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Old 10th October 2014, 10:28   #1
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Default frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Arranged Marriage:
It's not every day that one gets married. You meet people, you judge them. You ask people around. You take opinions. You decide on the One. You stay with that person for life. Life may or may not be a compromise.

Buying a car:
It's not every day that one buys a car. Buying a car, be it Brand New or used, requires a good 4 to 6 months of procrastination. Poring over Team-Bhp and Gearheads and other automotive forums, literally burning the midnight oil till the eyes start drying up and the matchsticks used to prop the eyelids stop helping. Months and months of reading articles, forums and taking test-drives makes one quite sure about which car to buy. Then come the discussions with family and friends. Dejection, disappointment and rejection if your favourite car isn't really appreciated by them.


The Extra Marital Affair:
Now THIS is a sticky matter! You fell in love once. Now you realize that you're in love again. But not with the same person. You now dream about another person all the time. You stay with your wife but your mind wanders to the other person. You need to exercise good control on your self and your conscience prevents you from meandering.


Story of my life.


Let's get a few things straight here. I am married. And it's a LOVE marriage. A very happy one at that! Before your mind starts drifting and drawing conclusions, let me clear the air here. I AM NOT HAVING AN AFFAIR!

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  • Drove her for exactly a year and 26000 kms. Liked her (note, the word LOVE is not being used)
  • Great fuel efficiency, good pickup, decent air-conditioning and quite a looker.
  • But when the honeymoon was over, the car rattled like typical Marutis (and all wives after the honeymoon period is over), the NVH levels and ride quality went down by a few notches and 100 km per hour seemed like 140. Marutis age very poorly over the first 2 years. After that, the no. of rattles and sounds increase so much that they are finally ignored by their owners over the remaining years (akin to married couples). Hence they sell so well!

It was 4 months into owning a Swift that I decided to "cheat." A friend was buying a new car and he was looking at good examples of Chevrolet Cruzes. We met for dinner and he told me that the car he was interested in was just a couple of blocks away. He wanted me to drive this car and give him my judgement.
I was never a fan of the Cruze, purely because it was a GM product and yeah, in India, we look down at them. I was not a fan of the space inside the car even though I had never sat in one. I was also not keen on this guy getting a Cruze as his next car.
I sat in this car. Adjusted the seats and mirrors. Thumbed the power button, and a heavy, albeit accurate starter sound was accompanied by a strong vibe. The engine settled into a silent thrum without ANY vibrations or coarse, gravelly note associated with diesel engines. Hell! It was a 3 year old car and my 4 month old car vibrated much more at idle! The National engine in the Swift does seem a few generations behind when it's on the run. Rev the engine to anything over 2000 rpm and the 'dieselness' of the engine comes to the fore.
NOTHING like this with the Cruze. You can feel that the engine is running, but you can't really point out how. The ABC pedals don't vibrate. The steering doesn't give you even a semblance of a vibe, nor does the gear lever. Roll the windows down and you can hear the characteristic clatter of the engine but roll the windows back up and the eeriness of the silence baffles you! SUCH is the insulation of the car. I was impressed. HIGHLY impressed because I have never really driven an import or a really premium car. And suddenly, I was in a car that didn't have a 'Godly' price and definitely didn't require you to sell a kidney to buy one. Such refinement really makes one feel really good and gives you a fair idea of what to expect.
I switched the air conditioning on. Shifted from P to D (it was an Automatic) and gingerly eased the car out of the lane (the car isn't really wide but feels quite large and since I was driving for the first time, I wasn't used to it)
The steering felt very light. (Minus marks, if you ask me.) Anyway, driving in this crowded Bandra lane at 9 pm highlighted one very important trait of the car.
Stopping, starting, stopping again. Somehow in those 3 minutes of driving this car out of the lane, I just pictured how my Swift would have behaved in this lane. Press the relatively heavy clutch, shift to first, dial in a decent amount of throttle (L.A.G.) and release the clutch. Shift to 2nd. Then the need to stop. Press the brake and clutch to put the car in neutral to prevent the car from stalling. Release the clutch. Again, start by pressing the clutch and engaging to first and so on and so forth. Just reading what I have written right now has tired me. Imagine what 100 km of daily driving in traffic does to me! This happens on a very frequent basis and I was wondering about the wear and tear it was causing to my body on a daily basis!

