By on April 18, 2013

Now that Chevrolet has revised their EPA mileage estimate for the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, from 42 mpg to 46 mpg, we need to revise our own estimates.

Initially, we called for a break-even period of 115 years, based on TrueCar’s formula for calculating the break-even period on fuel economy packages. For argument’s sake, we used TrueCar’s formula of driving 15,000 miles per year, though we used Chicago, IL as our sample for gas and diesel prices. The lowest prices found on GasBuddy at the time of the original article was $3.50 for regular and $3.80 for diesel respectively. For consistency’s sake, we’ll stick with that, though obviously the break-even point will change along with fuel price fluctuations.

Since city and combined figures haven’t been announced yet for the Cruze diesel, I decided to only use the highway figures for a similarly equipped gasoline 2LT . As the calculations show, the Cruze diesel does use a smaller quantity of fuel annually, but that’s offset by the price premium one is required to pay for diesel. Using the initial 42 mpg highway rating yielded a mere $22 in annual fuel savings and a $2,550 price gap. At that rate, it would take over a century -roughly 115 years – for a potential owner to “break even” on the Cruze diesel. But with the 46 mpg rating, the fuel savings grows to $142 annually. This shortens the break-even time to about 18 years; still fairly long, but much shorter than it would take compared to opting for a Cruze Eco. The reason for this is because at 42 mpg, fuel economy increases roughly 10 percent, while fuel costs rise by about nine percent. It’s a wash. But at 42 mpg, fuel economy improves by nearly 20 percent so you have a fuel-cost adjusted increase that goes from one percent to 11 percent, thus cutting the payback time by a factor of almost ten.

And now, to pre-empt some of the questions/criticisms from last time: yes, this analysis is incomplete due to only having the highway figure. I am aware of that, but I wanted to show that TTAC is not afraid to revise their predictions accordingly, in an open and transparent fashion. When the final numbers are released, we can do a proper comparison with the Jetta TDI (and maybe the Mazda6 diesel as well). I’m also aware that people buy diesels for the driving experience (low-end torque etc), but I’ll leave that one to Alex Dykes or whoever ends up reviewing the car.

Data below, for anyone interested

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126 Comments on “Ok, We Were Wrong: Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Actually Takes 18 Years To Break Even*...”


  • avatar
    stryker1

    That’s the problem with increasing the effeciency of cars that are already quite efficient (when my wife rented a cruze, she routinely got 35mpg commuting to/from work). Unless you drive a staggering number of miles a year, the incremental mpg improvements bear diminishing returns pretty quickly.

    This calculation works out better for VW’s TDI, but only because the base engine that you compare against gets such middling mileage.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. I ran the numbers on a Jetta SEL versus a Jetta TDI. Both were comparably equipped and priced but the payback time was something like 2 years for the TDI.

      • 0 avatar
        Sundowner

        your 2 year payback analysis on the TDI Jetta is wrong:
        It incorrectly assumes that the Jetta will actually run for two continuous years.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        Now factor in the more frequent fuel filter changes and the fuel additive you’ll want to use to protect the fuel pump from ULSD, the DEF you have to add, and then realize that the particulate filter has a finite useful life. One major component failure and your savings go up in smoke.

        • 0 avatar
          blowfish

          Nowadays benzene engines need very little tune ups.

          When a Cruze turns into a Nova then u kind of got stuck up the notorious river without a paddle!

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          @jpolicke

          +1.

          I read Pistonheads forum. The Brits are finding out about DPFs, and the extra oil in the sump from failed regens. The Mazda engineering solution: issue a new dipstick with “full” marked higher on it so you don’t worry. $1500 for a new DPF, no thanks.

          Use the new diesels on the highway only if you want to avoid trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Interesting Derek, I had figured 14-15 years payback on a Golf TDI, using annual fuel cost estimates from fueleconomy.gov, comparing MSRP, which on the Golf costs you a premium of $5200 for the TDI to save $350/yr on fuel (45/55% city/hwy driving).

        Looks like the Jetta TDI premium is only $2725 using MSRP. Same $350 savings in fueleconomy.gov, that is an alomst 8 year pay back. Not sure how you can see a 2 year payback, that is over $1k/year in fuel savings when you can run a gas Jetta for $2k/yr in fuel at current prices. I call Shenanigans.

        For just a bit more (I couldn’t figure the equipment differences quickly) the Hybrid Jetta saves another $450 in fuel cost yearly, more if you drive more than %45 city.

        Of course that excludes the 75MPG “Offical Enthusiast Forums Internet” rating of the TDI, which really speeds up the payback…

      • 0 avatar
        oldfatandrich

        Derek, the exception to the rule is an S350 ! When I went shopping last spring, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this diesel powered yacht had a sticker some $7M less than a comparably equipped S550 4matic. Yes, there is some diesel clatter at the stoplight, but I average 33 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg overall. These are extraordinary numbers for a car that weighs 5,000 lbs—and can get of its own way very quickly. Who needs a hybrid ?

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      Wait . . . You’re saying that the Jetta “wins” this comparison by having poor gasoline MPG?

    • 0 avatar
      Dubbed

      Which is why you should go buy a Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid. Obviously only if your looking for a truck.. It goes from 15/21mpg to 20/23mpg. A very large increase that is made to look insignificant by present day methodology in measuring mpg.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesel fuel costs MORE than PREMIUM in most parts of the country and the cars have a higher up-front cost than the equivalent gasoline powered car.

      If you really need to budget your money this much for a small car and don’t see that then you should consider a Smart ForTwo, a Scion XB or not driving at all.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    The problem with this ‘analysis’ is that the EPA numbers suck IRL. IRL diesels seem to do exceptionally well on long highway drivers at max legal (and greater then legal speeds).

    This is something that even hybrids don’t do well. For those buyers the diesel can be a good buy. Not to mention for long distance highway commuters the ability to go a long way without refueling is something to think about as well.

    EPA numbers are based on a average of 48mph in the highway test. And feature extremely slow acceleration.. Diesels can be driven fairly aggressively and still do great at the pump. In the real world they seem to deliver really good mileage.

