The Chevrolet Cruze has everything you need in a family car. It has a reasonable amount of space, comfy seats, a sorted ride, an automatic option if you want it and the other bells and whistles you’ve come to expect in all cars these days. Some buy it just for the looks- the imposing front end that looks a bit Transformer-ish and that expansive grille that boldly announces American. Others buy it as a safer and cheaper alternative to the VAGs. But there is no forgetting the fact that the Cruze, with its 150bhp diesel power house under the boonet, has a sporting saloon hidden somewhere underneath. You have to look beyond Chevrolet’s springling of fairy dust to find that. Or you can take it to TDi racing.
This Chevrolet Cruze is TDi racing’s personal car and is a prime example for how simple mods go a long way in making a car, more appealing. There is a set of deep dish multispoke dull chrome finish alloy wheels and that completes the exterior of this car. The interiors are left as they are from the factory. Even the engine is untouched, except for its ECU, that came out to date with a computer on a table several times, till they perfected the Remap.
We don’t know the correction factor they have used, but if you’re to believe the Red Rooster’s Dyno charts, you’d be surprised to find out what potential the VCDI engine holds unutilized in its ECU. TDi people has only remapped the ECU of the Cruze but the power output measures a staggering 223bhp and 552N-m. That’s a big jump from the stock 150bhp and 327Nm. In fact, the torque figures are now in the premium SUVand supercar territory. On a standard car, the peak power used to delivered at 4000rpm, but according to the dyno, it now arrives at a relatively lower 3247rpm.
What didn’t get us as impressed was that the performance gain wasn’t as substantial when we tested it. It was clocking 0-100kmph in a rather consistent 8.24 seconds – a magic figure that showed up twice in our Racelogic testing gear. Still this is a 1.3second shaved off the 9.56seconds we recorded during one of our early roadtests. Much more commendable than that was the standing quarter mile which was completed in 14.98 seconds. That puts it remarkably close to BMW 530d territory, despite being a not so drag friendly FWD.
On the road, the remapped Cruze feels blisteringly fast, especially when the turbo kicks in. The lag persists as in the standard car, but once you get past, the power delivery is just insane. It feels much more mental than a standard car, and in everyday driving, it is that feeling of relentless power than makes a difference. 120-160kmph is where the motor shows its real guts. To contain all that power and to stop it better, TDi has also resorted to an in-house development – a set of slotted rotors. Magically, they work well without fade and give a consistent pedal feel, despite the Cruze stopping from high two digit speeds, many a times during our drive.
With the remap and brakes, and suspension upgrade underway, the TDi Cruze makes a very compelling case. We can’t wait for the day when they upgrade the turbo and the internals.
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