AAAH, to drive around town like this! I started dreaming when I realized I wasn't really trying this car out for myself. Anyway, we were out of the lane and I kinda decided to stop dilly dallying and stepped on the gas. What happened next doesn't have words to describe itself. The "diesel" engine just didn't feel like one. OMG! This thing picks up speed like it's no one's business! The rasp from the VM Motori engine, the shove from the 320 nm of sheer, gut wrenching torque and the alacrity with which this car picks up speed HAS To be felt. I just can't describe this feeling! I had to slow down as I was doing 80 within a few seconds and I couldn't feel it until I glanced at the garish and over done instrument console. (It was at least readable, I thought!) The all-disc setup on this car reminded me of my Civic. Accurate, well servoed pedal feel and STRONG. Damn, this thing stops with the same urgency at which it picks up speed.

Anyway, took a u-turn. Repeated the same. And this time I had a silly smile plastered across my face. CONTROL! I said! You're already "married." Stop meandering!!!!!!!! This car is for a friend. NEVER look at your friend's chics. It's a rule! Got out of the car. Visibly pleased. Suspension felt pretty stiff and steering wheel lacked feel. Thought to myself, "mine's better in that aspect," and gave a nod of approval to my friend. This car was eventually turned down as there was a sense of discord between the owner and my friend.
He did manage to buy a Cruze after a couple of weeks, but it was a Manual and I never really got down to driving that car.

The drive was a short one, but I parted with a very pleasant memory and if you ask me how I fell for a Cruze, well, this drive did it. Addictive, smooth engine and lazy but workable auto transmission, comfortable and silent cabin, good air-conditioning and nice brakes. A good package overall, and quite loaded.
I got back to my own "dal-roti," and drove her home after that. For just ONE second that day, I thought, "..what if?" and went to sleep laughing at my own silly self. Only 5 out of 36 monthly installments were paid, and I was thinking of something that cost almost double of my brand-new Maruti Swift ZDi. Baah! I thought. And went to sleep.


Fast-forward to August 2014. Exactly a year after driving my Swift. The insurance was going to lapse in a few days. Bought the Best Zero-Depreciation plan possible for her. By now, the mind had already been corrupted. The forbidden fruit had already been bitten into. The poison had spread. In fact, the effect of the venom now started showing as the Swift had suddenly started sounding coarse. The National engine started making it's presence felt by the day, and once pliant suspension started becoming stiff. The interiors that used to be quiet once, started proving their 'rattlesnake' reputation. Suddenly, the car started feeling small. The lack of boot space wasn't really a concern a few days ago, but suddenly, even THAT started pinching! Why did I buy 2 Hatches in one month (another one was an Estilo CNG for mom)?? That, and a good year at work prompted me to fight the largest battle possible.
To break it to the wife and folks at home that we need a bigger car.

Wife was always supportive, and technically this would be our second car together after the Swift (we got married last year) so she did seem excited and backed my madness after confirming whether I had the finances to make the jump.
Dad was the next victim and he too, being a petrolhead, shook his head reluctantly and said, "I don't support this, but it's your car and your call."
Mom was the last, but she was the toughest to convince. She agreed at first, but in typical 'mom' style, she dropped subtle hints at strategic times, saying it's always good to save for a rainy day.

Folks and wife sorted, I now was in a quandary as to what to buy.

The menu card was on the table.
  • It had to be a diesel.
  • And it had to be an automatic.
  • Oh ya, and it had to be a Sedan (yea right, as if we have a choice of diesel hatches in India!)

Looked at the options. The only guy fitting my initial budget was the Tata Zest XMA (AMT Diesel) and I was keen on test-driving it. Imagine the horror on Dad's face when he heard what I was keen on replacing our new warhorse with!!!! He would have shrieked if he was mom

He again said that I was being too hasty and should get a grip on myself. I did.
And then the next day, I ran to the Tata showroom and asked for a Zest AMT to test.

Disappointment! No AMT for a TD. But I did manage to drive a Diesel XT Manual and I came home impressed. The ride was good, the steering weighed up well. The national engine, again was the weakling and the two Zests I drove (One diesel and one revotron) had different steering rack sounds. I let better sense prevail and came home, albeit impressed. The first desirable Tata after the Sierra, if you asked me!