    Personally I wouldn’t buy a diesel because I don’t like the narrow power band they tend to have. its not sporting. But I would warn people to avoid analysis like this.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      EPA estimates to real world isn’t the point. It’s to have a standard to compare vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The problem is that if you have one car built to basic engineering principles relating to gearing so that shifting at the hp peak results in the engine being at the torque peak in the next gear, another car that is built for the unrealistic test and its poor physics model, and they both get 30 mpg on the test, the one not built to the test will get much, much better mileage in actual use.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      On the highway the Hybrid is just another gas car, usually with low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic tricks.

      Where the Hybrid beats the diesel is in the city. So generally a Hybrid is better if you drive city and stop-n-go, diesel may be better if you drive mostly highway.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Hybrids do get a modest highway bump by running Atkinson cycle versus Otto, but city driving is where the bulk of the improvement is found.

        • 0 avatar
          rmwill

          To amplify… I have a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. When I drive my 15 mile suburban commute, which has me running mostly between 35 and 50 mph, with limited stop and go, I get about 45 mpg with the heat on, in 30-50 degree weather. On my interstate trips to Chicago with the cruise set at 77, I see 36mpg, so clearly the hybrid/Atkinson combination is better than any other powertrain option with respect to fuel economy. Once in Chicago, I see 52mpg at city speeds.

          I have been a hybrid skeptic for years, but these numbers have opened my eyes. As for payback time? I would argue that high fuel efficiency like this is an attribute like any other. Does anyone compute ROI for a sunroof or leather seats?

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            There is something about hedging your bets for the future, if you think fuel prices are going to go up and you keep your car for more than a few years.

            What I like is Hybrids are getting to the point there is little price to be paid for driving them. the Prius flat sucks to drive, but a Camry/Fusion/Jetta Hybrid, day to day is as good as any other sedan in its class, while getting great MPG for not too much more cost. The Camry Hybrid is even quicker than the base model so it is like an engine upgrade with better MPG too.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesels make sense in small cars because they offer the immediate shove people want – even if they aren’t into speeding and the need for lots of horsepower. Problem is, the higher cost is the trade off. They make sense in BMW and Mercedes where the price isn’t a concern to the people buying the brand, but in a Chevy Cruze…I’ve gotta pay HOW MUCH MORE?

      No, I don’t think so…not in America I’m not…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I admit I really don’t understand the utility of putting diesel engines in small to medium-sized cars like the Cruze, the Golf, the Jetta, etc. (nor, for that matter in putting hybrids in similar sized cars, e.g. the various models of the Prius). On a gallons/mile basis the improvement over the gasoline engine isn’t worth it.

    Putting these engines in large cars or, better yet, in SUV/CUV sized vehicles makes a lot more sense. For example, dropping a diesel into an SUV that gets 21 mpg on the highway (which increases its highway mileage to, say, 28 mpg) generates a lot more savings. Of course, you have to figure in the incremental cost of the diesel or hybrid powerplant over the standard gasoline engine.

    But putting a diesel into a car that will get nearly 40 mpg on the highway with its gasoline engine strikes me as pretty silly.

    I would add that this is almost sanctionable deceptive advertising, but the car companies have a good excuse. CAFE forces them to achieve higher fleet economy, measured in mpg. So, for them, the increment of going from 38 to 48 mpg highway is definitely worthwhile in terms of their compliance with the CAFE mandate.

  • avatar

    Want to get this in before anyone else. No stick? No wagon? No Sale!!

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      Right?! It’s like they’re not even listening to the customer. Maybe GM’s setting themselves up to fail with diesels again: “We offered one, and nobody bought it…”

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    Nail head, meet hammer. We will see what the numbers sort out to when we get our hands on the Cruze. In general diesels seem to meet the EPA 2008 average numbers while the gasoline Cruze has fallen somewhat short. If this is the case with the Cruz diesel it may be slightly lower than the 18 years, but not by much. Still, it might steal some VW shoppers if nothing else. Our here in CA where diesel is quite expensive the math can fall apart further, so be sure to check out your local fuel prices.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Though the cost of diesel in CA can be high, so is the cost of regular gas. At higher prices the savings will add up faster, even if the price differential between diesel and gas is the same (i.e, diesel is $0.50 more than 87 octane gas, whether that is $3.70 vs $4.20 or $4.00 vs $4.50).

      Furthermore, I’ve found the cost of diesel in the Bay Area to vary wildly by gas station. Some gas stations have it priced $0.25/gallon more than 91 octane, but there are some were the cost is pretty close to 91. There is one I pass on my way to work where I think the diesel is actually slightly cheaper than 91.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Can we stop with the whole “break even” metric? Not everybody buys a diesel or even a hybrid to start saving money instantly to put their kids through college with the huge savings they got from the kind of engine or drivetrain of their chosen car.

    There are a lot of folks who like the driving experience of a diesel powered vehicle, due to the abundance of low end torque.

    You could equate a well tuned diesel to a sunroof. You could get by without either one, but both are nice and bring pleasure to different people for different reasons. What’s the break even point on something that isn’t even quantifiable, like grins from torque or sunshine though the roof?

    • 0 avatar

      Read the very last line

      “I’m also aware that people buy diesels for the driving experience (low-end torque etc), but I’ll leave that one to Alex Dykes or whoever ends up reviewing the car.”

      • 0 avatar
        turbosaab

        Right, it’s just that when it comes to diesels (and perhaps hybrids, as well) there seems to be a bit of over-focus on “breakeven” compared to other factors.

        When a manufacturer offers a more powerful, added cost gasoline engine, similar calculations are rarely performed… (hint: the result is usually in the range of negative infinity).

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          There’s a difference between an engine option chosen because it enhances acceleration, trailer towing, sounds better, or has smoother running properties, and one marketed by the promise of economic advantages. If GM was saying that the 2.0T in the Malibu would get you from 0-60 in 3 seconds when it obviously won’t, we’d be talking about it.

