The long-awaited Chevrolet Cruze diesel reportedly is set to make its debut at the upcoming Chicago Auto Show.
Set to be the first General Motors passenger car to feature a diesel in the U.S. market for more than two decades, the Cruze is likely to generate significant interest both among consumers and industry insiders. GM officials have made it clear they’ll be closely watching the public’s response to the new model and, if it gains traction, the Cruze diesel could be followed by other GM offerings.
“There is, fundamentally, a place for diesel here,” GM President Mark Reuss, said during a recent interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.
The maker is expected to add a diesel option for its redesigned 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. But Reuss indicated he is “personally” in favor of adding more of the so-called “oil-burners” to GM’s North American line-up.
To be called the Cruze Eco-D, the Chevrolet diesel is expected to be one of the more significant introductions on an otherwise light launch schedule at this year’s Chicago Auto Show, according to reports by Autoblog.com and GMAuthority.com.
The Cruze diesel will carry a 2014 model-year designation and is expected to go on sale during the second quarter of this year.
It is expected to deliver fuel economy that some sources have suggested could reach as high as 50 mpg on the highway. The current, gasoline-powered Chevy Cruze Eco is rated by the EPA at 42 mpg highway.
It remains to be seen how much of a premium Chevy will command for the Eco-D but if competitive offerings are any indication that will likely run between $1,500 and $3,000.
GM has been cautious about releasing any advanced details but the engine is believed to be a 2.0-liter inline-four similar to one used in the Australian-made Holden Cruze CDX, producing 160 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque – or about 20 hp and 29 lb-ft more than the comparable Volkswagen Jetta TDI.
Volkswagen has been a sort of role model for GM’s diesel advocates, with oil burners accounting for nearly a third of some models like Jetta. Volkswagen of American Group CEO Jonathan Browning has told TheDetroitBureau.com that he believes diesels will eventually account for more than 30% of the bigger Passat’s U.S. volume once the maker can increase capacity for that sedan’s engine.
VW’s sibling brand Audi plans to add four new diesel models for 2014 and a number of other makers are also looking to get into the diesel passenger car game. Nissan will reportedly make a diesel available as one of the options for its upcoming Infiniti Q50 line. Mazda, meanwhile, will soon launch sales of its Mazda6 SkyActiv-D, the first modern diesel offered in the U.S. by a Japanese manufacturer.
Tags: Audi diesel, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevy Cruze diesel, Jetta TDI, Mark Reuss, auto news, car news, chevrolet news, chevy news, cruze eco-d, general motors diesels, gm diesel, mazda6 diesel, passat diesel, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, reuss diesel, thedetroitbureau, vw diesel