2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Review: Sporty and Economical for This Hip Grandmom

2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Compact Sedan

Not Your Grandmom’s Car. Or Is It?

When typical grandmoms take their grandkids on a summer road trip, they usually do it in an SUV or maybe a minivan, or at least a large sedan. They don’t road trip in a compact sedan. But no one ever accused me of being a typical grandmom, so it should come as no surprise that my summer road trip with two of my grandkids was in a 2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Sedan.

We were escaping New York City for a few days in favor of some time on Lake Champlain at Vermont’s Basin Harbor Club. My grandkids, Katherine (9) and Marshall (7) were packed and ready to go when a little red hot Chevy Cruze Diesel with jet black leather interior was delivered to my apartment building. “Wow, this is cool!” exclaimed Marshall. They’re used to being in Chevys—my daughter-in-law drives a Traverse and my son drives an Equinox. But, the Chevy Cruze was all new, compact—and oh so much fun! And, yes, it was cool with a strong muscular design and a decidedly sporty feel.

Despite dieselgate, diesel is still a good deal for great MPG and tank range.

2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Compact Sedan

Yes, it is cool, isn’t it? Photo: Terri Marshall

Who This Car Is For

  • Singles or a couple who prefers a compact sedan
  • Small families with one or two young children (if a compact is your style)
  • City dwellers with limited parking options (it doesn’t take up much space!)
  • Long distance commuters looking for efficiency in a stylish compact sedan
  • Teens, the Chevy Cruze Diesel is cool, compact, economical and safe
  • “Cool” Grandmoms who prefer smaller sporty vehicles that are budget friendly
  • Anyone who wants to save money on fuel, the Cruze Diesel Sedan offers up to an EPA-estimated 52 mpg highway — the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-EV in America

What it Costs

  • Base price for this model $25,395
  • Driver Confidence Sun and Sound package $2,260
  • Leather Package (includes leather seating, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel) $1,125
  • Destination charge $875
  • Total price for the model I drove, $29,655

 Considering a hybrid? Here are our favorites.

Interior Of Chevy Cruze Diesel Compact Sedan

Grandmom’s cool cockpit in Jet Black leather. Photo: Terri Marshall

It’s Compact, But Surprisingly Roomy and Comfy

I’m not sure how they did it, but Chevrolet has managed to build a compact sedan that feels much roomier—especially in the back seats. Katherine and Marshall use booster seats to comply with state laws and even with the boosters and their continuously growing long legs, the back seat was a perfect fit. I don’t think it would be quite as comfortable for longer trips with an adult sitting in the back, but it worked just fine for the kids. And if there are no back seat passengers and you need more hauling space, the rear seat is a 60/40 split.

As for comfort, the Cruze was equipped with an eight-way power driver’s seat making it possible for this grandmom to find just the right setting. The front seats are also heated—which I didn’t need in summer, but I’m always happy to have. As for my purse, I was traveling with a tote bag this trip which I filled with easy car snacks for the kids. The best place for the tote was on the floor in front of the passenger seat for easy access—you know, for those pretzel emergencies.

What are the best snacks for road trips? Here are our picks.

2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Compact Sedan

USB Ports & WiFi Kept the Grandkids entertained. Photo: Terri Marshall

Everyone Was Entertained on the Road—and That’s Worth Its Weight in Gold

Yes, minivans and family SUVs come equipped with all types of entertainment to keep the kids happy. But even without all of that, Katherine and Marshall were fully entertained. The Cruze we drove was equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and 4G LTE OnStar WiFi connectivity. When WiFi is in the house (or car) all is right with the world. I was especially fond of the Apple CarPlay which allowed me to send and receive text messages verbally as we merrily rolled along. This made my son happy because when I take his babies far away for a few days, he likes to stay in touch.

2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Compact Sedan

Apple CarPlay kept us connected and entertained. Photo: Terri Marshall

Apple CarPlay also made it easy for me to access the music on my iPhone. While the kids were plugged into their personal iPads, I was plugged into my favorite tunes. Only once did they complain—and that was during a particularly heartbreaking Adele song. Basically they said, “Get a grip lady!”

We kept everything charged and ready with USB ports in the front and rear. The front console also included an auxiliary port.

SUV or sedan? If you can’t decide, check out the sleek new Chevy Equinox. 

2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Compact Sedan

Back-up Camera is standard in all models. Photo: Terri Marshall

Rolling With a Little Extra Confidence, Sun and Sound

The Cruze Diesel I drove was equipped with the Driver Confidence, Sun and Sound package. The Driver Confidence meant additional safety features like blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and rear park assist. The Sun Package meant a power sunroof—always a welcome feature. And the Sound Package meant a Bose Premium 9-speaker system—perfect for singalongs.

With a compact sedan, a quiet ride isn’t always a reality. But in the Cruze, there was very limited road noise making it easy for me to hear every single question my ever curious grandkids asked me. Every. Single. Question.

Diesel Makes This a Budget Friendly Vehicle

The Cruze Diesel Sedan was my first experience with a diesel powered vehicle and I liked it. I liked not stopping as often for gas which, of course, translated into spending less for fuel on our road trip. The Cruze offers up to an EPA-estimated 52 mpg highway — the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-electric vehicle in America. I just had to remember to look for stations offering diesel fuel—and that’s pretty easy.

2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Compact Sedan

This sporty little compact sedan has style! Photo: Terri Marshall

What I Loved

  • Sporty fun design and comfort in a small package
  • Roomy interior for a compact sedan
  • Apple Car-Play
  • Power sunroof
  • Comfortable leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Excellent gas mileage with an estimated 52 mpg (I averaged 48 mpg)
  • Made me seem like a really cool grandmom!

What You Should Know

  • Cruze Sedan is available in L, LS, LT and Premier models and Cruze Hatch is available in LT and Premier
  • Back-up camera is standard in all models
  • Extra Safety technology comes with the additional Driver Confidence, Sun and Sound Package priced at $2,260
  • Teen Driver feature allows parents to set controls, review driving habits and encourage safe driving habits even when they are not in the vehicle
  • Highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-electrivc vehicle in America
  • Uses diesel fuel
  • Price for model I tested was $29,655.00

Chevy Cruze Diesel Monroney Compact Sedan

Disclosure: The 2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel Sedan was provided for my test drive. All opinions are my own.

Terri Marshall grew up road-tripping around the country. Her love for the open road remains strong today. A travel... More about Terri Marshall