          • 0 avatar
            rmwill

            There is more appeal than simply fuel economy. The geek appeal of a golf cart on steroids which is nearly silent in many modes of operation is pretty cool. So cool that a neighbor of mine bought one after he drove mine and that was the attribute that sealed the deal. I was totally convinced that ROI was all that mattered until I actually started driving one. Also, my 2013 Fusion costs me about the same as one with a few more unnecessary dodads would have, so I see acquisition costs as a wash.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I think I addressed this elsewhere, but the reason for exposing imaginary economic benefits is that the manufacturers of most of these vehicles emphasize saving $20 on gas instead of the increased performance of the Cruze Diesel over the Cruze 1.4T, or the joys of an electric’s instantaneous torque.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        I read the last line, but it still doesn’t make any sense to keep rehashing this tired subject over and over.

        Why not offer praises to GM(!!) and any other manufacturer willing to explore diesel powered passenger cars and even sell them to the public. Hopefully this opens the doors for others competing in the same diesel powered passenger car segment.

        • 0 avatar

          Because we’re not a PR machine. I will do an article like this once the Mazda6 Diesel comes out, and if I forget, then email me or remind me on the comment page.

          • 0 avatar
            grzydj

            So your angle on drivetrains and engine development is is spreadsheet formulas? That’s how you differentiate yourself from other blogs, by posting up the same regurgitated break-even metrics that everybody else has for ages?

            You’re doing more PR service than you realize.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            “Because we’re not a PR machine.”

            Apparently you’ve missed Bertel Schmitt’s last eight dozen posts about GM.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I keep hearing radio ads for the Ford Fusion Energi talking about how far you can go on $20 and featuring a couple dupes saying that they need this car so they can save money like that. Considering you have to pay an $8,000 premium over the Fusion hybrid to save less than a gallon(assuming you fully charge the car twice a day with stolen electricity) a day, you won’t be improving your budget for many years.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      While I do agree that Ford’s Energi line of vehicles will never save you money, why do you always have to bring up the “stolen electricity” every time an EV is discussed. Fact of the matter is that there are employers out there that do install chargers for the free use of their employees. They often get tax breaks for doing so. In my area there is also a fairly large network of free chargers that are sponsored by the business that installed them and/or others. For example one of my friends who owns a Leaf used that network to drive from the Seattle area to Portland and only had to pay for the initial charge and one charge at a parking garage where he paid the lower cost of charging instead of the higher standard parking fee while other days he just enjoyed free parking.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Because every example you listed involved someone other than the entitled EV driver paying for the energy. Did I sign up to pay for those tax breaks? Do I want my shopping bill subsidizing someone with a thirty to one hundred and thirty thousand dollar car’s energy bill? Does an employee deserve more compensation for behavior outside of his job duties, like buying an electric car? I’m happy to provide the contempt that electric car drivers deserve.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I agree with CJ, I don`t see why they can`t have meters on them so the cost is covered by the user.
          I would take one exception though, you cannot pick and choose what the Government provides. By that I mean there are people who don`t like nuclear weapons, there are those who don`t like certain agencies of the Government etc. All perfectly valid opinions, but you cannot pick and choose (except at elections) what is provided.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Lots of EV charging stations are pay systems. Some charge you by the time you are connected while others charge you on the amount of energy used. You would not believe all the political wrangling required to make it legal to actually charge based on consumption was in many states. There are or were some laws, in some states, that make it illegal for anyone but the official power company to sell electricity.

        • 0 avatar
          Ubermensch

          One wonders if CJ also harbors contempt for industries and businesses that pass his political litmus test. My guess is not as I have yet to hear it, and if anything can be considered reliable, it is CJ making his contempt known.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @Ubermensch

            When has CJ ever *not* given lucid explanation for his contempt? He never flings baseless bile, and he never goes ad hominem.

            Oh, an’ he got him a giant brain, too.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            You and I must have different definitions of lucid. You may be mistaking verbosity for erudition.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @Ubermensch

            Nah, where you see verbosity I see someone making the effort to clearly explicate his position.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Also, you don’t know what ad hominem means if you think CJ doesn’t go there a lot.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @controllio

            Well, I don’t recall him eschewing factual argument in favor of personally attacking another commenter. He doesn’t need to.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Just because someone else is paying for it does not make it theft. If Burger King decides to have everyone who buys a Whopper pay for the guy who charges his electric car there so be it, you are not being forced to buy that Whopper. You could go across the street to the Burgerville and eat there like the guy charging his Leaf on Burger King’s dime.

          If an employer wants to pay for his employee’s commute so be it, it is cheaper than them providing a bus pass another thing many companies do for tax breaks and to give their employees a perk.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Is anyone else suspiciously wondering why the city MPG has not been publicised? Hmm . . .

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      No. People & companies only talk about hwy mileage. It’s what they use in ads; thus, that’s what get announced. There’s no conspiracy here.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Not really companies talk about the best the vehicle can do so in the case of Hybrids that are typically more efficient in the city cycle they advertize those numbers instead. It is all about advertising the biggest number possible.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Agreed – the combined figure is probably what most people get routinely (certainly more than highway on a routine basis).

        One other thing to note about payback is depreciation, if the residual value (as a % of MSRP) is the same for the gas and diesel vehicle then you don`t need to make up the whole $2K difference.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          And if the residual value of the diesel is higher then you need to make even less of the difference. That seems to be the case for TDI’s. On the other hand the other costs of ownership must be factored in to get the true pay back period. Most diesel powered vehicles cost more to service with more frequent changes of more expensive filters for example. Is the vehicle going to be needing DEF? If so then that cost must be factored in as well.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            True, maintenance is also a factor. So this shows that just focusing on fuel costs might miss the bigger picture.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I suspect that the diesel 2LT Cruze is the nicest automatic Cruze to drive by a huge margin. If a Cruze is what one wants, this is probably worth some price premium just for the 148 hp and 258 ft/lbs of torque. Chevy advertising should try to incorporate that, if they can find a way of circumnavigating the topic of the other Cruze engines’ emphasis on EPA numbers over sparkling performance.

