By on October 20, 2011

It’s a phenomenon with some precedent: import manufacturers will get nowhere with a certain bodystyle or drivetrain until one of the US domestic brands jumps on the bandwagon and popularizes it. And Jeff Breneman, executive director of the U.S. Coalition for Advanced Diesel Cars, is hoping the same dynamic plays out in the world of diesel power when Chevy brings its Cruze Diesel to the US. He tells WardsAuto

The fact that Chevy will offer a diesel Cruze in 2013 is huge. The gas-powered Cruze will get 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km), so the diesel is expected to get 50 mpg-plus (4.7 L/100 km), and that will make it a game-changer.

Ford, Toyota or Honda haven’t got a diesel for the U.S. yet, but get ready for 2013-2014. That’s when we’re going to see a lot more diesels.

And, as the diesel booster-in-chief, it’s not surprising that Breneman would come to that conclusion. But what are folks inside GM saying about the Cruze diesel? In a recent interview with TTAC, senior advisor Bob Lutz suggested that we shouldn’t expect the Cruze diesel to conquer America or “change the game” all that much.

Our conversation had turned to emissions regulation, and Lutz had just mentioned that Europeans “cheerfully” pay the equivalent of nearly $40k for a Cruze LTZ with a diesel engine. Since he brought up the Cruze diesel, I asked if he had any insight into the decision to bring it to the US. He answered.

Yeah, it’s almost impossible. We’ll do some because we’ve got  them in Europe anyway, and we’ll make them compliant and GM will sell a few just to show that we’re part of the game. But I don’t think anyone sees much of a future for diesels in the states because our emissions regulations are six times tougher than Euro 5, and multiple times tougher than Euro 6, which nobody even knows how to do yet. The companies that are selling diesels in the United States, last time I checked which was over a year ago, are all operating on EPA deviations. So nobody meets even current diesel emissions standards. The EPA renews the deviations on an annual basis, but they’re not  supposed to renew for more than three years.

It’s just so tough. You need the urea tank and everything, and in order to do the post-combustion NoX reduction in the catalyst, you have to deviate fuel to the catalyst because every two minutes a burn takes place to fry all the oxides of nitrogen and particulates. Well, that reduces the diesel advantage. So now you’re talking $2,500 of hardware and a big urea tank, and instead of a 30% gain in fuel economy, you’re looking more like 18% or 20% and you’re using a fuel that costs 18-20% more per gallon than gasoline. You tell me how this makes sense.

I mean, it’s cool. Owners of Volkswagon diesels love to go around saying [affects a voice dripping with self-satisfaction] “I have a turbodiesel,” and everyone says “wow.” But Ford canceled their passenger car diesel program, they canceled their midsized SUV diesel program, we canceled ours, we canceled passenger car diesels for the US. We were at one point talking to Honda to see if we could collaborate jointly on, say, a two-liter diesel for passenger cars, and we both came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the trip. They were hopeful (and frankly so were we) that with all they know about engine and emissions that they would be able to somehow conquer this emissions conundrum… they gave up. So all the major producers gave up on diesels for the US.

Now, I don’t understand US and EU emissions regulations well enough to fact-check some of Lutz’s technical claims, but his deep pessimism can best be captured by his modest ambitions for the Cruze diesel. Lutz rarely misses an opportunity to praise a GM product, so his “we’ll sell a few just to show that we’re part of the game” line seems quite revealing. Unless things change fundamentally between now and its launch, I wouldn’t expect the Cruze diesel to blow the lid off the diesel market in the US.


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60 Comments on “Will Chevy’s Cruze Diesel Be A “Game Changer”? Lutz Thinks Not...”

  • avatar

    One of the things I like about Fuelly is the ability to compare cost of fuel per mile between different models. If above all you want to minimize that more relevant number, it appears diesel is not necessarily the way to go—not in the States, anyway.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Hoo boy, where to start. Lutz is exaggerating as usual, but his pessimism is unsurprising considering his notorious take on the Prius back in the day. US emission schemes aren’t so much ‘tougher’ as different. Euro specs focus on CO2 reduction, while CARB is hard on NOx and particulates. Still, VW, MB, and BMW all manage to get US-compliant diesel treatment setups on the showroom floor, and the Mazda Sky-D project took the simpler route of not producing so much NOx in the first place.

