The 2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has made its long-awaited U.S. debut. Slated to become the mainstream’s first next-gen diesel sedan to launch in this country, the diesel Cruze took the stage at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show boasting an MSRP of $25,695, an expected EPA mark of 42 mpg highway with an automatic transmission, and a new level of diesel performance tuned specifically to meet the demands of U.S. customers.

Consider: Along with its sterling fuel-efficiency and emissions performance, the engine in the 2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel also offers 148 hp—10 more than with the car’s turbocharged 1.4-liter gas engine—and a robust 258 lb.-ft. of torque—more than 100 beyond what you get in sports cars like the 2013 Scion FR-S. And for a further burst of power, the engine provides a standard overboost feature that can deliver up to 280 lb.-ft. of torque for approximately 10 seconds.

“This Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel represents a new era in diesel performance for American cars,” explained Jens Wartha, GM chief engineer. “We’ve adapted a proven engine from Europe, the world’s diesel capital, and married it with the emissions-reducing technology that was perfected in the United States. It’s a great example of how Chevrolet’s global resources work harmoniously to produce the right product at the right time and for the right market.”

2013 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel: Joining the Jetta

Now, there does happen to be another affordably priced compact clean-diesel sedan on sale in the U.S. to battle against the 2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, but it’s from the not-quite-mainstream Volkswagen brand. The 2013 VW Jetta TDI offers a nice benchmark for the diesel-powered Cruze, with the two comparing as follows:

2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel—MSRP with destination: $25,695; complimentary maintenance for two years; EPA highway mileage rating with six-speed automatic: 42 mpg; powertrain specs: 2.0-liter I4 with 148 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque; 0-60 time: 8.6 seconds
2014 VW Jetta TDI—MSRP with destination: $24,950; complimentary maintenance for three years: yes; EPA highway mileage rating with six-speed automatic: 42 mpg; powertrain specs: 2.0-liter I4 with 140 hp and 236 lb.-ft. of torque; 0-60 time: 8.7 seconds

Everything seems to be fairly closely matched except price, but it must be said that the Cruze does come standard with Chevy’s MyLink infotainment setup, and it offers roomier dimensions both in the front row and in terms of overall passenger volume; however, shoppers will want to check second-room space carefully before buying, as the Jetta offers a notable advantage as regards second-row legroom.

The party line according to Chris Perry, vice president of marketing for Chevrolet: “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,” said Perry. “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.”

By Charles Krome