2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Preview

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Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi turbodiesel (Europe)

Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi turbodiesel (Europe)

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Diesel passenger cars have long been the domain of German carmakers, but that will change early next year with the launch of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel four-door compact sedan.

The eagerly awaited model, the first GM (NYSE:GM) passenger-car diesel since the early 1980s, was confirmed more than a year ago by CEO Dan Akerson.

We now have a few more details of the diesel Chevy Cruze, courtesy of a chat with Jim Federico, GM's vehicle line executive for compact, small, mini and electric vehicles.

2013 launch as 2014 model

The diesel Cruze will be launched in the first half of next year, as a 2014 model. It will have a short model life, as the entire Cruze line will be redesigned and updated in 2015.

Given the engineering work required to certify the European diesel engine for sale in North America, though, the new 2015 Cruze will likely continue the diesel version, probably from launch.

Federico told us that the 2.0-liter direct-injected turbodiesel engine to be fitted to the Cruze Diesel will be equipped with the AdBlue urea emission control system, making it compliant with present and future emissions regulations.

That system injects a small amount of vaporized liquid urea and water solution into an exhaust gas aftertreatment catalyst to convert nitrous oxides into nitrogen and water.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze

2013 Chevrolet Cruze

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A similar system is used on larger diesel vehicles sold in the U.S., including diesel versions of the Audi Q7, BMW X5, and Mercedes-Benz GL Class and ML Class. So far, it's not used on Volkswagen's Golf TDI and Jetta TDI.

Federico said the urea tank will be refilled at every oil change, at intervals of 10,000 miles or perhaps longer (the company is still working on the final specifications).

No output ratings are yet available for the Federalized 2.0-liter diesel; in Europe, it's rated at 161 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque.

Lots of work on noise suppression

Federico told us that the biggest challenge for the Cruze diesel has been noise suppression.

European buyers, Federico said candidly, tolerate more engine and mechanical noise than do U.S. buyers.

With the gasoline Chevrolet Cruze being one of the quietest compacts on the road at highway speeds, the bar for noise suppression is set high for the diesel team.

How to label a diesel?

A new variant of a car that already delivers 33 mpg combined in its Cruze Eco six-speed manual version (or 31 mpg combined for the automatic version), the diesel Cruze hasn't yet been given a model name.

In Europe, it's known as the Cruze 2.0 VCDi, but somehow we suspect it'll get a different name here.

With "Eco" being Chevy's designation for the highest-mileage versions of its passenger cars, we expect Chevy to choose a diesel sub-brand--rather as Chrysler has selected "EcoDiesel" as the label for its upcoming 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel.

Chevy said in February, though, that it will be "difficult to discern" any difference on the outside between diesel and gasoline versions of the Cruze.

Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi turbodiesel (Europe)

Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 VCDi turbodiesel (Europe)

Enlarge Photo

Fuel efficiency: TBD

The crucial question, of course, is what kind of mileage the diesel Cruze will deliver in the real world. Drivers of VW Jetta TDI diesels report real-world mileage higher than EPA ratings for their cars.

If the Cruze diesel follows suit--we expect it to carry EPA fuel efficiency ratings higher than the Cruze Eco--than it's possible the car might deliver close to 40 mpg in real-world use.

Engineering of the North American diesel Cruze is being done jointly by engine designers in Pontiac, Michigan; vehicle engineers in Russelsheim, Germany; and GM diesel specialists in Torino, Italy.

All Cruze diesels will be built on the main Cruze assembly line at GM's Lordstown, Ohio.


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Comments (17)
  1. I'm anxious to hear the mpg figures on this car. One question...will the diesel engine itself be sourced from Europe, or will it actually be made in the U.S.? The reason I ask is, if they chose to make it in America, it could potentially be less expensive than sourcing from Europe due to currency disparity. It seems unless it is a diesel intended for a large pick-up, these smaller diesel engines are all European.

  2. @John: I'm almost certain that the engines will initially be imported from Europe.

    GM would likely need a volume of 100K/year or more before even considering setting up a small-diesel manufacturing line in North America, and that will take several years (if it ever happens).

    Car companies now mostly ship engines all over the world, since the economies of a scale of a single large modern engine line dwarf the shipping costs.