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            It has urea. Just like the Passat, you have to replenish it every 10k miles. All the automotive stores have urea…all truck stops as well. Very inexpensive. VW does it for free for the first 36k.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “Most diesel powered vehicles cost more to service with more frequent changes of more expensive filters for example.”

            What are you saying this based on? My impression is that the diesel particular filter is quite expensive, but changing it is not frequent by any means.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Corntrollio, with this statement “Most diesel powered vehicles cost more to service with more frequent changes of more expensive filters for example.” I was referring to the air, oil and fuel filters.

            Of course it does vary from mfg to mfg and even model to model but it isn’t uncommon for the diesel versions to recommend replacement of the air and fuel filters up to 5 times as frequently as on the gas version.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “but it isn’t uncommon for the diesel versions to recommend replacement of the air and fuel filters up to 5 times as frequently as on the gas version.”

            Fuel filters I’d believe. For oil filters, VW/Audi specs the same for petrol vs. diesel. For air filter, VW/Audi specs the same for petrol vs. diesel. For fuel filter, current VW/Audi schedules say 20K for both 2.0 TDI and 3.0 TDI. Older (circa 2010) say 20K for 2.0 TDI and I believe 40K for 3.0TDI, but remove water from the 3.0TDI filter every 20K. There is no spec for gas engines, but the forums suggest 60K.

            You can get a 3.0 TDI fuel filter for under $50 online, so it’s not particularly expensive.

            For DPF, it says check it at 125K if it’s the original one, or 120K if it’s a replacement, and replace if necessary. If you don’t replace, check it every 20K.

            AdBlue is for 3.0TDI only, but that’s cheap.

            It’s possible some of the truck diesels are different.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            So $50 for a fuel filter plus the labor to replace it every 20K vs a filter that is designed to last the lifetime of the car (hence the no specified replacement interval). In 100K of ownership that adds up to at least an extra $500 and more likely closer to $750 more spent on maintenance. On the VW diesels changing the fuel filter is not really a DIY job as you need the scan tool to properly bleed the fuel system after replacement. Yes there are ways around using the scan tool but I figure most will just pay someone instead.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “lifetime” isn’t really lifetime. As I mentioned, the forums often say 60K. I’d go with that too, but even if you don’t follow that, by 100K, you should probably do it. Doesn’t seem particularly expensive to me, but lots of TTACers who engage in deferred maintenance would probably disagree.

            FWIW, there’s a DIY here on the TDI sans scan tool:
            http://www.tdiblog.com/tdi-do-it-yourself/replacing-fuel-filter-a4-jetta-golf-tdi/

            It’s also trivial to find YouTube videos that show you how to do it.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    700 miles on a single tank of gas? Wow, imagine how far it could go on a single tank of diesel.

  • avatar
    stroker49

    Here in Europe it makes sense, with gas at 8,30 USD/US gallon and diesel about the same.

    They hold their value better also as used.
    So that makes me buy gasoline. Especially big cars with big gas engines can be found cheap and if you do the math you can operate a nice big guzzler cheaper per mile than a smaller non thirsty car.
    When I was shopping for a car a used Chrysler 300 diesel was 12800 USD more expensive than a similar 300 3,5 gas. You can buy a lot of gas for 12800 usd also here in Europe!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Yeah, but when the zombie apocalypse comes, and the only safe place is Robert Farago’s armed camp, and that’s 650 miles away, and you only have 1 tank of fuel, you will be biter bait while your neighbor with the diesel Cruze will be sitting pretty with Robert and a bevy of beauties. The moral of the story is that not buying the diesel Cruze means missing your chance to repopulate the world.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Right on Conslaw!! Most people don’t realize that when the moral and social fabric of society breaks down, a diesel would get your butt of of a jam much better than a gasser. When the power came on after Sandy, which lines were longer at the gas station…the diesel, or the gas? Also, I can store 5 gal of diesel in the garage, plus whatever I have in the tank. When the hurricane comes, I don’t have to fight at the gas station. With the range of this vehicle, I can be in Western NC from FL without headaches. It’s not all about breaking even. Even that it’s an apples to oranges comparison. You can’t compare the fuel efficient Cruze package, with the diesel Cruze.

  • avatar
    ABankThatMakesCars

    Maybe it should be compared to a Volt that has a payback of never.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Well, this guy figures he’s saving about $2500 a year with his Volt, compared to a car getting 30 mpg. YMMV, of course.
      http://voltowner.blogspot.com/2013/01/one-year-of-volt-ownership-costs-of.html

  • avatar
    deanst

    Move to Canada – the break even is under 10 years!

  • avatar
    carguy

    I don’t think that the diesel Cruze will be much of an economy proposition. Most folks will see it as a way to have way more torque for effortless city and highway driving and not pay a penalty at the pump.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Today’s gas price snapshot at exit 7 on I78 in NJ

    Regular gas: $3.19 per gal.
    Diesel 3.95
    24% price advantage to regular gas

    Standard Chevy Cruze highway mpg – 36
    Diesel Curze – 46
    27% mileage advantage for the diesel engine

    Pretty much a wash. Expect a long payback provided the diesel is as reliable as the gas engine. And this is not a certainity.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      *Usually* the diesel is the more long-lived motor. Hell, VWs are almost downright reliable with the TDI motor, LOL. I’d be willing to bet the Ecotec 1.4T ends up being more troublesome than the diesel.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Diesels have always made the most sense for people piling up a lot of highway miles; certainly more than the 15,000 used in Derek’s example. I don’t think GM (or VW or Mazda or anyone else) has illusions that the diesel makes sense in all applications and will become their best-selling trim level.