    • 0 avatar

      If you read Bob’s description, he is saying that VW, MB, and BMW are all operating off of EPA deviations, meaning that they aren’t compliant, but have a wavier. Not good after 3 years.

      Will the Sky-D project even be available in the US? One would hope so, but it might not be depending on what regulations are.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Bob Lutz says lots of things. A quick search in the Goog didn’t show any reference to this EPA deviation business other than this exact post.

        IIRC the Sky-D is supposed to debut with the CX5 in another year or two.

      • 0 avatar

        The SkyActiv-D is claimed to be compliant with EPA regs–no deviations required. It also doesn’t require urea injection.

        Honestly, this quote sounds like a guy who simply isn’t plugged into what’s happening with diesels (he claims he hasn’t looked at it in a year or more). Clearly he isn’t interested in them, so I don’t expect his opinion to be the most informed.

        Now, I will say this–most Americans would not buy a diesel car because of their stigma, so his disinterest is understandable. BMW’s latest ads are addressing that, but we’ll just have to see what happens to public perceptions. If they don’t change, there won’t be a large enough market for more than a few strong, niche players. GM won’t be one of those because they aren’t pushing for it, nor does it appear they truly believe in them.

    • 0 avatar

      CO2 requirements are just mileage. Slippery car, lots of gears, hard tires, done deal. Has nothing to do with complex or expensive emissions equipment.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Honestly the biggest reason I’m interested in the Cruze diesel is to see how it’s performance compares to the other modles and not just in fuel economy but acceleration/top speed/handling/ect. Then you could view the Cruze diesel as possibly being worth the extra coin and extra fuel costs. Buying one just for its economy is like buying a hybrid just for the fuel economy, you’ll likely be sadly disapointed.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 – I thought a Cruze diesel would be the performance model of the range since any extra fuel economy would be eaten up by the extra cost of diesel. However the near doubling of torque and 15% increase in hp over the 1.4T certainly gives it the potential to be a mild sporting compact (if tuned that way).

  • avatar

    Euro Tier II BIN 5 diesel emissions requirements are beyond insane in trying to meet them. Just look at a current VW 2.0L TDI motor: there are two (2) EGR systems, a host of catalysts, the diesel particualte filter with its self immolation cleaning function, and fuel pressures that would cut steel with a pinhole leak stream. But at least it doesn’t use urea!

    VW sells buckets of TDI Jettas based on the cult status and the very clever marketing scheme of only offering the car with either a boat anchor of a motor or the grunty little TDI. The 2.0T gasser isn’t offered on anything but the GLI version of the sedan. You can’t even get it in the wagon.

    This is where I get flamed, but unless you drive a TON of miles, tow many tons of junk, or are rather bad at fuel economy math, you’d be a fool to want a diesel engine in this country.

    • 0 avatar

      you’d be a fool to want a diesel engine in this country.

      Why can’t you just like it because it’s cool? We’re talking about a car – it doesn’t have to be 100% about bottom line practicality – does it?

      • 0 avatar

        Because putting them in suppository looking FWD appliances with non defeat stability control and eleventeen airbags cancels out any cool and then some.

        In a 3/4 ton truck on the other hand…

    • 0 avatar

      I guess I’m a fool then as I recently bought a used JGC diesel (3.0 CDI). We got back from a long family road trip (over 800 miles) and got an average of 24mpg whereas the v8 equivalent of the same vehicle would get about 16-18 mpg. Oh – and it can tow up to 7,300 lbs more than my 08 Silverado w/ 5.3 v8 that I could only get a best 17 mpg highway. And I was not driving the diesel versus the gas any differently as we used to use the pickup for family car travel as it was an extended cab. So pity this fool.

      Just check and average mpg in the Diesel is 22mpg and 14mpg in the 5.7 liter v8 (picked these b/c of similar trimlines, weight and towing capacity). You get almost 10mpg better on average is quite a delta to say Diesel is only the choice a fool would make. You also spend ~ $500 less in fuel per year with the diesel option (based in average mpg and same miles driven). Plus pollute less Co2.