Looked at the next Auto diesels available in India. There was (in order of increasing prices)
The Verna SX (O) Auto Diesel
The Elantra SX (O) Auto Diesel
The Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Auto Diesel
The Laura L&K/ Elegance Auto Diesel (old stock)
The New Octavia Elegance Auto Diesel
The New Superb Elegance Auto Diesel

Nothing else was appealing enough. Everything else was struck off my list because of some reason or the other.
Read about the impending Rapid and Vento DSG launches, but somehow spending 13 lakhs on a Polo with a boot (which, for starters didn't ever impress me much) didn't appeal to me.
The Audi A3 came to mind once. So did the Merc A Class and BMW 1-Series. Didn't think much, since owning one might have been a squeeze but maintaining one would be a catastrophe for my finances.

Slowly struck each car off that list.

1. Verna: 4 speed auto and 14 lakhs on road
2. Elantra: No TD vehicle and wallowy suspension. Too much money again for a Hyundai. Held least value as compared to the Hyundai siblings.
3. Cruze: HORRENDOUS resale value. A few years past it's prime. In equipment and in dynamics. Tremendously overpriced in brand new guise
4. Skoda Brothers: Long waiting periods. Scary prices of 23-30 lakhs (we like to buy the top models of all cars.) for the two and a very bad sales reputation. Imagine a 30 lakh rupee lemon!!!!
Also, the Octavia Diesel didn't come with a multi-link suspension as the Petrol Octavia.
All these, topped by their "mechotronics" and "DSG" nightmares decided that I close the chapter on them.

Of honourary mention are the Pajero Automatic (which doesn't exist due to a lackadaisical and laggard Mitsubishi in India) and Fortuner Automatic (poor VFM and bumpy ride). Worth mentioning was the fact that the Scorpio Automatic was the cheapest Auto Diesel in India after the Zest. Thankfully, it was discontinued before I went to Mahindra and asked for one. If the new Scorpio S10 would have been available in Auto guise, I'd be penning a Scorpio Auto thread right now!

SO now, everything was off the list!!! I was lost. Confused. Felt like the old Indian adage. Dog of washerman, not of home not of Dhobighaat!

But sometimes, old habits die hard and ye' ole love comes back and hits you hard! The car that I was cheating on my Swift with since 8 months (in my mind, you dirty guys!) was now available for mouth watering prices. (USED, of course) Chevrolets are known to lose a lot of money once they come out from the showroom and I was aware of that fact. Only that I couldn't get myself to buy a used Diesel car. Diesels are known to be used as workhorses and run for miles and miles.
  • Who knows what the earlier owner would have subjected the car to?
  • What if he hadn't followed running-in procedures?
  • What if he hadn't idled the turbo before and after starting her up?
  • What if servicing was not done at the A.S.S.?
  • What if the Turbo was not in good shape?
  • What if the suspension was abused?
  • What if the owner had not used proper fuel and filled up at bad bunks?

Thought. Thought hard. Thought harder!
Then I said, screw it! If a good car comes, she's mine. If it doesn't, then I'll wait (very eagerly, though!)

In the meanwhile, I lost my grandmother and things stalled when suddenly, at her place after all the ceremonies, I happened to mutter the words Cruze and Automatic to my cousin. His eyes lit up immediately. He said the magic words.

Single owner. Owned by his boss (a very prominent stock broker)
Done 33000 km.
Serviced at A.S.S.
Mint condition
Total of all digits in the registration plate: 9
Pearl White
2010 model


That's it!!!! Before I took a test-drive of the car, I was sure she would be the one! To buy a good used car is good luck, but to buy it from a known person at the right time in the right condition is called LUCK.

Drove 40 kms to see her. Took me 3 and a half hours in PEAK Andheri traffic. I told my wife these EXACT words, "if today, something is wrong with THIS car, I am going to sob like a woman!"

Reached and saw her. Quite a few dings and dents. Hardly mint, I sniggered! But anyway, the proof of a pudding is in it's taste. I got into the car and started her up. So far, so good.

Eased her out of the driveway, and there, I knew it was too good to be true! The steering was wobbling at idle speeds like a bobbing head.
Mentioned this to the owner and he said a tire change will do the job. Checked the tires, and they were actually past their wear indicators!
Other than that, the car needed a little love under the bonnet, fluids and all that. A little body work here and there.
Everything else was near perfect. Checked everything without looking suspicious and decided to leave with trembling feet. I had 'spoken for' her without asking anyone at home or even offering Dad a test-drive.
I was going to get delivery after the inauspicious 'Shraadh' period of Hindus got over. 10 days for that! And the wait began...

