2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel EPA-Rated at 46-mpg Highway
Chevrolet has announced that the new-for-2014 Cruze diesel will get an EPA-estimated 46 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in the city. With its 2.0-liter turbo-diesel making 148 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, the diesel joins the base 1.8-liter four and the optional 1.4-liter turbo four already available in the Cruze powertrain lineup. The addition of the diesel is the news; how its fuel economy stacks up against its siblings and the competition, however, is another matter.
Getting 46 mpg on the highway is a laudable achievement for the diesel; the automatic-equipped Cruze Eco gets 39 mpg and the Eco with the six-speed manual gets 42 mpg. Drill a little deeper, though, and the comparisons become less favorable: the diesel improves on the automatic Eco’s city rating of 26 by only 1 mpg, while the manual betters the diesel’s city rating by 1 mpg.
Then there is the matter of dollars and cents. At $25,695, the Cruze diesel is $4010 more than the Cruze Eco with an automatic and $5205 more than the manual. And with diesel fuel currently costing about 40 cents more per gallon than regular unleaded, it’s going to take owners a whole lot of highway driving to recoup the extra cost of the diesel-engine option.
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Chevy wants you to pay no attention to that Cruze Eco behind the curtain, and would instead like you to consider the Volkswagen Jetta TDI as the bow-tie diesel’s real competition. The Jetta costs about $700 less than the compression-ignition Cruze, but the Chevy comes with more standard features, including MyLink infotainment, larger 17-inch aluminum wheels, leather seats, and a two-year maintenance plan. Chevrolet also offers a powertrain warranty that is the same in years (five) but better in miles (100,000 versus the VW’s 60,000). On the fuel-economy front, the Jetta gets ratings of 30/42; that puts the Cruze up by 4 mpg on the highway but down 3 mpg in the city.
The Cruze diesel will go on sale this spring in “high-indexing diesel cities” such as Baltimore and Milwaukee. Later this fall, it will be available nationwide and in Canada. While we’re always glad to see a new choice in the world of compression ignition, we’re still not sure how Chevy’s new diesel is going to find its place in the market. With diesel sales up in 2012 by more than 25 percent according to some estimates, Chevy is hoping the Cruze can get in on some of that oil-burning action.
By Kirk Seaman