      • 0 avatar

        A slightly older diesel is a bit different. Not as many emission issues. My buddy is a huge diesel fan. He owns three 6.2L diesel suburbans and two 5.9L Cummins Dodges. If he could buy a new 2007 or earlier Ram I have no doubt he’d do it tomorrow, but he doesn’t want a new one. A ’98 would be ideal.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Have to agree with Old Bob on this, Americans just don’t like diesel cars all that much, besides the cost of diesel fuel does not help matters.

    • 0 avatar

      Volt, I’m not sure we yet know how Americans feel about diesels. Unless we’re shopping for full-size trucks or hate ourselves enough to put up with VW ‘customer service’, we really can’t find ’em in the showroom. I look forward to having a choice. Torque is cool.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Torque is cool.

        Amen,Brother. When I was an impressionable teen my Dad’s Hot Rod Magazine had an article (in one issue) on three engine builds each designed to maximize one factor over others: one for horsepower, one for durability, one for torque. I wore the ink off the pages talking about the high torque build. (Although the engine designed to be as durable as possible shared many characteristics with the torque build.)

  • avatar

    Those gauges aren’t pretty.

  • avatar

    He put a diesel on the wrong vehicle.

    Americans like what kind of vehicle? Big, heavy techno-laden crossovers and SUVs, this is where the low end torque of a diesel engine makes perfect sense. I’m glad the oil burner Cruze is coming over, but I think a diesel Colorado or diesel 1/2 ton makes way more sense. I think profit margins would be easier to reach on a diesel pickup too, where pickup drivers not only value torque, they need it and are willing to pay for it.

    Just look at how successful the diesel Jeep Liberty was. Jeep brought it over here as an experiment to see if there was a market for a light duty diesel SUV. Their initial goal was to sell 5,000 units. The last I heard they sold over 12,000 in one year before new EPA requirements killed off the VM Motori sourced mill.

    There’s that word again. EPA!

    • 0 avatar


      Because diesel is more expensive than gas here (the opposite of Europe), economy minded borrowers – i.e., Cruze buyers – may not be in on the joke. But how about an Escalade with 600 lb/ft of torque that gets 25 mpg? THAT might sell.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree; a turbodiesel in a half ton pickup or SUV makes a lot of sense, and the pricing/margins should be there to support the cost. The fuel savings would defiantly be there and the break even time would be much earlier. I would think that the diesel option would appeal to a lot of fleet and municipal buyers, plus contractors and SUV users with long commutes.

      Why this is not happening is a mystery to me.

    • 0 avatar

      GM and Ford were going to put one in their trucks at one point but changed their minds. A light duty pickup / suv with an efficient diesel engine would sell here as Ford is proving with its ecoboost v6 powered F150 trucks. Unfortunately the “ecoboost” engines were supposed to get better mpg than its v8 equivalants but that has not happened. What did happen though is the owners love the torque band of the ecoboost over the v8.

      The Liberty diesel was not that reliable as the Motori CDI was lower quality engine and the auto trans supplied with that model could not handle the torque load. Plus on a personal note, I hated the skinny small front driver and passenger footwells – if you were over 5’10” and had shoe size bigger than a size 9 it was very restrictive trying to drive often hitting both pedals at the same time (wonder why there wasn’t an “unintended acceleration” crisis with the Libertys).

      Diesel fuel costs more b/c the refining capacity is substantially smaller than available for gasoline and it costs slightly more to refine than normal gasoline. Once demand moves over to diesel and capacity swings it should lower the delta. I don’t mind paying premium prices for fuel when my diesel JGC gets good mpg. Diesel fuel has 33% more energy density than a comparable volume of gasoline – the same gripe we all had of why ethanol was a poor substitute for gasoline as it had 25% less energy density than gasoline. The image of soot spewing heavy duty trucks is just a bad image to overcome. You will overcome it by showing the ignorant public that they are clean, fuel efficient and reliable with low end torque on demand.

      Plus again there’s a misconception of what torque is. Everyone assumes an engine either makes torque or horsepower – this is not correct. All engines make torque – it is just where in the powerband this torque comes into play as HP is just a formula based on torque (5,252 rpm). That is why if you can spin an engine high you can get high hp #s based on low displacement – but the peak torque has to be made up high in the rpm band. Where engines make peak torque down low they have small HP #s b/c the equation does not amplify that number.