    I think a Cruze diesel makes a lot of sense, since the Cruze is already an excellent highway cruiser.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    Having owned a new 06 Liberty Limited CRD,diesels,at least for me make sense.The hwy mpg for my little 4×4 (not awd) with about 6k miles on it was up to 32mpg (up from a start of 29).I don’t buy a diesel looking at the ‘break even’ point.I need that low end torque for off road,towing,and unbelievable hwy mpg.Do any of you look at your bimmers and the like and a ‘break even point’? Of course not.You guys are looking at a status symbol under the guise of the ‘driving experience’,which on the public roads/hwy’s….mean squat.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    MPG is a bad way to measure fuel economy, for two reasons.
    First, MPG is not linear: the higher the MPG, the less savings you get from one more. Assume you drive 15,000 miles and fuel costs $3.00 a gallon. Going from 10 to 11 MPG will save you $409; going from 20 to 21 MPG will save you $107; from 30 to 31, $48; from 40 to 41, $27.
    Second, MPG measures the wrong thing. You don’t buy gas, then figure out how many miles that will let you drive. What you want to know is, ‘Given the distance I need to drive, how much fuel is that going to take?’
    In other words, what you want to know is not MPG, but gallons per mile. In Canada, we measure fuel economy using litres per 100 km. Metric system aside, that makes a lot more sense.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I buy gas based on how much fits in the tank. Maybe other people only buy what they need that day, and perhaps that’s why they think electric cars can be a convenience. If someone knows how many miles per gallon a car gets and can’t figure out how many gallons it would consume to cover one hundred miles, then they’ve already lost.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        ” I buy gas based on how much fits in the tank.”

        I remember a time when saying “Gimmee twenty bucks worth !” would have the gas pouring out onto your shoes and running down the street.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Those were the days… actual human beings who ran out and filled your tank, checked you oil & water, then proceeded to whip out those blue mystery rags from their back pockets and smear whatever was already on them all across your windshield.

          But the fact that gas was 27 cents/gal. and smokes were 35 cents/pack made up for a lot.

          God, scary thought… what if gas reaches near parity with cigarettes again?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I don’t know where your at, but I saw cigarette prices at around $3 a pack here ( I don’t smoke), and yesterday I filled up for $3.07 a gallon, so kinda backwards.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @Hummer

            Serious! $3.00/pack? Where’s that?

            I’m in northern WI and brand name smokes are around $8.00/pack in convenience stores. I don’t smoke either anymore so that’s the only place I see the prices, while I’m waiting in line to buy a soda or coffee.

            Cold-turkeyed all smoking in ’98, cigs in ’96. I still hugely miss cigars, A&C Grenadiers and (like most Cheeseheads) Swisher Sweets.

            And let me just add for those considering quitting…. it’s a monstrous bitch, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

            But 9 years later I had a double-bypass. In the post-op for that I got a chest x-ray and they displayed it on a huge monitor. When I saw acres of clean, healthy lung tissue I damn near dropped to my knees in thanks. Would have if it weren’t for all the tubes and wires.

            Do it.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Like you said, I only notice them when I’m getting something to drink etc at the convience store, but yea here in North Carolina that’s what I’ve been seeing as of late, and even that includes heavy Gov’t taxation.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            When I was in high school, 2 hours of my pay bought me enough gas to go 400 miles. Today, with the benefit of 25 years of additional education and experience, I can just about go as far for as much of my labor. I suppose it helped that I wasn’t paying taxes then and had a smaller car.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Cigarette prices depend heavily on what state you live in, and your tolerance for the ultra-cheap sawdust brands.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            In Australia we are paying over $18 for a pack of 25 cigarettes.

            But we are paying about $5.50 a US gallon.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      MPG or KMPL makes so much more sense than the other way around. It is just as easy to see that a vehicle that gets 40MPG will use half the fuel as a vehicle that gets 20MPG. The volume per set distance is just the inverse of the distance per volume with a scaling factor.

      The reason MPG or KMPL makes much more sense is that you buy the fuel by volume, you do not buy it in 100mi or KM increments.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      That’s an excellent point. I work it out this way: On a 100-mile trip, a 20mpg car uses five gallons. To save one gallon, you’d take a 25mpg car instead. Saving another gallon would require a 33mpg car. A 50mpg car uses just two gallons. To save that next gallon, you’d need to double the mpgs to 100, of course. At one end of this scale, a 5mpg increase saves a gallon of fuel, and at the other, you need a 50mpg improvement!

      We’d probably make better decisions about vehicle fuel economy, at all levels, if we didn’t focus on the deceptive math of the mpg figure. But it’s sure easier to say or write than “litres per 100 kilometers.”

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        But most people don’t look at it that way. They are not concerned with saving a volume of fuel over an arbitrary distance. They are concerned with how far that volume of fuel will take them which is what MPG tells you.

  • avatar
    redav

    Using today’s prices for long-term cost estimates is unwise. I would be profoundly amazed if the price of fuel doesn’t dramatically rise over the next ten years.

  • avatar
    jvossman

    If you are going to include the increased price of the diesel but not the (assumed) increase resale value of a diesel car, your are not being fair.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Any cost comparison that doesn’t include maintenance and depreciation cost is based on half-truth, IMHO. You shouldn’t assume, especially with a diesel, that the future value of car will be nada. NADA, maybe… but there’s a demonstrable diesel premium on the used car market, too. Diesels have the reputation of being long-lasting, and folks will pay for that. How else would I have just sold a 200,000-mile, 2002 Beetle for a third of its new-car price?

    Therefore, if the Cruze diesel maintains even the TDI’s mixed reputation for durability, it should being a four-figure premium on the used market– assuming, like most people, you don’t intend to drive the car until it’s just a pile of rust. If you do want a long-timer, there’s another huge cost factor to consider– does it have a timing belt, or a chain? I’ve done two 100K timing belt replacements on my older cars in the past three years, to the tune of $2500. My TDI’s timing belt replacement ate up two years worth of its fuel savings. That’s the biggest reason why I chose a 2.0T gas engine, with a chain, for both the cars in my driveway now.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      And that, my friends is why I do my own repairs, no sense in farming out repairs for $60 an hour to someone who doesn’t have the same obsession/pride in your vehicle as you do.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Where do you live where gas costs $3.07/gallon and a legit, tax-paying shop works for $60 an hour? I feel like I have gone back in time listening to this.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          $60 an hour labor is what I last had my car serviced at, I have no clue how much it is now, as I do all the work myself, unless it is a warranty fixed part.

