2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Hydra-matic Coasting
December 24, 2010
Coasting sounds so great.
It makes you think of coasting down a long hill on a bicycle that first time when you were a kid. All that speed, even while you were saving up energy for the next uphill. Coasting is wonderful.
Except in our 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ. It wants to coast all the time to save energy, only it's getting in the way of our pedaling.
It's easy to understand Chevy's obsession with minimizing even the slightest bit of frictional losses here, since not only is there an impact on the frequency of your personal visits to the gas station but also an impact on the overall fuel economy of the entire fleet of Chevrolet vehicles. That is to say, since the Chevy Cruze gets really good (and boring) mpg, the Chevy Corvette can get really bad (and fun) mpg.
The trouble is, the torque convertor of the Cruze's Hydra-matic 6T40 seems have been tuned by Chevy to slip into the coasting mode every time you let up on the gas even a fraction. And then when you get back on the throttle pedal again, there's an annoying delay before the driveline hooks up again - a delay accentuated by this turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4's need to spool up to full power. So what you get is a confusing surge through the powertrain in commute traffic as you alternately ease into the gas and then lift off.
Sure, I like coasting, but driving the Chevy Cruze in traffic is like trying to pedal your bike with way too much slack in the chain.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com