Diesel fans who’ve long been clamoring for a domestic automaker to offer a diesel will finally get what they’ve been asking for: a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze sedan with a diesel engine option.
After months of speculation about a Chevy Cruze diesel, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson confirmed the fact in an interview with USA Today. An official confirmation came from Chevrolet July 22.
What’s notable about the announcement is that the 2013 Chevy Cruze diesel will be the first non-truck diesel offering from a domestic automaker since Chrysler discontinued the Jeep Liberty CRD in 2006.
The Cruze diesel’s biggest competition will come from the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The Cruze diesel will have to do as good as, or better, than the Jetta TDI’s EPA-estimated 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway fuel economy. Akerson hinted that the diesel Cruze will likely achieve fuel economy “in the low to mid 40s” when equipped with an automatic transmission. The Cruze diesel will likely be powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder.
Why bother with a diesel in the Cruze when the Eco version already gets 42 mpg in the highway cycle with its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine? Our sister publication TheCarConnection probably pegs it right: “market penetration—buyers that wouldn’t consider Chevy at all, even for the Eco, might look to the brand as a serious option if it brings a diesel to market.”
Another good reason for buyers looking for a roomy, safe (the Cruze has 10 standard airbags) and economical five-passenger compact family car to consider the 2013 Chevy Cruze diesel sedan is a significant price advantage over the VW Jetta TDI. Today, the Jetta diesel with automatic transmission starts at about $25,000, whereas a Chevy Cruze diesel automatic should easily be able to come in at around the low $20,000 mark or below.
Also promising, as put forth in USA Today, is the notion that GM may be considering packaging the Cruze diesel in a hatchback version of the Cruze sold overseas.