          And yes gas is pretty cheap here, which probably has to do with 2 gas stations opening up near one another at around the same time starting a cheapness war with all of them.
          I did take a picture with my phone for the memory, no telling how long it will last.

  • avatar
    AFX

    18 YEARS, WOO HOO, BY THAT TIME YOU’LL HAVE THE LOAN PAID OFF !!!.

    Diesel cars make more sense in Appalachia, not only would they be better at climbing the hills with their torquey engines, you also don’t have to worry about the diesel smell ofending people because everybody already smells like kerosene from their home heaters.

    I think Chevy’s advertising for getting 700 miles on a single tank of gas is kind of a joke. Put this engine in something cool like a Porsche 917/30 Can-Am car with it’s 400 liter fuel tank and you’d get 4,860 miles on one tank. Porsche FTW !.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      In that same sense though, my scout can go 540 miles on its 60 gallon tank

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      They could have advertised that on a Chevy Suburban not that long ago (and before the EPA revised numbers). Those things had 42 gallon gas tanks and I believe it was something like 17 mpg hwy for 4WD and 18 hwy for RWD — now it’s 16/17.

      That large a tank would suck at certain gas stations that still cut you off at $75. 3 transactions to fill it.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Still have plenty of $75 cut off pumps here….

        Though unless I find really cheap gas such as the $3.07 it’s been for a while, then I tend to go to the ethanol free gas station that is graded at 89 (mid here) and retails for about the same as regular 89. Those machines are really old, they stop at $100, but I’m sure they were made back when people would scoff at $1 for a gallon of gas.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          How nice it must be to have the option of ethanol-free gas…

          (And before someone pipes up with the URL, the 5 stations listed are pretty far away)

          The owners of gas stations that haven’t moved to $100 are just behind the times. I’m pretty sure Visa and Mastercard increased their threshold to $100 a while ago (in fact, I thought Mastercard might be $125). The limit is based on the protection that Visa/MC offer the merchant for pay-at-the-pump transactions.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            There is one station here that sells good gasoline. Unfortunately, it is $9 a gallon.

            Nevermind. I just checked out their website and found out that it is indeed ‘oxygenated with ethanol’ in order to comply with the CARB plague.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            the one I usually get it from is about 10 miles away but it’s in route to where I usually go, there is one other closer, but this ones easier.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Your mistake is analyzing this from the eyes of the consumer. You see, cars aren’t designed for consumers anymore–they’re designed to please government bureaucrats.

  • avatar
    ajla

    So what would I need to do to make this baby sound like a RAM 3500?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Is GM actually giving this car a tow rating? That might help sell it too if you could tow a 3,000 lb trailer or something. But of course I’m sure this car is part of the “Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy” that says we all need 300hp trucks to pull 2 jet skis to the lake.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Disappointed here with TTAC again – why a site called “the truth about cars” simply relies on an EPA test in order to conclude a point.

    EPA mpg is determined on a dynowheel which does very little to reflect real world driving. On the dynometer they associate the friction and rolling resistance as the equivalent to wind friction – meaning that brick of an SUV gets the same wind resistance than a compact car. This is akin to me judging an athlete’s on field performance by comparing their running on a treadmill.
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml

    For instance the EPA rated “42 mpg” Jetta was able to get an average of 58 mpg combined driving from coast to coast to coast including in heavy congestion. http://thinkblue.vw.com/5882-mpg-guinness-world-record-set-by-jetta-tdi/

    Diesel is cheaper to produce than gasoline and has 30% more energy density which leads to around the same better mpg (and around 50% when under heavy load as diesels make max torque at several thousand lower RPM than their gas counterparts).

    So why is it so expensive? Well until about 5 years ago diesel was the same price and often lower as regular unleaded gasoline. However in the past 30 years (the time we’ve not added to diesel refining capacity) there has been huge demand by passenger vehicles for its use, almost the entire transportation relies on it as their sole fuel of choice[only where diesel fuel is limited is where gas in heavy trucks is common], we are a net exporter of diesel fuel mainly to S America, and diesel is a readily available substitute as heating oil – all these factors have lead to it being so expensive. Combine that with diesel has higher taxes per gallon and it costs more to distribute than gasoline b/c of economies of scale.
    http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

    As diesel engine production for passenger cars becomes more common costs will go down (gas engines have increased in price due to expensive technologies (DI, vvt, vvct, distyless ignition, forced induction, cylinder deactivation, hybrid drivetrains, etc.) but by far has greater mass production and lower costs associated with it.

    However we have to overcome the ignorance of the matter and stop relying on laboratory results and instead focus on the real world and how people really drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No that brick of a SUV does not get the same resistance as the compact car, the resistance of the rollers is adjusted for the weight of the vehicle, it’s aerodynamic drag and general rolling resistance. From the link you provided “The energy required to move the rollers can be adjusted to account for wind resistance and the vehicle’s weight.”

      Of course the affects of the rolling and aerodynamic drag must be calculated and if you are like Hyndia/Kia it is hard to get those numbers right leading to a huge difference in reported MPG vs EPA test procedure.

      I do agree that what the vehicles get in the real world is more relevant however with the Cruise which still hasn’t hit the market, we’ll have to make due with the estimates based on the EPA procedure.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        I agree that we do not have any real world mpg for the Cruze TD as it is so new. But you can use real world data from competitors like the Jetta as it has gas and diesel options. TDIs get significantly better mpg in the real world than their gas counterpart – enough that they break even in < 2 years (not 18 or 115 years).

        Also add into the fact of wind (cross, head, tail and gusts) making a gas engine work harder to keep the same speed a diesel powered car would simply shrug off. Putting around with little to no load – gas engines can of course be pretty efficient as they can lug around at low RPM (do not need to produce much torque to do so). But anytime it needs torque to maintain speed a gas engine has to run higher RPMs in order to get to its sweet spot.