In the mean time, I told Dad the car sucked and planned a parallel 'kaand.' I was going to buy this car without his knowledge and surprise him! He's a self-made man and has worked his ass off in all these years, trying to give us everything we have asked for, and more. This time, it was HIS turn!

Planned everything in conjunction with my accountant. Did and redid the math!
I was going to get new tires, new fluids and a new set of horns. The Swift HID headlights and HID fogs were a direct fit so I got them removed.
The audio system on the Swift was quite a good one so new damping, a new subwoofer enclosure (for my Morel Ultimo SC) and a new dash-kit with a steering control interface would suffice for now.

The math turned out so favourable, that I am about to make one the outrageous statements that I am known for. THE CRUZE, IN IT'S USED FORM, IS THE MOST VALUE FOR MONEY PROPOSITION IN THE CAR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW! YES, THAT'S INCLUSIVE OF BRAND NEW AND USED CARS!!!!!
I have made a similar statement for my Civic.. It WAS the MOST VALUE FOR MONEY car when I bought it. Move over, Civic, the depreciating DISASTER that is the Cruze is here.

Let me explain.
How much does a Cruze Auto LTZ cost when brand new? 19.5 lakhs?
How much does a 3 year old sparingly used Cruze Auto LTZ cost when used? 40% of that? Add another 10% for service and replacement of worn parts, and there, you are staring at an almost infallible, indestructible workhorse that can soldier on for miles (American units for added drama. AND, also because she's American by lineage. Actually, Korean. I'd say shut up!)

This is the BEST tool for you if you need to do daily highway runs in style, with power on tap, added convenience of an automatic, and the safety of a modern, well built, ABS and Airbag equipped sedan!

Just imagine, guys. 150 bhp and 330 nm of torque for 8.75 lakh rupees??? Add a Race Dynamics Dual Channel performance box for 26000 rupees (which I will get to, in the next post) and there, you have 200 bhp and 400 nm of torque for 9 lakh rupees!!!!

Math time:
Rs. 900000 / 200
Rs. 4500 per BHP.


How much does a supposedly VFM Tata Nano LX with 36 bhp cost? Rs. 270000?

Math time again:
Rs. 270000 / 36
Rs. 7500 per BHP


And any Nano I heard off, doesn't have Airbags, or ABS or Climate Control or Leather Seats. Sunroof?? Yeah baby, that's on board too!!!

Sorry for all the shouting. BUT HOW DOES ONE KEEP QUIET with this much VALUE?! I know, this is the WORST comparison one could ever make. Comparing a Nano with the Cruze! But just see what you get for what you pay per BHP and the BHPian in you (get the drift?) (pun intended: twice over) will see what I am getting at!!!


WHY is it called a Locomotive??? Read on to find out......

Last edited by frankmehta : 13th October 2014 at 14:44.
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Old 13th October 2014, 18:56   #2
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Some photos:

The car is in a majestic shade of Pearl Diamond White. It's very rewarding when polished well. When dusty or dirty, the car looks just milky white.
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frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140928_173720-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140928_173748-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140928_173801-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140928_173808-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140928_173821_hdr-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140928_180251-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140928_173828-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20141001_183213-hdtv-1080.jpg  

frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20141001_183229_hdr-hdtv-1080.jpg  

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Old 16th October 2014, 10:24   #3
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Default A Brief Review

I have driven her for around 1000 km since we got the car last fortnight.

Before that, a list of modifications carried out:
1. Goodyear Assurance 205/60R16 (stock size) tires.
2. Race Dynamics Dual Channel Dieseltronic Performance ECU
3. Packy Poda Black Mats (no more 3D or 4D for me.) The rubber of these mats needs to be felt to be believed!
4. Connects2 Kit for the Cruze with a Sony XAV-712BT head unit, Hertz Energy series components upfront, Focal 165CA1 coaxials at the rear, Morel Ultimo SC Sub-woofer in a custom made fibre glass enclosure in the boot alongwith Hertz and Clarion amplifiers. Damping was done for all 4 doors and they have become very heavy now.

