2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Diesel (Review)

The new Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Diesel is a fuel-efficient, stylish, power packed hatchback and embodies everything a compact car should be.  In fact, the Cruze is one of the most popular vehicles GM has ever introduced and that popularity has increased with the brand new hatchback diesel, which offers more cargo hauling flexibility than the sedan and a stout diesel-powered engine that yields an impressive 50 mpg combined.

The Cruze is a combination of style, economy, efficiency, and state of the art features that set it apart from other compact sedans on the market today, offering what the consumer needs, from safety features to modern styling. It has been meticulously designed, with the hatchback offering a large cargo area, more safety, 10 standard air bags, and more miles per gallon, providing one of the best mileages of any diesel vehicle in America. The Cruze makes the most out of every dollar put in the fuel tank, but without sacrificing performance and handling. To get such amazing results, you need to have a very impressive engine, and the Cruze absolutely does.

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze comes as either a sedan or hatchback and is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 153 horsepower and 177 lb. ft. of torque.

The LT Hatchback Diesel, comes fitted with a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 137 horsepower, 240 lb-ft of torque, and can be paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine has been specially designed to make the most out of diesel fuel by getting as many miles as possible out of each gallon. The LT Hatchback Diesel yields an estimated 30 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, which is better than its gas powered counterpart.

The sedan is available in four trim levels- L, LS, LT, and Premier, while the hatchback model comes in two trims- LT and Premier and the diesel engine is only available in one trim- LT Diesel.

The base L trim comes with standard features, such as- air-conditioning, a rearview camera, 6-speed manual transmission, 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, remote locking/unlocking, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 6-way manually adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, smart phone app integration, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, a 4-speaker sound system, USB port, 4G LTE connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot, MyLink infotainment system, and a 7-inch touchscreen.

Similarly equipped as the base model, the LS trim comes with all of the standard aforementioned features, but adds a front center armrest, carpeted floor mats, and can be equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a variety of options.  The LT trim adds heated mirrors, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted phone and audio controls, a 6-speaker sound system with satellite radio, better headlights with LED running lights, and a rear center armrest with cup holders.

The Cruze Premier trim comes fitted with all of the aforementioned features, but adds chrome exterior accents, 17-inch wheels, an upgraded rear suspension, illuminated vanity mirrors, and ambient interior lighting.

There are also a variety of packages available for the upper trims, such as the Convenience Package for the LT, which adds key-less ignition/entry, heated front seats, an 8-way power driver seat, and remote engine start for models equipped with an automatic transmission. A Leather Package adds a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable front passenger seat, and leather upholstery. A Driver Confidence Package can be added to the LT and Premier trims, which offers rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a Driver Confidence II Package can be added solely to the Premier trim and offers forward collision warning, automatic high-beam headlight control, and lane departure warning and intervention.

An RS Appearance Package is available for the LT and Premier trims and adds fog lights, a sport body kit, rear spoiler, and 18-inch wheels for the Premier trim. A Sun and Sound Package adds ambient interior lighting, a sunroof, a color driver information center, a bigger 8-inch touchscreen display, and a 9-speaker Bose sound system.

The Driver Confidence, Sun and Sound package, offered only on the LT Diesel with the automatic transmission, combines features of both the Sun and Sound package with the Driver Confidence Package and an Enhanced Convenience Package is available for the Premier trim adding automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, a 110-volt power outlet, wireless device charging, and heated rear seats.

The exterior design of the Cruze gives the appearance of a more expensive car with its beveled hood,  taut curves, and sharp angles. Centered by the strong, attention-getting Chevrolet grille, its swept-back lamps guide the eye across its sculpted fenders, around the sides, and back again.

Most definitely, the Cruze leaves a lasting impression with its bold exterior design, but it is important to remember that those curves, lines, and angles do so much more than just please the eye and turn heads. They actually improve the aerodynamics of the Cruze, which optimizes efficiency and helps get the most out of every drop of fuel.

Interior features of the Cruze Hatchback Diesel are very nice with comfortable seats, upscale features, advanced technology, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and an attractive interface that is easy to understand and operate. Also, one of my favorite features is the 4G LTE internet connectivity and a Wi-Fi hotspot with a subscription. It is so helpful to have internet access on the go and it is a rare feature that is unavailable in many vehicles by other manufacturers.

On the road, the Cruze Hatchback Diesel is a strong performer and is designed for fuel efficiency without compromising performance and accelerates with authority. The 9-speed automatic transmission is smooth and quickly changes gears efficiently. The vehicle handles tight corners and curvy roadways with ease and provides a unique driving experience that just might surprise you. It definitely surprised me!

Diesel powered vehicles may not be the most popular choice today, but the new Chevy Cruze Hatchback is a solid car with a clean diesel engine and offers more of everything you need and ought to have, such as fuel efficiency, safety, features, advanced technology, and styling. It has a starting MSRP of $26,310 for the manual or $26,740 with the 9-speed automatic, but with all of its high end features, it is definitely well worth the price.

To find out more about the 2018 Chevy Cruze Hatchback Diesel, please visit- www.chevrolet.com

Bringing The Toyota Mirai’s Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Technology to Schools in an Exciting Way

Toyota invited me, as well as several science teachers to a special training class at their headquarters in Torrance, California to learn Horizon Education’s methods to teaching and instructing new hydrogen fuel-cell technology to their high school students.

Since Toyota’s successful introduction of the Mirai Hydrogen Fuel-Cell 4-door Sedan in 2015, there has been much excitement and acceptance of the new vehicle and innovative technology. The positive reception has made Toyota look at growing Technology, Science, Mathematics, and Engineering education, also known as STEM, in schools within Southern California.








The teaching session was thorough, fun, interactive, and informative, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.

A wonderful breakfast and lunch was provided while the teachers learned all about how they could teach their students about the Mirai and how hydrogen fuel-cell technology works.  Also, during the training class, Mirai engine models and various parts were displayed on a table near the instructor for the participants for observation and visual learning.

The instructor, Lindsey Spalding, was very knowledgeable, articulate, understood her subject, and explained to the teachers in attendance how the engine is built, how it runs on hydrogen, and how to teach this new technology to their students in a fun, exciting, hands-on way, getting them ready for future race competition with their very own hydrogen fuel-cell powered miniature cars.








Lindsey demonstrated how the mini Mirai engines function and kits were provided to teachers to show their students how the hydrogen fuel-cell engine works.

For more than two decades, Toyota has been fully committed to the advancement of fuel cell technology with worldwide research and development. The Mirai is the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle Toyota has ever produced and is fueled by hydrogen. Yoshikazu Tanaka, who is Toyota’s chief engineer, was the overseer and business manager of the Mirai project at Toyota.








I found the training session to be very interesting, informative, educational, and I believe that high school students will enjoy learning about the Mirai, engine, and fuel-cell technology with their teachers instructing them, demonstrating, and giving hands-on assignments, class discussions, and engine models to work with. The students will be able to design their own mini cars, sculpt the exterior, and build the chassis. It is a wonderful subject for students to learn how the Mirai operates using hydrogen as fuel. Also, by learning how the Mirai runs and operates, they may want to own and drive one in the future.








The special Toyota after-school program has a fun and exciting conclusion for all participating students at the Los Angeles Convention Center between March 30th-April 2nd 2017 when they will have the opportunity to compete and race their custom, hand built mini Mirai Vehicles in front of a large audience.