      • 0 avatar

        The new-ish low sulfur requirement of diesel also drives up its price. Those requirements are not exactly easy and necessitate significant quality controls that old diesel never needed. Even if production capacity increases, that component of price will not go away.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure how the diesel Cruze will sell, but I’m going to guess that they’ll probably sell every one they offer for sale. Look at what happened with the Liberty CRD years ago. Jeep planned to make something like 5000 of them and they supposedly sold 10000. Then they dropped it because of increased emission regulations.

    For recent news, VW is increasing production of Passat TDI SELs because they’re receiving more orders for that trim level than they expected. It could be due to pent up demand since the last time you could buy a Passat TDI in North America was 2005. People do want diesels. Just not everyone wants a diesel or even understands the difference in driving a diesel. But if manufacturers offer them and they don’t suck, they will be purchased.

    I personally won’t buy a modern diesel because of all the extra emission controls and the related “what ifs”. In a couple more years, there should be several examples of higher mileage 2009-2010 VW TDIs on the road. Then an informed decision can be made about how much it’s going to cost to keep the common rail engines running. I’m sticking with my ALH TDIs because the evils and expected failure costs are mostly known at the moment.

  • avatar

    Driving THE only Saab/exGM turbodiesel in America since ’04…a few things Ive noticed. See

    The fuel, while ULSD, is still inferior to Euro EN590 specs. Partially because of not enough, or ANY at least 47 Cetane bioDiesel in it. The refiners dont have an incentive to make higher(easier to meet emissions) CETANE dino-diesel because, frankly, they already sell or export(and get gasoline in return) ALL the maybe 40 Cetane they make. There is and always will be a worldwide demand for diesel. And dont let this get out…there is actually a glut of gasoline in America, which makes the crazy corn-ethanol “industry” always face huge price-pressure, among its other problems. Our lungs versus their profits.

    Diesels actually have the worst emission problems on cold-starts. Which means that all these folks that want to save the world by getting a diesel, but only drive a few miles a day shouldnt bother. But there is a whole bunch of vehicle types out there, Im thinking cops, cabs, livery and delivery vehicles that ARE running ALL the time. So puny, under 2-liter turbodiesels would/could/should be an excellent choice. Here in Chicago, I still see WAY to many CVPIs and now the cops have rear-drive Tahoes…ridiculous when fuel is and will continue to be ~$4/gal. And Ive never seen diesel be 20% more a gal, Bob.

    Its going to get down to continuing to drive vehicles that might get 15mpg or raising taxes and not funding pensions. Whatll it be?

  • avatar

    As a TDI driver for almost 10 years now, I can confidently claim the following–
    — compared to the gas alternative in the same car, the diesel gets 10-15 MPG more
    — unlike VW’s gas engines at the time, the diesel is quieter at speed, geared to turn slow & lazy-
    — here in Colorado, a turbo is your friend. The TDI pulls like a train on the highest inclines. The gasser turbo option would have given up advantages 1 and 2, above
    — the long-term resale value of desirable diesels is amazingly high. You can hardly find a used, un-wrecked VW TDI Beetle like mine on national used car listings for less than $6,000, and those few cars are rounding 200K miles. (Question: Name another non-exotic, non-vintage car that retains 30% of its new value after 10 years of heavy driving?)

    Beyond those objective facts, I’ll admit that I simply enjoy driving an alternative power plant, especially such a proven and uncomplicated one as the ALH engine of 1995-2005. At stoplights, the clatter of compression ignition helps compensate for the New Beetle’s overt femininity. I’ve come to enjoy visiting truck stops, pulling up beside the big rigs. Of course, that’s the only time most other drivers even notice it’s a diesel.

    So TDI has worked for me, on economic at well as economic grounds. Does anyone want to try to convince me it’s been the wrong car choice?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m inclined to agree. After eight years and just over 200k miles we’re still happy with our ’03 Jetta TDI. We aren’t putting as many miles on it as we used to, but I did make trips down to Virginia and Baltimore this year. It has been reliable (knock on wood), was paid off years ago and has more than paid for itself.