List of Work carried out on the car after taking delivery:
1. Engine oil changed to Castrol Magnatec Diesel (6.2 litres)
2. GM Oil Filter
3. GM Air Filter
4. GM Fuel Filter
5. Dot 4 brake oil after brake bleeding
6. Alignment and Balancing of the wheels and tires.
7. Some paint touch-ups and painting of 2 or 3 panels.
8. Right side rear view mirror was having trouble opening up. Replaced the motor with a GM motor.
9. EGR valve cleaning

List of work pending:
1. The stock horn is crap. Needs to be replaced by Hella red grilles and Bosch relay.
2. Spare key needs to be reprogrammed as it's giving problems
3. Philips HID kit (from the Swift) needs to be installed in place of the current headlight bulbs which are abysmal in lighting up the road.
4. P8 HID kit (from the Swift, again) needs to be installed in place of the current fog light bulbs which are so-so in lighting up the road.
5. Front windscreen requires a good buff. Swirl marks make it difficult to view oncoming traffic at night.
6. Film on rear windscreen requires to be removed by an expert without damaging the defogger.


So after all this, how DOES she drive?

If you read my opening post, I mentioned that the car has a very sporty rasp while accelerating and a very un-diesel-like engine note. That was for a very short drive. (test-drives are generally about how fast the car accelerates, how quickly she stops from a good speed and how many noises she makes on hitting bumps)

THAT was an endearing feature during the test-drive, but I never knew the kind of surprises this beauty threw at me a few days into owning and driving her around!

At low speeds, the car feels quite cumbersome to punt around, due to it's size and poor all-round visibility. The only silver lining in traffic is the ABSOLUTE absence of lag. This thing has NO lag and is as responsive as a Petrol engine in traffic. Surprising, this coming from a car whose Manual tranned cousin suffers from massive lag below 1800 rpm. Somehow the auto has JUST no lag. This is the car's redeeming feature in city traffic, and a very refreshing one at that!

The suspension is kinda stiff and noisy and small pimples on the road filter into the cabin and the suspension makes itself quite vocal. The transmission is slow-witted and gear changes do happen randomly, sometimes a bit too many shifts occur. The steering feels lifeless at anything below 60 kmph. By lifeless, I mean NO FEEL. It's light and offers no feedback. The muted, but ever present drone of the engine accelerating and decelerating make you cringe.
The car just feels out of place in the city traffic.


Take her out on the highway, and Dr. Edward Hyde turns to Dr. Henry Jekyll in a matter of seconds.
The massive size of the car starts to shrink around you, the low seating makes for a sporty, close-to-the-road feeling. I have ONLY one word to describe her. CRUISER! From day one, it seems GM engineers had had just one vision. To make her Cruze, uh, sorry cruise on the highways at silly speeds! She is born to trundle along at 100+ kmph on an open highway in 6th gear. She just loves to do that! I'll tell you why!

The suspension turns into a cushion and starts taking every damn pothole on the road in it's stride! I did the same stretch of road in the Swift daily and the car has behaved SO badly on that particular stretch, that I was flinching on driving the Cruze over that road. Believe me, I almost closed my eyes, hoping for a large thud and ready to be thrown off-course, coupled with a big jolt to my back, but the car just floated through that poorly tended-to tarmac and filtered EVERY damn thing! I was amazed!
The steering feels as if someone injects life into it at 60 kmph and weighs up amazingly. The feeling of grip and the tightness of the steering make you feel like you are clawing at the road, sticking to it like a leech. Or maybe like she's on rails! The word LOCOMOTIVE comes to mind!
Taking corners with it at 100+ kmph still feels cumbersome, owing to the large wheelbase, but the car does behave itself within acceptable limits of physics.
The transmission is very well behaved and shifts are very very smooth. I mean, the only thing that one can make out is the drop in RPM. No jerks, no vibration, no whine! A testimonial to the fact that the car is MEANT for the highway is how the transmission upshifts to 6th gear at anything over 100 kmph and the engine lazily trudges along at a very quiet and stress free 1150 rpm!!!!!!!!!! DAMN! I used to do 2000 rpm at 100 kmph in the Swift and the car was quite noisy and 100 kmph felt like, well, 100 kmph.
In the Cruze, 100 feels like 60. Honestly, I can't run out of praises for how well she behaves herself at speed. I have fallen in love with my car for this reason, and my daily highway runs of around 40 km a day make this car absolute BLISS. My wife is thinking of taking me to a shrink because of the frequent applause and evil laughter exhibited by me every time the oodles of torque and massive engine makes it's clout felt. It's just SO addictive. A feeling that just can't be explained in a review. Again, LOCOMOTIVE!!! Damn!

