By on February 13, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

General Motors’ PR team and ad writers basically have their taglines and talking points written for them now that the Environmental Protection Agency has released fuel economy ratings for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel.

Rumblings from inside the Renaissance Center late last year caused much speculation as to the oil-sipping model’s thriftiness, and we were told GM was shooting for a 50 mile-per-gallon highway rating.

As it turns out, the Cruze crested that bar with room to spare.

Announced by a jubilant GM Monday morning, the EPA has estimated the Cruze’s highway mileage at 52 mpg — when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, anyway. City economy for that model is a far less exciting 30 mpg, or the same as a gas-powered, automatic transmission model. Combined, it works out to 37 mpg in mixed driving.

When compared to the previous-generation model, the new diesel sees an 8 mpg jump on the highway, and a 5 mpg increase in combined fuel economy. Estimated range, according to GM, is 702 miles.

The nine-speed automatic that gives the gasoline Cruze its marketable 40 mpg highway rating doesn’t work the same magic for the Cruze Diesel, however. EPA estimates for that model ring in at 47 mph highway, 31 mpg city, and the same combined figure as stick shift units. If you’re prone to long road trips, the transmission choice is clear.

While class-leading economy is great, what’s more important to GM — especially in this day and age — is an EPA seal of approval for the Cruze Diesel’s tailpipe emissions. The 1.6-liter turbodiesel apparently passed with flying, or at least satisfactory, colors. As such, the engine’s Tier 3 compliance keeps the engine viable through 2025.

Making 137 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque in the Cruze, GM’s new oil burner is also found in the downsized 2018 Equinox. Fuel economy figures for the diesel ‘Nox have not been released.

[Image: General Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

59 Comments on “Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Captures All the MPGs, on the Highway at Least...”


  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Prius two Eco model at 53 beats it by 1 mpg highway, Beating that figure would’ve been a heck of a talking point for GM, but then there’s the city mpg to consider. Too bad the Prius doesn’t have similar horsepower and torque figures however .

    • 0 avatar
      1998redwagon

      too bad the prius doesn’t have a mt.

    • 0 avatar
      boost135

      Great. Now that it’s certified until 2015, stab this diesel onto a Voltec unit as the Generator to clutch into the planetary gearset at highway speeds. That way you can have your city driving MPGe and the diesel to kick in when electric isn’t as impressive (70 + MPH interstate).

      • 0 avatar
        boost135

        Meant certified until 2025 above…

      • 0 avatar
        gespo04

        That’s effing brilliant. Why aren’t there any diesel hybrids in the US?

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Building a diesel is expensive. Building a hybrid is expensive. Building a hybrid diesel is double-expensive.

          Also: With a gas hybrid, the ICE can run on the Atkinson cycle, which is more efficient but lacks torque, because the electric motor provides the needed torque. But with a diesel, you’d have TWO powerplants specializing in fat low-end torque without anything providing top end performance. Great for a locomotive. Less great for a car.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Pedantic note – diesel-electric locomotives are not diesel-electric for fuel economy (with a couple of rare, minor exceptions). The Europeans have long proved that a diesel-mechanical or hydraulic is more efficient. But nobody has come up with anything else that will survive in American low-speed heavy drag freight service. It’s the most rugged way to get up to 6000hp to rails, but it is not the most efficient way.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Because the Prius is about as exciting as a fence post, and as ugly as it can be. While the Cruze will be far more entertaining, with loads of torque and a manual in stylish (from behind, just average up front but miles ahead of the 2017 Saturn Ion.. oops, I mean Prius) a hatchback body, it sounds like a great way to hot hate your commute.

      I’d take the Cruze any day.

  • avatar
    Von

    That is certainly impressive, maybe it’s time to look into GM stock now. Is Barra starting to change the culture?

    Ford has decent financial metrics (with a couple of notable exceptions on debt and capital employed), but wall st. just doesn’t seem to believe in Ford’s future. But with the big gamble into mobility, it may pay off in the long term.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is this engine going to be offered across the Curze range?

    I saw my first Cruze hatch in the wild yesterday. Considerably better looking than I though it would be and more cohesive looking than the sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      1998redwagon

      principal dan next time you see one look at it closely. the rear end is truncated compared to the sedan and actually has a smaller space aft of the rear axle. how gm manages the side window design is something that i am certain makes auto designers cringe (hey, steve here’s an easy lob article coming your way!)

      still at 52mpg and a 6mt i am interested.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      More interesting is that this engine is going into the Equinox. It should beat 40 MPG highway I would expect.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Deduct 10% for the price premium of diesel if you want to consider TCO.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      SCE to Aux,
      As a former TDI driver the price of diesel has been all the place for part of this year it was less than RUG in NJ, I have not been in this new version of the cruz but the ones I have rented 2015 were ok but the interior is nothing to write home about. Any idea what size tank this has ? If you being fair in TCO diesels tend to have a price premium in resale or at least they had in the past w VW

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      For the last year or so the price of diesel has been lower and that 10% summer 15% winter price premium vs reg gas hasn’t been the case. Around here the premium has been less than 5% most of the winter and it was pretty much on par last summer. Of course that varies by location. Either way you do need to account for that DEF which will be 2-3% of the fuel used.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SCE to AUX,
      You are an ardent advocate of EVs and the taxpayer subsidising these uncompetitive vehicles.