    • 0 avatar

      Name another non-exotic, non-vintage car that retains 30% of its new value after 10 years of heavy driving?


      • 0 avatar

        Well, I never said there weren’t any. Good to hear that about the Miata. As for the others, they don’t quite qualify as cheap-to-own cars. Considering all the gas they’d use over 200k miles, They’d need 100% resale residuals to come out even.

    • 0 avatar

      Glad to see I’m not the only one here who simply likes the diesel driving experience. For everyday driving, I like engines that push you along without any drama: V8 gassers, 4 cylinder turbodiesels, and whatever Jay Leno’s Doble steamer has under the hood.

      It’s more suited to North American driving than most people think.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, I have owned two diesel cars and one small diesel pickup, and still own a 1996 Passat TDI sedan. It’s a kick in the pants to drive and I love not getting any lower than 42mpg with it. And being able to drive from Seattle all the way into California without a single fillup is really cool as well!

        If only the rest of the car around the engine was a Toyota instead of a VW . . .

        I think may have forgotten that in the early 1980s, VW actually sold more diesel cars in the US than gassers. Low fuel prices (I was paying $.99/gal in 1984 while in college) helped to kill off the diesels back then and that’s a shame IMO. If we would have kept with it, the share of diesel passenger cars on the road today in this country would have been more along the lines of many European countries.

        Oh well . . .

      • 0 avatar

        You guys are all talking about the old diesels, before all the after-treatment crap. When you add the cost of the urea, the extra fuel, it almost makes it even with a gas engine.

  • avatar

    The Chevy Cruze can see close to 60 mpg if you want to work at it and cheat a bit. So if the diesel sees 10 more mpg I might have to reduce a few sproket teeth on the 70 mpg Suzuki two-cylinder.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    There is always the “fashion statement” element in a car purchase, which pertains to drivetrains as well as appearance. So, let’s forget about that.

    The polluting effects of diesels are the source of a great divide on either side of the Atlantic. The Europeans seem not too concerned about particulates (which are now too small to be visible) and are really focused on fuel economy of which CO2 emissions are a direct function. Here in the U.S. people are focused on particulates and NOx, partly because the higher summer temperatures that affect most of the U.S. vs. Western Europe promote NOx formation in the air.

    As far as US customers go, I have the sense that most economics-driven car buyers (i.e. not into fashion) are satisfied with something that gets mileage combined of 25-30 mpg. So, stuffing a diesel into an already thrifty doesn’t have much appeal. OTOH, as others have noted, people wanting SUVs/CUVs do not get that kind of mileage with a gasoline engine, so it would seem that they would be the most receptive to a diesel, assuming it offered a substantial incremental improvement. And the demonstration project for that was the diesel Jeep Liberty, the gasoline version of which was pretty thirsty.

    • 0 avatar

      The Europeans seem not too concerned about particulates (which are now too small to be visible)

      This is not necessarily good. Small particles stay suspended in air longer, move deeper into the lungs and the body has a hard time removing them.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      Thanks DC Bruce, that was a good look at the difference. I’ve always wondered why Europe allowed more dirty diesels, I guess the answer is that a different type of “dirt” is important to them.

      I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a diesel as my next car, I have a 60 mile round trip commute that’s mostly steady driving at 50-60 mph. Seems tailor made for a diesel, but as others have said I’d shy away since the only candidates that look good on paper are VWs. In the end I still think my best choice is to keep driving my 23mpg gas Lexus until it falls apart.

  • avatar

    it should be sold as a Cruze SS, 150 HP and 240 ft/lbs of torque the regular LT has 138 and 148 respectively so obviously it should be an SS priced at a premium but no markup like they do now that way we could sell the diesel as a performance package. but knowing GM, they WILL screw it up, because I sell em. and there is such potential in the Cruze that they will screw it. it’s a nice car but not a truly great car. the bones are there but not the motor.

  • avatar

    This will infuriate all the right people, but Maximum Bob Lutz is right. Have you ever been to Europe and noticed that they have to powerwash/sandblast all the precious monuments all the time? It’s the diesel particulates (& 2-stroke soot) from their lax emissions standards.