        I've towed the same routes, same speed (set cruise at 5 below the speed limit each time) with the same trailer and gear with a 5.3 liter v8 2wd 1/2 ton Silvy now to a 4wd jeep CRD GC and not once in a 250 mile tow did my CRD ever have to downshift (both have 5 speed autos) to go up any hill and I get high 19's mpg with the CRD and low 12's with the Silvy. By the time I get to where I'm going I still have 1/2 a tank in the CRD and almost on empty in the Silvy (and it can carry 6 more gallons of fuel).

        • 0 avatar

          “I agree that we do not have any real world mpg for the Cruze TD as it is so new. But you can use real world data from competitors like the Jetta as it has gas and diesel options. TDIs get significantly better mpg in the real world than their gas counterpart – enough that they break even in < 2 years (not 18 or 115 years).”

          No, you can’t. Think about how absurd that statement is, using data from a Volkswagen Jetta to estimate mileage for a Cruze. Would you use acceleration times from a McLaren MP4-12C to estimate those of a Ferrari?

          As I said, when we get a Cruze Diesel in our hands, we can test it out compared to a TDI. For now, this is the best we have.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No you can’t use the VW to compare to a Chevy, that’s a case of apples to oranges.

          Now if you were to compare the real world reported MPG of all diesel cars to that of all gas powered cars vs EPA estimates then you might have a slightly better argument.

          However we will have to wait and see once the Cruze actually hits the streets and even then it really needs to be a direct test of the vehicles driven over the same roads at the same time to really be valid.

          • 0 avatar
            CelticPete

            Jaje is right. Diesels on long highway drives can achieve awesome fuel economy numbers.

            You are not going to get 58mpg out of a gas Cruze – especially at the legal limit (or several miles over).

            You CANNOT base your comparison off the EPA numbers. Most people drive their car FAR harder then the EPA imagines. And because of this they get far worse gas mileage. A diesel though can get very good gas mileage at high speeds (provided its somewhat aerodynamic).

            For people like that a Prius is not the easy win after all. Yes enviromentalist cried foul after Top Gear made a BMW chase a Prius and then recorded gas mileage. But the point stands..

            Different ways of driving create huge differences in real world gas mileage. For some people diesel comes out ahead – and its probably in relatively short time.

            As for the torque advantage of diesels though – call me crazy but its mostly the fact that they have turbos. The new DI gas engines with turbo match their torque numbers very well – and rev high to produce more power.

            For the cruze 2.0 liter diesel makes 258 lbs of torque. But so does the Audi 2.0t. And it comes on at 1500rpm and makes upward of 211 horses instead of 148. Diesels have a narrow power band most of the time. Its fine for a truck but gas engines still tend to beat em.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Jaje, the price of diesel fuel shot up relative to gasoline when the EPA standards changed to require a more complex process to make ultra low sulfur diesel. Went from about the same price as regular gasoline to about $0.40/gallon more expensive here in Texas. However, the Dallas Fed analysis and model shows a much smaller price effect of the ultra low sulfur diesel regulation.

      http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research/eclett/2009/el0909.pdf

      It’s possible that the Dallas Fed model doesn’t include indirect regulatory effects when it’s more profitable to export high sulfur diesel than clean it up to US standards. In addition, the recession price drop in diesel fuel price might have masked part of the regulatory cost in their 2009 analysis.

      Old diesel engines are tough beasts that can frequently run on relatively crappy fuel like red dye farm diesel, heating oil, filtered vegetable oil, etc. Even heard of some diesel engines that could run on light unrefined crude oil. Really cool if you’re cheapskate and/or a prepper. New diesel engines are expensive, relatively complex and fragile, and require relatively high quality diesel fuel that’s no longer a bargain relative to gasoline.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    One factor when discussing VW vs VW: TSI engines are most efficient running high test. The cost of premium unleaded is usually closer to that of diesel, which likely makes the latter more attractive. Certainly not so much in a car like the 2.5 Jetta, however a better comparison will be next years GTI/GTD twins.

  • avatar
    AFX

    I’m inspired by the recent articles here:

    Let’s say instead of comparing this diesel Cruze to the gas powered one, we compare the car to a Lamborghini Gallardo instead.

    For around $25-26,000 for the price of the Cruze diesel you could have yourself a Factory Five GTM kit car.

    The GTM weighs around 600-700lbs less than the Cruze, or the Gallardo.

    Now take the diesel engine out of the Cruze and drop it into the GTM, and add the new 10-speed transmission GM is working on.

    Now you’ve got yourself a mid-engined sportscar that’ll get better mileage than both the Cruze and the Gallardo, at a fraction of the cost of the Gallardo, and with the 10-speed transmission you could have a granny gear on the low end, and top gear could be geared really really high.

    Even if you couldn’t outrace the Gallardo in a straight line, you could still beat it at gas mileage, and while the Gallardo is stopping 3-4 times for gas you could keep on truckin’. It’d be the perfect case of the tortise and the hare.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    From some of the comments here people are making direct comparison between diesel vs gas vehicles. In the real world this isn’t how some people choose a vehicle.

    The first thing you do is see how much cash you can invest into a vehicle, then you search for one.

    A person searching for the cheapest Cruze will not buy a diesel version. But a person who goes out with $25 000 looking for an economical vehicle will have a better chance at buying a diesel.

    Diesel will perform better on the market because of what I just mentioned above. This is also shown by the takeup of diesels in the US.

    As for the ‘powerband’ debate with diesels, diesels used to generally have a longer stroke, thus reducing the torque band width. Gas engines with longer strokes will have the same characteristics.

    Most modern light car diesels in the Eurozone are becoming more over square. This is broadening the powerband.

    Diesels still have a lot more development potential in comparison to gas engines.

    The only drawback at the moment with diesels is I wouldn’t buy one if you don’t run it for more than 10-15min on a normal drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      “Diesels still have a lot more development potential in comparison to gas engines.”

      I think petrol has more chances than Diesels. Diesels are under threat from tightening emissions regulations (and the increasingly expensive equipment needed to comply). And downsizing (DI+turbo) is bringing some of the benefits to petrol engines.

      “The only drawback at the moment with diesels is I wouldn’t buy one if you don’t run it for more than 10-15min on a normal drive.”

