Chevrolet took the wraps off its turbo diesel Cruze this week at the Chicago Auto Show and that has advocates hoping the new little Stovebolt will help spark a surge of interest in clean diesel technology.
“Without a doubt, 2013 is the most exciting and important year in the history of clean diesel autos in the U.S.,” said Adam Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology forum, from the Chicago Auto Show. “The Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel will be a key factor in taking the success of clean diesel as a competitive fuel-efficient technology to the next level.
“The Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is coming at just the right time. New car sales are exceeding expectations and confidence in the new generation of diesel cars is at an all-time high, as evidenced by the double-digit increases in diesel sales in 20 of the last 24 months,” Schaeffer said. “In addition, the availability of diesel fuel continues to expand to beyond more than half of all U.S. stations.”
The Cruze TD is a 2014 model but is expected to be in dealer showrooms later this year, with a base price of $25695.
The model features a 2.0 liter diesel version of the familiar General Motors Ecotec four-cylinder. Power claims are 148 horsepower and a whopping 258 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm.
Interestingly, the powerplant features an overboost that increases the muscle to 280 horsepower for bursts of up to 10 seconds.
“This Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel represents a new era in diesel performance for American cars,” said 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.”
Chevrolet officials claim the Cruze TD has achieved 42 mpg in testing and is the cleanest, most sophisticated diesel in GM history.
Schaeffer said he expects automakers to introduce 20 or so new diesel models in North American markets this year. About 40 percent of all Cruzes sold in Europe are powered by the Ecotec diesel, according to Chevrolet.
“This tremendous and consistent growth in clean diesel cars in the last two years is particularly noteworthy since it has occurred at time of economic recession, a flood of fuel efficient vehicle choices along with some of the highest diesel fuel prices we have experienced,” Schaeffer said. “Even in the face of these significant challenges, diesel buyers see the big picture and long-term value by investing in record numbers of clean diesel cars and SUVs.
“Today clean diesels are competing with many advanced technologies. According to a recent January 29 study by JD Powers and Associates, fuel economy is the number-one factor in vehicle choice. Most diesel car owners report real-world fuel economy that often exceeds window stickers and posted EPA values, no matter whether they are driving in the city or highway,” Schaeffer said.
Go here for more from the Diesel Technology Forum.