Three years after the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan was launched as a 2011 model, it gains a new model with a diesel engine for 2014--although there appears to be some confusion over just what that variant is called.

The turbodiesel sedan was launched at the Chicago Auto Show last Thursday. Absent one badge on the trunk and few trim details, it looks just like any other Cruze four-door compact sedan.

The confusion over the name stems from differences among various GM sources.

The press release provided to journalist calls the car the "Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel," though presentation slides at the launch event and the trunk badge showed it as "Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 TD."

In questioning after the press event, marketing director Christi Landy told reporters the new model would actually be called the "Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 Turbodiesel."

Whatever the name, discussions with Chevrolet executives after the unveiling brought a few more details of the diesel Cruze to light:

  • The trim level of the Cruze diesel is roughly equivalent to the mid-level 2LT package
  • It also uses several of the aerodynamic modifications developed for the Cruze Eco, including active grille shutters and smooth undertray panels
  • The 4.5-gallon tank for Diesel Emission Fluid (DEF, or urea liquid) is located at the bottom of the trunk
  • Cruze diesel buyers receive two years' worth of free maintenance, including refills of the urea liquid every 10,000 miles when the engine oil is changed
  • The car will start to ramp down its performance when it calculates there is only enough DEF for 400 miles, just as GM's commercial DuraMax diesel trucks do
  • Chevrolet clearly sees the diesel Cruze competing for the same set of buyers as the Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • But it also feels that current owners of GM trucks with DuraMax engines may want a diesel Cruze as well--an audience VW has little direct access to
  • GM has tested the diesel Cruze down to -40 degrees C (-40 degrees F), but proper operation at that temperature requires an accessory block heater
  • While the diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze will be built in Lordstown, Ohio, its engine is imported from a plant in Kaiserslautern, Germay
  • The last diesel passenger car produced by Chevrolet was the 1986 Chevette subcompact

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, 2013 Chicago Auto Show

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, 2013 Chicago Auto Show

Based on the diesel Cruze sold for several years in Europe, the 2014 Cruze is fitted with a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine producting 148 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque.

The only transmission option at launch will be a six-speed automatic, though Chevy officials said they would "assess demand" to see if a manual gearbox was something requested by a significant number of buyers.

Chevrolet estimated highway fuel economy at 42 mpg, but refused to discuss potential city ratings, saying the car was still in the certification process.

It's worth noting that diesel cars often deliver better real-world fuel economy than their EPA ratings.

Compared to the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the only other mass-market diesel-engined compact sedan, the Cruze diesel has a quicker acceleration from 0 to 60 mph of 8.6 seconds, Chevy says.

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel (whatever it's supposed to be called) will arrive at Chevy dealers in "early summer," which we presume means around June.


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