It took more than a decade for automakers to hop on the hybrid train, and these same companies seem equally tepid about embracing natural gas vehicles. That has left conversion specialists to extend the olive branch, offering post-purchase conversions. IMPCO has developed a CNG conversion kit the 2014 Chevy Cruze with the 1.4 liter turbo engine, making it the cheapest CNG sedan you can buy.
Not that there is much competition in the natural gas passenger car segment. The Honda Civic Natural Gas is the only other CNG vehicle on the market, and with a $27,090 price tag, it sits at the top of the price range of the compact sedan segment. The IMPCO conversion will run you between $5,000 and $6,500 on a Chevy Cruze with the 1.4 liter engine, with the cheapest turbo Cruze model starting at $19,540. That makes it at least $1,000 cheaper than the Civic Natural Gas, which has been bundled with a $3,000 fuel card to motivate slumping sales.
Because it is a bi-fuel conversion, the Cruze will still be able to run on regular gasoline as well, and the CNG tanks give the Cruze an extra 200 miles of driving range. That extra driving range comes at the cost of half the cargo space though, another major stumbling point in the adoption of CNG vehicles.
But if you can do without the trunk space, the much-cheaper price of natural gas could pay back the cost of the conversion in four or five years (depending on your driving habits). The cost is in the same ballpark as GM’s own Chevy Cruze Diesel, which is rated at 46 mpg on the highway and stickers at $25,695.
Is this a CNG Chevy Cruze conversion you would consider? Or is the cost and lack of cargo space still a deal breaker?
Source: Green Car Reports