The pick-up from a standstill is always a sight to behold. I was in my Estilo, following my wife, the other day, and the way she took off from the signal, smoking the tires in first and second, and disappeared from my sight within seconds was a sight to behold. Goose bumps. EVERY single time!! I was keen on showing the car off to Dad when we just got the car. The shove from the engine, even at standstill, is enough to push you back into your seats. The alacrity and alarming pace at which the car picks up speed is so fierce, that it scared both of us. 0-100 in P2 mode of the Race Dynamics Box (more on that, later) is surely a sub 10 second affair. And this makes it the faster car I have ever owned. By quite a few seconds!

The brakes deserve special mention too! I have experienced an all-disc setup in my Civic and even the Civic bled speeds quite well. But this bugger is HEAVY and accelerates to good speeds in a few seconds, so stopping this behemoth is a big task. Full marks to the all-disc setup for giving me massive confidence while driving on the highway and in the city. High speed pedal feel is better than low speed pedal feel, though, and the brakes too, feel at home, stopping her from 100 kmph. Stopping on a coin is exaggeration! But yes, the car and steering wheel feel very stable while braking hard from good speeds.

Transmission is a big, lazy, American lump of beef (insert cuss word here) who takes his own sweet time to shift and also shifts whenever he wants. I have no complaints from it, but a smooth shifting DSG is way way better in comparison. My Civic shifted gears better than this car. This car takes almost a second to shift up or down, but the amount of torque in the engine masks that pretty well and is an annoyance only 3 out of 10 times when one needs to make sudden, serious progress.

The seats are great, upfront, but a little harder compound and excessive bolstering means larger framed people JUST about fit into it. To find the accurate driving position is not as easy as other cars, even though the seat is adjustable for height and steering is adjustable for rake as well as reach. And the reason for it is, well, unexplainable. Overall visibility from the driver's seat isn't great, and the front end and the boot, both are invisible. The park-assist (factory-fitted) and the rear-camera (fitted outside) go hand-in-hand in helping to reverse the massive car without dinging it or denting it or killing a child :-D Rear seats are a bit too erect and their hard compound, coupled with below par legroom and the jutting-out center console makes 3 people at the rear a tad uncomfortable. No complaints from the passengers on the suspension and the airconditioning though.

Keyless entry and go is a boon, and I am now used to having the key in my pocket all the while. The doors unlock when you tug on the handles and open without inconvenience if the key is in close proximity to the car. The boot can be opened in 2 ways, one with the button on the key and the second, more convenient option is to just go near the boot with the key in the pocket and press the electric release button above the number plate. NEAT! The engine start/stop button is a nice party-trick but I am kinda old-school in that aspect, and nothing gives me more satisfaction than the tactile crank of a key starting up the engine. Anyway, the starter button works well and does the job without erring. The convenience of never having to fumble for the key is a luxury I never thought much off, but now I have started liking it.

The HVAC system does a great job of cooling the cabin, though rear vents are missed very badly on 37 degree days in Mumbai. The volume of air coming from the AC vents is satisfactory and putting your hands near the vents numbs your hands pretty quickly, owing to the chilled draft. The Swift was a smaller car, and when my wife and me were driving alone, we would set the ACC at 23 degrees. In this car, we have to set it at 21.5 degrees. Maybe the larger area and the bigger glasshouse effect makes it very hot inside the car.

The Sunroof is always an attraction at first, but that dies down very quickly and generally, the sunroof is not operated for months and may run into mechanical issues. I make it a point to retract, open and close the sunroof once a day, religiously, so no complications arise from disuse. In this current weather, an open sunroof doesn't make any sense. The circulation mode is tempting, but the thought of a Lizard or Cockroach falling from a tree dampens that. But I will still find use of the Sunroof, or even as a Moonroof in the evenings this winter.

The stock alloys are not very attractive, but this time over, I wanted the car to look BONE-STOCK. So no up-size of wheels, or even change in thickness of tires while upgrading them.

THE PIECE DE RESISTANCE: THE Dual Channel DieselTronic box from RaceDynamics
frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold-20140929_181125-hdtv-1080.jpg
This is literally, a box of goodness!! This is the only box that has given me more pleasure than a box of chocolates!!!!!!
I had one on the Swift, but that was a Single-Channel box. The dual channel box not only controls rail pressure, but also controls turbo boost, since the Cruze has a VGT (Variable Geometry Turbo). The box comes with an RF remote, and has 4 buttons, S (stock) E (economy, not recommended), P1 Power Boost 1) and P2 (Power Boost 2. I call this HARAKIRI MODE)

Technical jargon aside, this box doesn't really increase the top speed of the car. What it does is to make the car even MORE drive-able across it's rev range. Turbo spools way earlier and the car becomes ultra responsive. It's almost impossible to keep a light foot.

