American automakers have shied away from diesel passenger cars for the past few decades due to bad experiences in the early 1980s. But 2013 could be a watershed year for diesel cars in America, and General Motors is set to lead the way with the Chevy Cruze Diesel, set to debut next month at the Chicago Auto Show.
GM already sells a diesel-powered Cruze over in Europe, where a 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine delivers 130 horsepower and 221 ft-lbs of torque. Rumor has it that the Cruze Eco-D diesel could achieve as high as 50 mpg on the highway using the EPA testing method (though in the UK the Cruze is rated at more than 72 mpg) and could go up to 700 miles between fill-ups.
While diesel fuel is more expensive in America, those extra mpgs could go a long way towards saving drivers money at the pump. The current Chevy Cruze Eco is rated at up to 42 mpg highway with a six-speed manual transmission, so an 8 mpg improvement could mean a few more days between fill-ups.
The Chevy Cruze Diesel is reportedly going on sale in the second-quarter of 2013, which means it has to be unveiled soon. With just two major U.S. car shows between now and April, that leaves only Chicago and New York as options…and early indicators point towards Chicago.
GM follows the lead of Chrysler, which will offer a 3.0 liter turbodiesel V6 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee this year as well. The five-passenger SUV have a 30 mpg highway rating, 7 mpg more than the gas-powered V6 model. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the MSRP. Can GM and Chrysler make the dollars-and-cents case that diesels are a better option than hybrids or EVs?
Source: GM Authority