      Ditto, because of the DPF. Actually you can drive the car for shorts periods (couple of days) but eventually you need a good 10-15 min drive to clean the DPF. Something that customers many times don’t know.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Very few people in the US choose diesel for cars and with payback periods like projected for the Cruze that isn’t going to change any time soon. In the US most people don’t set a budget on how much they are going to spend in total for the car they look at the monthly payment, So get a 6 year loan on the diesel instead of a 5 year loan on the gasser and you are good to go.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      “As for the ‘powerband’ debate with diesels, diesels used to generally have a longer stroke, thus reducing the torque band width. Gas engines with longer strokes will have the same characteristics.”

      Tell that to Honda. The old K24 in the TSX is 87x 99 mm bore and stroke, revs to 7100 and has trouble pulling the skin off a rice pudding below 3,000 rpm. The new Earth Dreams K24 has the same dimensions, bit is tuned for about 500 rpm less and more torque. The Civic and Fit are also quite undersquare as well.

      Engines are going more undersquare, not less, to get a high CR with reasonable combustion chamber shape. Revs? Hardly a problem these days – the new Mazda diesel goes past 5000 rpm and is undersquare.

      The reason diesels are low speed is that the combustion process is about three times longer than gasoline. Which is why the better diesels have 3 to 5 mini injections rather than one long squirt.

      Read Engineering Tips archives on engine engineering to get yourself past the old wives’ tale about long stroke equals more torque and necessarily low rpm. We shouldn’t be rabbiting on about the latest ideas from 1963 any more.

      • 0 avatar
        d002

        Diesels don’t rev as high – because of the heavier pistons and crankshaft to cope with the higher compression. And because injecting fuel into the combustion chamber before the piston reaches TDC – needed when revving high – causes diesel knock. An old school V8 in comparison will freely rev up to 7 500 rpm.

        “The only drawback at the moment with diesels is I wouldn’t buy one if you don’t run it for more than 10-15min on a normal drive.”

        Only if you buy a Mazda.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “An old school V8 in comparison will freely rev up to 7 500 rpm.”

          Are you sure about that? I doubt many old school V8s had redlines that started with a 7.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Sounds suspect to me too. My 540 certainly does not rev to 7500, and I don’t think an engine designed in the 90s counts as “old-school.” Redline is 6500 for the 540.

            I realize it isn’t an engine meant for a sports car though. Maybe some older, more sporting V8s rev that high, but definitely not common.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            It’s incredibly suspect. My guess is that a rev-limiter on a Ford Windsor V8, for example, is probably more like 5500 in some applications and something starting with a 6 in others.

            If you’re talking about something like a Boss 302 Trans Am, then maybe you could hit 8000 (and maybe even 9000 in some applications), but that wasn’t by any means routine, and those engines required different components to get there and were probably not all that reliable.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    As a marketing professional for a living – whomever gave final approval for the graphic should be fired.

    “on a single tank of gas”

    /facepalm

  • avatar
    henkdevries

    It also saves you time at the gas station and man do I really hate filling my car up.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Are diesels really that much more expensive to build than turbocharged gasoline engines?

  • avatar
    d002

    Let’s workshop this :

    Naturally aspirated 1.8L Cruze :
    7.0L /100km

    We do 20 000 km per year :

    (20 000/100) units x 7.0 L x $1.30 (Australian price)
    = $1 820

    Diesel Cruze :
    5.6L /100km

    (20 000/100) units x 5.6 L x $1.40
    = $1 568

    $3 000 / $252
    = 12 years payback, assuming a price premium of $3 000

    BUT, 1.4L Turbo-petrol
    6.4 L/100 km

    (20 000/100) units x 6.4 L x $1.30
    = $1 664
    price difference is just $300, so

    $300/($1 664 – $1 820)
    = 2 years.

    Buy the turbo petrol.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I can’t say I know about stroke vs. bore and how it effects engine performance. I can read a dyno though – and have driven a manual diesel. Its a very peaky engine.

    Diesels have to be the most overrated engines performance wise by car guys on the internet. It’s not just they don’t rev high. They have a tiny powerband compared to gas engine. Diesels guys seem to be selling you that diesels give you old school v8 performance. And it just doesn’t seem to be true.

    Old school V-8s give you power down low – and they rev up to 5500 or so without mcuh trouble (still producing useful power up there). The torque is not electric engine but its pancake flat compared to diesel.

    You can look at the dyno of the most flexible diesel engine in the world and it still stinks compared to modern gas engine.

    http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=136007

    And trust me that’s much better then most truck diesels which roll off even quicker. Truck engines actually seem to lose a ton of power near readline!

    Now compare that to a modern GAS engine..

    http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1202_2012_bmw_328i_n20_dyno_results/photo_04.html

    The gas engine not only makes a bit more power down low (its already at high torque levels at 1500 – it makes that power THROUGHOUT THE REV range. This means its tremendously flexible..

    And that means its a much much better engine to drive IRL with a manual. Those peaky diesel engines with manuals are a bad combination.

    If anything I would think they could work a tad better with an 8 speed automatic which wouldn’t mind shifting like a maniac. With the gas engine you can just leave it in second and drive around most of the city if you felt like it. It’s a really big difference.

    That being said – diesel engines can get awesome gas mileage. Geared right they can sit in their little peaky power band on the highway and run very efficently. In theory diesel engines can approach far higher efficency numbers then gas..

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @CelticPete
      It doesn’t matter what fuel a piston engine uses. The more you go oversquare the wider the torque spread.

      Also, if you are from NA, you probably haven’t been exposed to many diesels.

      Take the 3 litre V6 Renault powered Navara, you would hardly know the difference between it and a gas engine.

      Diesels have historically had undersquare strokes, this gives a more narrower torque band at lower rpms.

      I know you have your gas diehards and diesel diehards, but diesels in the future are changing.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Diesels are a fetish at this level and a 335d, I can understand. It’s clear the economics will never support diesel engines in anything not pulling a trailer heavier that the vehicle itself. Especially when you consider all expenses down the road and hopefully, no unscheduled (and out of warranty) maintenance. Yikers!


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