    Yes, Americans care MORE about the environment than the Euro-weenies do. The CARB/EPA have conspired to make diesels effectively illegal here, and only exist through a tug-of-war with another wing of the EPA that prizes mileage over everything else.

    I say this as someone who is shopping a Passat TDI to replace my Saab — growing family. I REALLY want a diesel Jeep, but I don’t know if I can wait until 2013 for the new Cherokee.

    • 0 avatar

      “Yes, Americans care MORE about the environment than the Euro-weenies do.”

      The most laughable thing I have ever heard.

      You’re telling me Americans are more environmentally conscious than Europeans? Last time I checked there are no V8 gas-guzzling Crown Victoria taxis in Europe. A Ford F-650 or F-450 isn’t sold here, not to mention a Ford F-150 – all gas-guzzlers and all outrageous cars.

      America has 4% of the worlds population, yet uses 25% of the worlds oil supply. Most of this oil consumption could be decreased if Americans just drove more fuel efficient cars by choice.

      But you don’t.

      So cut the BS about “Americans caring more about the environment”. There’s nothing “environmentally friendly” about a gas-guzzling ULEV Ford Excursion. Nothing.

  • avatar

    Bob forgot to mention one detail: The current Jetta TDI has been meeting emissions for four years (2009-present) and does not even have a urea system.

  • avatar

    Lutz is wrong, wrong, WRONG!

    the current US NOx standard of 1.5g

    Euro5 for diesels is 1.8g

    Euro6 for diesels calls for a 50% reduction

  • avatar

    If GM sold it with a $1000 premium they would have overwhelming success. Same goes for the light duty pickups.

  • avatar

    If they can build one that stays together and doesn’t self destruct it will be a smash hit no two ways about. Lutz is all wet on this one.

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    VW finally wants to make some money in the US and therefore strips the Jetta. They also strip the 2.0 gas engine from the previous Passat. They are, however, not stripping out the diesel engine – clearly, they believe it will make them money, at about 2,500 incremental price over a comparatively equipped gas engine.

    If GM can deliver a similarly good engine as VW, and at a similar price point, it will be a success.

  • avatar

    wheatridger- They don’t even sell the TDI in California.

    GM Diesel brings to mind 1980 Olds Wagons and Diesel Chevettes.

  • avatar

    Great article Ed. The access that TTAC gets is pretty astonishing. Bob freaking Lutz!

  • avatar

    Bob Lutz is simply wrong.

    I own a 335d that does 32 mpg with not 1 but 2 urea tanks. The current take rates for 335 is 50-50 between petrol & oil burner.

  • avatar

    Back to the Cruze– for me, it’s the most interesting Chevy in decades. A diesel Cruze is even more interesting, but I’d never invest in the initial production year, before their reliability is proven. And I wouldn’t be too influenced by the fuel mileage claims. The actual cost and fuel savings from higher MPGs are a case of diminishing returns: Over a hundred-mile trip, you can save one gallon by switching from a 25- to a 33-mpg car, but saving another gallon requires a jump up to 50 mpg. The way we calculate fuel economy in mpgs in the US seems less honest about the real benefits than the gallons/distance figures used in the UK and Canada, for example.

  • avatar

    While I cant comment on current automobile diesels since I don’t own one,I work for a large LTL Common carrier and we just purchased some new day cabs and to see the exhaust system is … has baffles,injectors and hell I don’t know what else but it MUST weigh at least 200 lbs.and spans about 3′
    I wonder how long these will last AND the service requirements???

    • 0 avatar

      What you are describing is the Diesel Particulate Filter or DPF. It’s a fancy name for a soot trap, and has injection of fuel for the periodic cleaning cycles (called regen) to burn the soot off of the filter element.

      Awhile back, videos of new Ford diesels with the DPF in regen were making the internet rounds, as FLAMES would shoot out the tailpipe! Pretty scary if you happen to be walking by on the sidewalk when this is happening. They tweaked the software controls to address this issue I believe.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        That would have been cool, man. Wish they’d have kept it, I’d have bought a diesel Cruze just to put on the show every so many thousand miles.

  • avatar

    I agree with Bob. (never thought I’d say that!)

