Around 1980, car manufacturers turned to diesel engines to boost fuel economy. This was an unmitigated failure, and American automakers gave up on diesels as a result. But GM might get back in the diesel game with the Chevy Cruze.
Yes, you read that right; GM may bring one of its super fuel efficient diesel engines over from Europe or Australia and stick it under the hood of the 2013 Chevy Cruze. The Chevy Cruze is a global automobile, sold in over 60 countries, and in many cases it is available with a diesel or turbodiesel engine. Diesel engines are popular in Europe and elsewhere because they can get very good gas mileage, and diesel fuel is cheaper in many countries (but not America.) American emissions standards make it hard to bring these engines to the U.S. without costly modifications though, and after the horrendous reception (and quality) that many car buyers experienced during the 1980’s, diesels have been struck from the Big Three’s lineup. Hell, Ford has a new global diesel Ranger that gets upwards of 30 mpg, but won’t bring it here because they don’t think it will sell.
GM, however, may be leading the charge in bringing diesel engines back to American cars. Holden, GM’s Australian subsidiary, produces a 2.0 liter diesel engine in the Cruze that has a whooping 235 ft-lbs of torque while delivering similar gas mileage to the base model Cruze (about 34 mpg). That’s almost 90 ft-lbs more than the 1.4 liter turbocharged EcoTec found in the base Cruze, which makes a paltry 148 ft-lbs of torque.
As it is, GM offers a diesel engine option on the Cruze in most other markets, some of them rated as high as 50 mpg. However, GM also offers a 42 mpg highway rated version of the Cruze called the Cruze Eco, so a diesel Cruze would either have to be cheaper, or way more fuel efficient. Still, I think this is a wise move on the part of the General and it could herald the return of clean diesel cars to America. Will diesels meet the lukewarm reaction automakers expect from Americans, or has a new age of diesels dawned?
Source: GM Inside News
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.