      How can you now make your above comment regarding this CO2 reducing non-subsidised (comparatively speaking) vehicle?

      It is a better and more cost effective, viable (fuelling instructure) and taxpayer friendly vehicle.

      So much for your green credentials.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Big Al:”So much for your green credentials.”

        Not all of us like EVs for the green credentials or cost of ownership. I like them for the instant torque, the smoothness, and the quiet. Personally, I think that’s why most people buy them. As to my own green credentials, I don’t have a leg to stand on since most of my income comes from oil production. :^)

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          mcs,
          SCE has stated numerous time he strongly supports “green” measures.

          I believe in climate change, but I do believe in nuclear power, replacing oil heaters with gas, etc.

          This would be achievable at a lower cost than EVs, solar, wind, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Where I live it’s been more like 15-17% more expensive, but then there aren’t that many diesel stations nearby. Then factor in the cost of DEF as well.

      Still, looking at the AT model for diesel and gas, you’re getting about 17.5% more highway mileage per gallon with the diesel. Assuming that the MT’s compare similarly it makes the math on the diesel a little less favorable. Unless you like torquey little cars.

  • avatar
    Rday

    DIesels are great but the environmental systems are unproven and so is their long term reliability. Old diesels would run forever but not sure about the new ones with their def fluids and complicated clean air systems. The prius systems are pretty much bullet proof and extremely reliable. my rav hybrid is just one of the best vehicles i have ever driven. truly amazing and i am getting 30+ mpg and no def fluids to mess with like in my gmc diesel. My GF’s prius V has almost 80k is two years old and has not been back to the dealer. getting almost 40mpg and can carry a huge amount of stuff for such a small car.
    I just don’ think that the new diesels in cars will really catch on with their long term reliability in question and plus diesel fuel is more expensive than gas. sometimes alot more!!

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Prius is not bullet proof. And they are expensive to repair.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        and have interiors that look like they’re made of mouse fur, ride poorly, handle poorly for the size and with no feedback, have poor NVH at highway speeds (at least the older generations I haven’t driven/ridden in the newest one), and look horrifically ugly now.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “Prius is not bullet proof. And they are expensive to repair.”

          Yeah, pretty much any caliber will penetrate it. As far as repair costs, it depends on if the round hits anything critical. Otherwise, a little bondo does the trick.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “Prius is not bullet proof. And they are expensive to repair.”

        About as bulletproof as anything else out there, and no not really any more expensive to repair. Ample supply of batteries from wrecked cars, or even aftermarket replacement cells you can buy on RockAuto. The batteries have generally been lasting 200k-300k+ anyways, comparable to many regular cars’ auto transmissions (which are at least as expensive as battery replacement, probably more with labor accounted for). The only failures I heard of on older Prii are the inverter cooling pump (easy DIY), and some upper-trim cars with HID lights had some headlight issues.

        I would most definitely pick a Prius over a modern diesel as far as longevity and overall cost of ownership are concerned.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    yes there will be a premium for the diesel engine and in most states diesel is more expensive than gasoline. the epa difference is what, like 5 miles per gallon? (47 v 52?) each individual will drive a different set of miles per year and a different mix of highway v city miles. do your math for your own application.

    when i did the math in 2013 one of the things i relied on what data from fuelly.com. i found that the epa estimate for the car i wanted was *lower* than the actual mileage that folks were reporting on fuelly. that’s because the epa cycle test is not real world highway driving for me. that changed my math and made purchasing a diesel an easy decision for me. (course no one told me i would be driving dirty either.)

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      The question will be if these cars can beat EPA ratings like VW’s diesels did or if that was due to the emissions cheats. If they beat the ratings by even a bit, 55 real world MPG vs ~45 real world in the gas engine would be quite something.

  • avatar
    ajla

    FWIW, the difference between 47 and 52 if one drives 12000 miles a year and diesel costs *$6/gal* is about $150 per year.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Why is the choice of transmission clear? Driving 15k miles/year on the highway, the difference in fuel consumption (47mpg vs 52 mpg) is something like 30 gallons per year (288 vs 319). Or around $100 per year in fuel. When you get up to the 50 mpg+ level, 5 mpg more or less doesn’t have a huge impact. That’s why mpg is a little misleading. gpm would be a more linear measure. Moving from 10 mpg to 15 mpg has WAY more impact on fuel consumption (in terms of gallons of fuel saved annually) than going from 80 to 100 mpg.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Wait, the gas Cruze has the 9 speed already? I thought that was only for the diesel versions so far.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    If somebody likes the big torque, I can see the reason for buying.

