It's been almost a year now since the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel went on sale, the first diesel passenger car that General Motors put on the market since 1986.
General Motors had high hopes for the Cruze with the European turbodiesel engine, which was designed to compete with the well-established Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The Jetta and the Cruze are the only two competitive diesel compacts that are on the market today.
So far General Motors has sold roughly 300,000 Chevy Cruzes for 2014, but only 5,974 (2.0 percent) were diesel models. Since GM was hoping on about 10 percent sales, the number is not a good number considering the Jetta TDI has sold 46,409 in the same period of time. But it should also be noted that one of the problems that the Cruze Diesel suffers from is the lack of marketing support it receives opposed to the already well-established Jetta Diesel.
One thing the Cruze does have going for it is it has more power than the Jetta. The it is fitted with a 151-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine, which produces a substantial 264 lb-ft of torque. The only available transmission is a beefed-up six-speed automatic; unlike the diesel VW Jetta, there's no manual gearbox offered.
The current Jetta TDI has a 140-hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel that produces 236 lb-ft of torque. It should be noted, however, that Volkswagen is about to fit a new line of more powerful diesel engines across its entire small- and medium-size car range.
The Cruze Diesel is rated at 33 mpg combined (27 mpg city, 46 mpg highway). That's higher than the Cruze Eco automatic, at 31 mpg combined (26 mpg city, 39 mpg highway) but lower than the automatic version of the VW Jetta TDI at 34 mpg (30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway).
To boost its fuel economy, the diesel Cruze also adopts some elements of the high-efficiency Cruze Eco gasoline model, including automated grille shutters that block airflow through the engine compartment at higher speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag.
What People Are Saying
The Cruze Diesel has received mixed reviews. It gets praised for its quietness, smoothness on the highway and a lack of noise, vibration, and harshness, but it's also been dinged for slow response and uneven power in stop-and-go city and suburban driving.
The 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel isn't cheap. It's priced at $26,695 including delivery--or about $600 more than a Volkswagen Jetta TDI fitted with an automatic.
Compared to the comparably equipped gasoline version of the Cruze with 2LT trim level, there's a $2,400 additional cost to get the diesel.