General Motors knows more than a few things about diesels, despite the fact that when it comes to passenger cars, there hasn’t been one available from the automaker in the U.S. since 1986. But that’s about to change in a rather significant way.
Last week at the Chicago Auto Show, Cristi Landy, marketing director of Chevrolet Small Cars, announced the 2014 diesel-powered Chevy Cruze. About it, Landy stated, “The Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel will be the only domestic diesel passenger car available in the United States. And as the name implies, the Cruze Clean Diesel Automatic is the cleanest operating diesel engine ever produced by General Motors.
“We expect it to compete head-to-head with the German diesels, particularly the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. In fact, we expect to beat the Jetta in terms of highway fuel economy, price, features, range, even horsepower and torque.
“While we are still testing, the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel Automatic's fuel economy is expected to be 42 mpg Highway with segment leading range. As diesel drivers know, “range and mpg are often better than any label estimate.
“We estimate it will deliver a segment-leading 148 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.”
But wait, there’s more: “To make the Cruze Diesel even more fun to drive, we've incorporated a unique overboost feature. It enables the maximum turbo boost pressure to increase for about 10 seconds – temporarily increasing the torque to around 280 lb.-ft. for an added burst of acceleration.”
It is worth noting that while you can get a diesel in GM pickups, there is significant passenger car diesel experience: “In the past year, GM has sold more than half a million diesel-powered cars around the world– including more than 33,000 Cruzes,” said Landy, who added, “Approximately 40% of all Cruze models have a diesel engine in Europe.”
And soon it will be coming to select markets in the U.S.
The day that Landy made that announcement, Josh Tavel, Vehicle Performance Manager for Chevrolet Small Cars, found himself in the studio of “Autoline After Hours,” fielding questions from host John McElroy, Peter DeLorenzo of Autoextremist.com, and your autofieldblogger.
And wait, there’s more: prior to Tavel’s appearance on the set, the others talk about a range of auto industry topics, ranging from the Super Bowl ads to the lack-luster performance of a certain small turbocharged engine not built by General Motors.
You can see it all right now: