lazy-feeling torque converter automatic in the Cruze Diesel, and helps the car get 30 mpg in the city, 42 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg combined according to official estimates. The Cruze Diesel is rated at 27 mpg in the city and 46 on the highway for a combined 33.

 

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

 

Those looking for a lower price of entry to the diesel club will prefer the Jetta. Starting at $23,850 after delivery, our fully-loaded “Premium” model with navigation and a dual-clutch transmission comes to almost $28,000. On the other hand, diesel Cruze starts just under $26,000 and climbs to about $29,000 when generously equipped.

Chalk the drastic difference in base pricing up to Volkswagen offering its base model with a manual transmission. Few drivers are likely to take the stick, but it’s nice to know it’s available.

Cruze6You’ve probably noticed that both cars are more expensive then the gasoline versions. Diesel engines use a much higher compression ratio than gasoline vehicles. Consequently, manufacturers are forced to use heavier, more expensive components. Those costs are ultimately passed on to whoever buys the car.

Over time, fuel savings can marginalize and even surpass the difference, but it’s a question of how long you’re planning to keep the car. More miles – theoretically – means more money saved.

With that in mind, we planned a route split evenly between city and highway speeds to test the real-world fuel consumption of both cars.

Highway To Hel(ping Save Fuel)

Jetta vs Cruze5

Like the Cruze Eco, the diesel model features the same active grille shutters, trunk-lid spoiler and aerodynamic underbody panels for improved aerodynamics. The Cruze also can also come with blind spot monitoring and a rear-view camera for easier parking.

The Jetta skips aero tricks and extra safety gear. While blind spot monitoring is nice to have, the Jetta turned out to be the winner here with 47 mpg on the highway compared to 39 in the Cruze.

Jetta7There’s very little to complain about with the cabin quality in either car. The diesel Cruze is only offered in the second-highest trim level within its model range to include leather upholstery and heated front seats. Chevrolet’s MyLink touch screen radio is also standard on all diesel models.

Side-by-side, the Jetta ends up looking plain and conservative. Its cabin manages to hide hard plastic pieces. There isn’t as much equipment in the standard features column, but that ends up lending the cabin a clean look and feel. Especially considering the Cruze comes with real leather, the Jetta’s leatherette seats are a bit of a letdown.

Around-Town Efficiency

Jetta5

Hitting the city route, it’s clear that the Cruze has a few more features in mind for urban drivers. The rear-view camera, parking sensors and cross-traffic alert system are all helpful for parking in tight spaces.

Compare Specs

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
vs
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Vehicle 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Advantage 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Engine 2.0L Turbo Diesel - 2.0L Turbo Diesel
Power 140-hp Cruze 151-hp
Torque 236 lbs-ft Cruze 264 lbs-ft
Transmission 6-Speed Dual Clutch Jetta TDI 6 Speed Auto
Fuel Economy 30 MPG City / 42 MPG Highway - 27 MPG City/ 46 MPG Highway
As Tested Fuel Economy 40.5 MPG Jetta TDI 37.5 MPG
Rear Seat Head Room 37.1 in Cruze 37.9 in
Rear Seat Leg Room 38.1 in Jetta TDI 35.4 in
Trunk Space 15.5 cu-ft. Jetta TDI 13.3 cu-ft.
Starting Price $23,850 Jetta TDI $24,885
As Tested Price $27,850 Jetta TDI $29,230

Meanwhile, stop-and-go driving highlights the Jetta’s weaknesses. The transmission is rough in slower moving traffic and the steering also feels too heavy at slower speeds.

Cruze2Without a doubt, the Cruze is more comfortable in the city and the extra power and torque help it stay in the flow of traffic better. The downside is that it makes more noise than the Jetta. The Chevys low-rolling resistance tires also squealed and chirped often.

Around town, Chevrolet came up the winner with 36 mpg compared to 33 in the Jetta. On average, the Jetta came out ahead with an average 39 mpg to the Cruze with 35.

The Verdict

Jetta vs Cruze1

Choosing the best car here isn’t easy, since it all depends on what kind of driver you are. Those looking at buying a diesel car are likely more concerned with fuel economy and saving money. For that driver, the Jetta is the unbeatable since it’s available at a cheaper price than the Cruze and returns better fuel economy.

However, the Cruze Diesel is a valiant effort by the General since it pairs good fuel economy with high-end, useful features. Take your pick and it’s hard to be upset at the results.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

2013 Volksagen Jetta TDI

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked