When Chevrolet engineers take pre-production cars to test how they handle frigid temperatures, we can end up getting tested ourselves, as well as the cars, by these harsh environments.
Spurred on by a travel bucket list, and a Groupon for one of the items on that list, I loaded up a Cruze Diesel development car, and headed north. My destination? Quebec City’s Hôtel de Glace, one of only a few hotels in the world made completely out of ice. Despite frigid Canadian January temperatures in the single digits and whiteout conditions, the Cruze handled the trip up from Detroit without as much as a hiccup.
A key part to the Cruze Diesel’s winter worthiness is the namesake engine. The 2.0L turbocharged clean diesel engine’s 264 lb.ft. of low-end torque lets it motor through just about any snow bank — provided the front airdam has clearance — while also giving the car enough grunt to overtake traffic on the drive up to Quebec City.
I was impressed by the car’s capability in the snowy conditions. Driving through the hills of Montreal and Quebec City in a blizzard, the car performed the way I needed it to, even with its low rolling resistance tires.
Luckily, after spending a night with nothing but a sleeping bag, fur blanket, and wood slats keeping me separated from the block of ice I was sleeping on, the Cruze Diesel fired up on the first crank. And the 12V PTC heater, made to heat the passenger compartment as quickly as possible, helped defrost me within minutes. So off I went, back to the warmth of my own bed.
Tessa Baughman has been working for GM for seven years, and is currently the energy and powertrain integration engineer for the Cruze Diesel. Before that, she worked on the Cruze’s manual transmission, and mass reduction in the Malibu.