  3. Thank you John. Make sense I guess to source engines elsewhere until enough orders come in to warrent a factory on American soil. Be interesting to see if this car takes off, (sales wise). I've heard rumors of efficiencies in the 50 mpg range for this car. If true, that should turn some heads.

  4. I hope B20 fuel will be supported by GM in North America for the Cruze diesel.

  5. Great News! It might match Jetta's MPG rating.

    The key question is how much price Premium will the diesel option end up costing buyers... Typically, diesel option is anywhere from $3k to $8k in additional cost. $8k would a be a huge premium on a $18k Cruze. I imagine it would be more in the range of $3k. But even at that price, with higher maintainence cost AND higher fuel cost, I am NOT sure it makes economic sense over the already great 40mpg eco Cruze...

  6. Diesel sedans have been long awaited in US, and if the Cruze wants to compete with the likes of Diesel VW's, Mercedes and BMW's here and or in Europe they must incorporate a Diesel vehicle to their lineup. I would love to see the same idea applied to a Chevy Volt, like a 1.0L turbo-Diesel engine as the heat engine. Then let's go back to talk about the Volt's extended range!

  7. Turbo diesel would be a good range extender (series hybrid), but it might NOT be a good "parallel" hybrid engine. Parallel hybrid uses a lot of "stop/start" so the engine will be shut off when it is light load or no load during stop and go situation. I am NOT sure Turbo Diesel would "function" efficiently in those frequent stop/start situations...

  8. @Xiaolong: Thank you for your reply. But, it's exactly the other way around. By definition, the heat efficiency of a Diesel engine is higher than a gasoline's, and this is just because of the differences in the cycles they operate. The Diesel cycle shows advantage in the low rpm's with lots of torques available. Is no wonder garbage disposal vehicles, buses, mail delivery vehicles, etc. which make frequent stops use Diesel vehicles. It's not recommended to let a petrol vehicle idling for long; however, you can let a Diesel idling for days and in the end it works even better than at the beginning! The consumer preference of gasoline engine over Diesel was basically due to "cosmetics" issues at the beginning: smoking, oil leaking, and noise.

  9. Sure, I agree. Diesel is far more efficient at low rpm. But my point was that the current "parallel" model of hybrids during stop/go traffic depends on the ICE being off and using electric motor to propell the car. If the turbo diesel spends a lot of time idling, it is still fuel "wasted" until it powers generator. In that case, it would be "series-hybrid" not a parallel hybrid...

  10. @Xiaolong:(cont) But all of the above issues are a thing from the past. I am positive that all the demands a hybrid system in any variant will be better met by a Diesel at lower rpm's with a better and more stable torque response and with a lot better fuel consumption

  11. also, with "turbo", you certainly wouldn't want to start/stop the diesel.

    Are you saying that in a diesel hybrid, it would just idle? Most diesel hybrid that I know are "series-hybrid". The Volt is series-hybrid in low speed. If Volt uses the turbo diesel configuration, it would have to make sure it changes its SW to leave the engine on instead of turning it off during low speed creeping... Also, turbo diesel won't be clean enough to qualify for the CA's low emission requirement for the AT-PZEV HOV sticker...

  12. I wouldn’t trust the credibility of these sources because I have talked to several dealerships in central Texas and none know of a diesel cruze coming in 2014. Two of which are GM’s who just visited corporate headquarters.

  13. @Bryan: With respect, I trust the knowledge of Jim Federico--the vehicle line executive who's assigned to develop all of GM's compact, small, mini and electric vehicles--rather more than I trust a handful of Texas Chevy dealers.

    You may wish to tell those dealers that they should ask Chevy HQ more aggressively about the car.

    There *will* be a diesel Chevy Cruze for the 2014 model year, unless GM changes its mind extremely late after two-plus years of development for the North American market.

  14. cont: If I am missing something here feel free to correct me because I have been waiting for diesel to hit the US market for years.

  15. Why havent the dealerships been told of these new diesel engines. I went to several dealerships in the past month and nothing. All I hear is talk and no facts. ????

  16. I will just have to wait for 2014 Im due for a new car.

  17. The engine is quite large by European standards. With a turbo 2.0 direct injection diesel, must be considered a sports model over there. Here with the extra pounds of sound deadening, will probably drive like a Mercedes. The cost can be no more than a Jetta, so I don't think it will be too pricey. Looks like GM wants to get its toe in the water with a diesel, why they are putting into a final model year car.

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