Piston Slap: Windsor Torque Begets a Lordstown Diesel?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap windsor torque begets a lordstown diesel

TTAC Commentator MacMcMacmac writes:

Good day Sajeev,

I am contemplating doing something I never thought I would… buying a GM product. A used GM! I have recently negotiated the purchase of a home which will result in me commuting roughly 30 km to work, one-way. Now, that doesn’t seem like a whole lot, considering it will be mostly highway, but it is roughly 10 times as long as my current commute. My 2009 Focus is getting shabby, and although it has proven to be exceptionally reliable, age and road salt is taking its toll on the bodywork. So in light of this, I have decided it is time to find my next vehicle.

I was positively inclined toward the Cruze as soon as it came out. When I read its diesel made not a whole lot less torque than my old 5.0 LX, I was shocked. For me, the gutlessness of four-cylinder engines is something that truly destroys the enjoyability of any vehicle afflicted with one. I guess that old 302 loping down the road spoiled me for effortless engine response, despite it being nothing special nowadays in terms of output.

I am thinking this 2.0 turbo oil burner might provide the best of both worlds at a reasonable buy-in. Do you or anyone on the board have any experience with the Cruze Diesel in terms or reliability, durability and general liveability? This would break my streak of buying five Ford products in a row. The Cruze Diesel in question is a 2014 with 80K, no rust, leather, yadda-yadda….The diesel engine premium seems to have been eaten by the first owner, as the price seems in line with gas Cruzes of the same age.

Has this engine/transmission proven reliable over the long haul?

Sajeev answers:

How funny: years ago I felt a similar connection when my 5.0 HO Fox Body Cougar sat next to my then-girlfriend’s Jetta TDI. I occasionally, fondly remember the gutsy Vee-Dub (ironically traded-in on a 2008 Focus), but I digress…

Aside from assorted complaints about Chevy dealers, I see few (if any) worrying trends regarding Diesel Cruze problems. So find your future go-to repair shop based on the expertise of their diesel technicians. Both independent shops and dealers can have good diesel techs, but you gotta do the legwork to find them.

And like all ubiquitous automotive cockroaches with aftermarket alternatives, I reckon you will save metric tons of money buying non-diesel specific Cruze parts online.

Aside from the aforementioned local diesel technician concern, I see no reason to not buy a Diesel Cruze. Matter of fact, I’m kinda thinking — since we have similar taste in vehicles — that I shoulda bought one instead of my 2011 Ranger. Nah, the Ranger’s somewhat Cruze-adjacent after doing aftermarket torque boosting and ride comfort enhancements.

So get the Cruze Diesel, unless you can’t bear to break your Ford-buying streak. What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Image: General Motors]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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2 of 40 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Nov 16, 2019

    I saw ONE Cruze with a clatter-engine in the wild, last year, that's it. Granted we are into anecdote and one data point, but my suggestion is no diesel. Now, I like them...we had two of the old, indestructable VW Diesels.....I loved my various Toyota, BMW and Renault Diesels rented on vacations...but.... Here in the US, our diesel fuel sucks. Imagine buying a Vette and having to feed it 87 octane all the time-I eventually bought a big tin of Cetane Boost from Amsoil...also, heavy trucks expect you to replace Diesel Particulate Filters, and EGR equipment. The VW (check the GM car) had it all buried between firewall and engine. Replacement was a $3500 day, at 73k miles. You just ate all your fuel savings. BMW Diesels in the US have had massive carbon fouling issues as well...a five figure trip to the dealer. The car that replaced it, a Jetta S, with a 1.4 liter turbo, gets 32 mpg vs the 39 mpg of the TDI. Other than the big torque curve, the TDI and S are pretty much equal for performance, if not soundproofing, but that is marketing. Kills me to say it, but no diesel in North America....

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 20, 2019

    Personally if I could get the Cruze diesel for below market I would because nobody is buying these esp if its a stick. But for real money I would steer clear. You won't find it will be easy to have serviced, parts could be a problem, and no one will want to buy it from you later should you need to dump it.

  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.
  • Jeff S Got to give credit to Chrysler for putting the 300 as a rear wheel drive back on the market. This will be a future classic.
  • Lou_BC How to Fix Auto Media? Stop fixating on soft touch plastics and infotainment systems. I did quite a bit of research on my ZR2. There was no mention of the complexity of putting the transfer case into neutral. (9 step process). They didn't talk about how the exhaust brake works with tow/haul mode. No mention that the exhaust brake does not work with off-road mode. Nannies only stay turned off with the lockers engaged. Only one review mentioned the tail pipe as a vulnerability.