It's a crime not to accelerate hard with this box installed. It's also difficult to keep this stallion unbridled as the moment you see an empty stretch of road, all you need to do is point the car and gun it. The car picks up speed like it's pants are on fire and the surroundings become a blur. This is in P2 mode. Turbo boost is only controlled in this mode in the dual-channel box.
The P1 mode makes the car responsive, but power is well-controlled, and arrives early, so up-shifts are quicker and you can have a stress-less drive in the city.
Economy and power go up by 10 % in this mode, and the most intelligent mode to be in, if you want good economy and a decent bump in performance.

Talking about economy. I am hard-pressed to get anything above 11.5-12 kmpl even with a light foot and this 2000 cc engine (I call it, "the Mountain" from The Game of Thrones) has quite a drinking problem! This, coupled with the laggard transmission, and you have a recipe for 9 kmpl in the city and around 14 kmpl on the highway. Only 1000 km done till now and an outstation trip (happening this Diwali) is going to be an indicator of how she performs in the Fuel-Efficiency aspect. Honestly, when you have a mammoth of an engine, along-with an equally heavy car, it's difficult to get great figures. This is the ONLY aspect in which my Swift trumps over this car. (16 kmpl vs 12 kmpl)


It's been less than a month since I got her. But she already ranks among one of my all-time favourite cars. I refer to her playfully as my FIRST real Muscle car and I even liken her to a modern-time Contessa.
My Cruze is a BEAST and I intend to drive her for many many miles.
Here's to my "happily ever after" car :-)

Last edited by frankmehta : 16th October 2014 at 10:52.
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Old 17th October 2014, 15:04   #4
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Note from Mod : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Initial Ownership Thread

What better than first congrats from one Cruze owner to another

Let me be the first to congratulate you for acquiring this beast and also for using so many adjectives thats quite apt for this car

Iam experiencing this car from 60,000kms ( completed this service just yesterday and it feels like iam driving a brand new car that I took from the showroom 4 years ago) and not once has it failed in any aspect and performed like a true diesel sports sedan under 20 Lakhs

However, I would recommend you to change stock tyres to experience its true potential and I feel that numb steering feel will go away as I have driven my car entirely on expensive rubber and not that crappy JK tyres and trust me, its a different feel altogether and a car like Cruze deserves better rubber

I have driven many cars under 20 lakhs and liked almost none when compared to Cruze in terms of performance ( Another car that I like is Polo GT TSI)

Have been consistently getting 11.50kmpl in city and maximum is 13-14kmpl on highway. Dont even expect even a km higher than this FE

Enjoy and Drive Safe !!

Last edited by mobike008 : 17th October 2014 at 16:39. Reason: corrected some grammer as wrote the post in haste...
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Old 17th October 2014, 16:43   #5
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Frankmehta has given me a jealous rage

But congrats on the new car, I sat once in a AT cruze on the express highway and it was ballistic to say the least. Plus you have the RD Box attached. Have safe and happy miles with this American Asian.
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Old 17th October 2014, 17:14   #6
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Owner's Pride Neighbours Envy!!!

Have been following your CNG kit fitment which inspired me to fit it in my Swift. I liked the manner in which you described the rattling of the Swift(which is absolutely true)

I guess I'll have to take a leaf out of your post and get inspired again. Supre Value for Money or rather Value for Bhp!!!! kudos.
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Old 17th October 2014, 17:43   #7
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Congrats on the Cruze, it's a true-blue diesel rocket.

I completely agree that the Cruze represents huge value in the used car market. It really is hilariously cheap. I thought about going with the Cruze when I was evaluating cars this year, and only passed up on the Cruze because I felt it had aged too much vis-a-vis the competition.

I remember a friend of mine saying his Cruze Auto gave him no more than 8 KMPL in Mumbai city traffic and when I told him that's terrible, he just shrugged and said what else can you expect of a 2 liter monster putting out 150 horses? He had a fair point, so just forget about mileage. Don't get caught up with it, this is not a car you drive out to be at the pump.