    I don’t remember where I found these numbers, but the 50-state light-duty vehicle limit for emissions of nitrogen oxides is 0.07 grams per mile. In Western Europe, the limit is 0.29. While not 6x lower, it is 4x lower than Europe.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Considering the higher cost of the base engine, plus very costly aftertreatment necessary to comply with U.S. emissions requirements, it is hard to make a business case for diesels in cars here.
    As a matter of fact, VW’s best diesel, the Golf 6 Speed manual @34MPG, beats Cruze Eco combined fuel economy by only 1 MPG. Cruze matches the hwy economy of the VW, though the VW is rated 2MPG higher in the city.
    This slight economy advantage is more than offset by the higher price of diesel fuel compared to gasoline. Lutz has good points.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesel Golf is EPA rated in 2011 to get 30 city / 42 hwy with an annual fuel cost of $1,676. Whereas the gasoline Golf gets 24 city / 31 hwy with an annual fuel cost of $1,931. With the diesel the annual Co2 emitted was 6.2 versus 7.2 in the gas.

      Not sure what data you have that says diesel only gets 2 mpg better than gas b/c shows data completely different. Btw – both vehicles were automatic I used (the manual gas Golf did get 33 hwy).

      Btw – the urea price is ~$9.99 per quart and lasts about 10-12k miles.

      • 0 avatar

        He is talking about the Cruze Eco model with the stick shift: 28 city, 33 combined, 42hwy

      • 0 avatar

        My miss on stating that it is not fair to compare a diesel model from one OEM to the gas model of another – you have to compare the same model gas to diesel to get something more reliable.

        When the diesel cruze comes out and we have mileage from it to use as a direct comparison – then it will make sense to compare a vehicle with the cruze eco (and not differently designed and marketed car such as the golf tdi).

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      It may not be “fair”, but it is a reasonable comparison of similar sized cars. The point is that the best mileage diesels currently available don’t return exceptional mileage compared to the best gas cars, certainly not enough to offset the higher cost of diesel fuel. Good point that VW’s gas entries are far from the leaders in fuel economy and thus may not be a “fair” comparison with their own diesels. We will have to wait and see how the diesel Cruze performs.

  • avatar

    Aren’t you (the US) long done with the “diesel stigma”? How many people actually remember the brief effort by a single manufacturer to make diesel engines in a handful of models out of gas engines that, to the surprise of nobody who had half a clue, turned out to be utter garbage?

    Compare that to the number of people paying premiums for older VW and Merc diesels because they’re not only as efficient as new ones, they (and the cars around them) aren’t half as horrid to own and work on? Or to the number of 4BT/6BT enthusiasts?

    Bob mentions, but fails to expound on the real reason new diesels are so problematic in the US, and it has nothing to do with diesel technology itself: emissions regulations, and at least as significantly, the utterly asinine policy of US oil companies and taxation schemes that keep diesel priced above gasoline, when its actual production costs are well below.

    I drove a rental Ford Focus CRDI (not sure what year, but 09 at the oldest) in Turkey recently. Yes, it sounds like a tractor at lower revs. Underway, it’s no worse than a comparable gasser. It didn’t smell, it didn’t smoke, it never once needed its glowplugs despite near-freezing temperatures. I had it up to 190kph and it wasn’t done. It had no trouble doing 130k uphill with three people, while using well under 7l/100 (34mpg). About 5.5 (43mpg) at 120k, under 4 (58mpg) while tootling at 70k, all with people and cargo, standard tire inflation, rough Turkish roads. While the car around it is a poorly built econobox with good shocks, I invite anyone with the opportunity to drive one to do so, and just try to not get a sneaking suspicion that there are a lot of cases of head-in-wrong-orifice among the people responsible for deciding what cars get brought to the US.

  • avatar

    The Cruze diesel in the USA is going to get 50MPG hwy? I doubt that, at least won’t be labeled as such by the EPA. The VW Passat TDI is 43MPG hwy, with the EPA test cycle. Does GM have some secret diesel technology out there that VW isn’t doing?
    What’s the point when the Cruze Eco gas car is 42MPG hwy EPA rated?
    Diesels do have the advantage of being a lot more efficient at idle, so cops should use a V6 diesel instead of gas engine. And lots of torque.

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