In the U.S., diesel cars have been the sole providence of German automakers since the mid-eighties. Now General Motors looks to get back into the oil-burner biz with the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel.
The Cruze Diesel expands the lineup’s engine offerings, which currently include a 1.8-liter four-cylinder block and a turbo-charged 1.4-liter four-banger. The new Cruze will be powered by 2.0-liter turbo-diesel that generates 148 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. These are respectable figures, especially when compared to the Cruze Diesel’s lone competitor, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, which generates 140 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque with its 2.0-liter turbo-charged diesel engine.
Fuel economy figures, on the other hand, are decidedly mixed between the two. The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel gets an EPA-estimated 46 mpg highway, handily passing the Jetta TDI’s 42 mpg on the same road. VW’s offering, on the other hand, has the advantage in city travel, getting 30 mpg against the Cruze’s 27 mpg. The TDI is also a tick higher in combined driving, rated 34 mpg versus 33 mpg from Chevy’s latest offering.
In real-world driving, the differences are slight, and GM is justifiably proud. The automaker also points out that, at $25,695, the Cruze Diesel undercuts a similarly equipped Jetta TDI while offering more standard amenities like longer warranties and maintenance plan.
Says Chris Perry, Chevrolet vice president of marketing, “Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel fills an important role in Chevrolet’s diverse four-cylinder lineup, and is primed to win over diesel devotees and compact car buyers with its performance, torque and fuel economy. We leveraged engineering expertise from around the globe to develop a world-class, low-emissions engine to give U.S. and Canadian customers a car that’s both fun to drive and practical at the pump.”
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel goes on sale starting this spring in select cities. It will then roll out in dealerships nationwide and in Canada by fall. GM, interestingly, was the last domestic automaker to sell a diesel-powered car in the states. That car was the 1986 Chevy Chevette. You can view, then, the Cruze as a sorta “spiritual” heir to the long-gone subcompact.