It really goes like a bat out of hell from what I remember of it, but I do wonder why you went for a RD Box instead of a remap. Any particular reason for that?

Congrats again, how you fall in love every time you press that starter button. Enjoy.
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Old 17th October 2014, 18:24   #8
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Congrats on the car doc.

Your review certainly reeks of enthusiasm, and is a very biased review. I am giving it a five stars

At the end of the day, love for the car matters a lot more than anything.

I am going to ask you to think about a few points:

1.
Quote:
Transmission is a big, lazy, American lump of beef (insert cuss word here) who takes his own sweet time to shift and also shifts whenever he wants. I have no complaints from it, but a smooth shifting DSG is way way better in comparison.
I am assuming that you are new to the automatics. One of the reasons why your cruze has a perceived 'zero lag' is due to this very transmission. If this car was equipped with a DSG, you would have worded your review very differently. Torque converter transmissions are the best suited for Indian traffic.

2. The RD box:
- I am into engine remaps, so I am a bit biased, but I would persuade you to really think about remaps in the future. Cruze is best suited for a remap.

I would like to add more, but I love the cruze as well, so I am stopping right here for the moment.

Congrats on the car and wish you many happy and peaceful miles!

Thanks,
Simple_car
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Old 18th October 2014, 12:43   #9
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

It's such a beautifully written report - truly passionate and you can put your feelings into words!!

The downside of such reports are that you just feel like owning one!

Congrats on the car and wish you miles of happy and safe motoring!
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Old 18th October 2014, 12:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iliketurtles View Post
Congrats on the Cruze, it's a true-blue diesel rocket.

I completely agree that the Cruze represents huge value in the used car market. It really is hilariously cheap. I thought about going with the Cruze when I was evaluating cars this year, and only passed up on the Cruze because I felt it had aged too much vis-a-vis the competition.

I remember a friend of mine saying his Cruze Auto gave him no more than 8 KMPL in Mumbai city traffic and when I told him that's terrible, he just shrugged and said what else can you expect of a 2 liter monster putting out 150 horses? He had a fair point, so just forget about mileage. Don't get caught up with it, this is not a car you drive out to be at the pump.

It really goes like a bat out of hell from what I remember of it, but I do wonder why you went for a RD Box instead of a remap. Any particular reason for that?

Congrats again, how you fall in love every time you press that starter button. Enjoy.

I am not sure if it was me.. But mine being 166ps I don't get more than 8 in city .. And as you mentioned rightly who cares for mileage in mumbai or any city in this car when you just keep loving the car every time you press the pedal little harder to feel the power and thrust .

Congratulations for being owner of the beast... And looking forward for more detailed experiences from you .
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Old 18th October 2014, 14:01   #11
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Only a diamond can cut a diamond.Once you own and drive a car like a Civic it's difficult to go back to segment down (read hatchback) if it's going to be the primary vehicle.I am glad you got the Cruze, it my second fav next to the Civic and i think it's a cool car and wonder why it doesn't do the nos it should be doing. Overpriced maybe.

Anyways congrats on your car. Wish you happy miles on same.
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Old 18th October 2014, 14:14   #12
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Dear Frank,
You just seem to find, in fact search for reasons to change your car. I always loved the Cruze for its looks. Fantastic purchase.

Remember those old days when you installed a CAR PC in your Fiesta for the need of a pure audio experience ?

But your standard seems to have fallen these days, I am disappointed to see the crude tuning box instead of a remap.

Nonetheless, enjoy your drive and keep this thread updated. I like reading your threads.

Drive Safe !!
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Old 18th October 2014, 15:29   #13
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Congrats Frank for the wonderful choice of car. I can definitely relate to all the adjectives that you have added. Highways are the home for Cruze and it always brings a smile to your face when you start crunching miles on the highway with super ease.

Could you provide some more details on the head unit that you have installed? The installation procedure and the changes required to set it up.

Wishing you a safe drive for years to come!
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Old 18th October 2014, 15:47   #14
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Default re: frankmehtaŽ acquires a Locomotive: Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Automatic. EDIT: Now sold

Congrats Frank. Great acquisition. Chevrolet cars are strong & sturdy ( owned an optra earlier). Wish you many happy miles with the beast

Last edited by Pashin : 18th October 2014 at 15:48.
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Old 18th October 2014, 21:38   #15
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Congrats from a fellow co-owner for acquiring a gem of a machine. Hope you have a long trouble free ownership.
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