GM Officially Joins Diesel Party, Launches 2014 Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 TD

By Jonathan Spira on 7 February 2013
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CHICAGO — General Motors officially announced it would once again offer a diesel-powered automobile.  Bildschirmfoto 2013-02-07 um 11.01The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 TD will debut in select markets this summer with a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel inline four that develops 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.  If that’s not enough, an overboost function allows the engine to deliver up to 280 pound-feet of torque for ten seconds at a time.

The new diesel will be the second domestically manufactured oilburner (the Volkswagen Passat TDI was the first) in the U.S. and the Cruze’s engine will be the “cleanest operating diesel engine ever produced by General Motors,” Cristi Landy, the director of small car and electrified vehicle marketing at GM, told The Diesel Driver.

The last time General Motors offered a diesel, it was in a 1986 Chevrolet Chevette with a 1.8-liter engine.

Compared to its gasoline-powered 1.4-liter four-cylinder stablemate, the Cruze has ten more horsepower and 110 more pound-feet of torque, yet its fuel economy is expected to be 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) on the highway.

These figures match the Cruze 2.0 TD’s direct competition, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.  GM says that the Cruze TD can handle up to 20% biodiesel (B20) while the Jetta is rated for B5 only.

The Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 TD will go for $25,695 plus a destination fee of $810.  This puts it $2,115 over a fully-equipped Cruze LTZ Auto and $2640 more than the Jetta TDI, although the Cruze TD will come nicely equipped at that price, with a leather interior, 17” alloy wheels, and an aero performance package.  A five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and two-year maintenance plan are included.

While GM is the first non-German automaker to offer a diesel in the U.S. in recent years, the Cruze 2.0 TD can claim partial German parentage: its engine is being manufactured in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The car itself will be produced in Lordstown, Ohio, starting in April of this year. The engine will be mated to a six-speed transmission that is capable of handling the greater amount of torque the diesel engine develops at launch; a manual transmission is an “open” question according to Landy.

The Cruze TD uses DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) to meet emissions requirements and remove NOx from the exhaust.  The 17-liter DEF tank takes up a few cubic feet of space in the trunk, incidentally, and has to be refilled at least every 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers). DEF is included in the maintenance plan.

In terms of how General Motors will get people to buy its diesel, Landy says that the automaker will emphasize the technology and that it’s part of GM’s global product offering.  The Cruze “is the number one vehicle sold around the world,” she said and “we’re going to emphasize its torque, quiet driving at highway speeds, and [its] efficiency.”  Forty percent of Cruzes sold worldwide, she added, are diesels.

When it comes to prospective buyers, GM will look to diesel fans.  “What we don’t expect to do,” Landy said, “is to convert gas-buying car buyers over to diesel.”  Instead, “we’re going to promote the benefits of diesel and people who are interested in performance and efficiency and who drive a lot of highway miles are going to recognize the benefits.”

Similar to how GM first offered the Volt electric vehicle, the Chevy Cruze diesel will roll out first in 13 select states where the automaker has had success in selling the diesel variant of the Silverado truck.