    But if you’re looking at life cycle cost over many years / miles, I’m still thinking most of these new EPA compliant diesels are not going to be the cheapest route, due to maintenance / repairs.

    The fact that UPS has gone back to gassers in their neighborhood delivery trucks has me wondering…those guys know how to calculate cost per mile.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @indi500fan
      Outside of the US/ Canada no other country runs a petrol delivery vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      TCragg

      Former UPS manager speaking here. UPS runs a mix of delivery vehicles (and propulsion technologies) depending on the region and operating conditions. Diesel is still very much in the mix. UPS does not like to put all its eggs in one basket in terms of engine type, due to the fluctuations in the prices of diesel vs. gasoline. Many of the package cars in Canada are propane-powered, and UPS now runs a significant number of electric-only vehicles in urban centres. Cost per mile/km is important, but so is hedging on fuel prices. Remember that UPS also runs delivery vehicles for 15-25 years, so whatever investment is made, it is not short-term.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Sounds great for those who can’t afford gas, but can afford a new car.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Dave W

    Here in central VT diesel $.30-.50 higher then regular (when I notice) and particularly in the winter when it’s competing with fuel oil for production slots it can be higher (If you want to fill from your home heating tank it will be cheaper, just slightly illegal). In the past I did look into cooking my own bio diesel but it’s a bit of a pain and between root oil stock and methanol and electricity it didn’t make sense for me to pursue.

    Right now, with studded tires, on snowy, slushy, Icy, roads and occasional sub-zero weather, My C-Max is averaging just below 50 MPG so I’m having a hard time seeing this diesel in my future. I am getting the equivalent of an extra .3 gallon of gas a day plugging in at home, but so far it’s not illegal to use non road tax electricity to drive on public roads.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      That’s impressive and why I’m probably buying a C-Max when turn-in time comes for my TDI. Diesel doesn’t make sense any longer, at least for me when hybrids have come so far.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    We’ve owned a number of VW diesels. Turbo and non. The earliest one was, if I recall, a 1981 model, and the last was a 2009. Golfs, Beetles, Rabbits, Jettas.

    Despite a diesel vehicle being the norm in our driveway for quite a while, the shine has worn off the idea, for us, to a large extent.

    It’s not one single thing, but rather a few factors, for me. Diesel emission systems have become more complex, perhaps a tad more fragile/maintenance intensive/costly. Diesel MPG advances don’t seem to have kept pace with the same from gasoline powered cars. 15 years ago, my wife’s manual TDI New Beetle delivered far better fuel economy than the same car with a gas engine. It felt faster than the car with the gas engine. There was no DPF or such to worry about. Fuel, back then, had plenty of sulfur in it, so no worries about the fuel pump randomly turning into a grenade due to lack of fuel lubricity. Also, you couldn’t walk down the street to the Toyota dealer and get an excellent Prius with even better MPG for reasonable money.

    I get it, diesel has torque, the power delivery characteristics, etc.

    Still, I think the case for owning a small diesel passenger car is weaker today than it was a decade and a half ago. A turbo Civic gets you 40+ MPG, is probably quicker than a Cruze diesel, probably more reliable, and likely has better resale. If speed is of no concern and maximum economy is, a Prius will do better on gas and probably outlast a Cruze, despite being aesthetically challenged.

    I don’t know. I’m still a little bit tempted by the Cruze due to the weird factor and the hatch body style, not to mention the MT. But I think it’s a relatively hard buy to justify these days when there are a lot of really good, very economical small cars to choose from that probably involve less hassle and less potential downside risk.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      It will be interesting to compare the real world MPG, since the small turbo gas engines have a reputation for falling short of the EPA numbers, while the diesels have the reputation of exceeding them. I’m curious whether that holds up in this latest generation too.

      • 0 avatar
        syncro87

        Yeah, it will be interesting. Our gas-engine Jetta 1.4TSI over performed. It was easy to exceed 40 on the highway, and I never got less than mid 30’s in town with the A/C cranked. Typical average whole tank FE was 36-38 depending on conditions. Same with our turbo Civic. Wife drives with no particular regard to FE, is averaging just shy of 40 combined, and can easily exceed that on the highway.

        A diesel Cruze would probably have to average considerably better than 40 combined MPG for me to be able to justify dealing with the downsides.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I agree with you very much. I have owned a good number of diesels, and really like the way they drive, but at this point a small gas turbo is the way to go unless you are driving a zillion miles a year (maybe not even then). The VW 1.4TSI is a great example, pretty much the same performance envelope and fuel economy as the 2.0TDI, for thousands less. Even my 2.0TSI GTI is getting 30mpg around town and 35 on the highway, well into diminishing returns above those numbers.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Interesting discussion, refreshingly free of idiology.

    I don’t think anyone mentioned the higher energy density of diesel, which should be factored into mileage comparisons.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • NexWest: I’m a current owner of a Honda Element. I get about 18 mpg around the city [Chicago]. The more I look...
  • JD-Shifty: Why buy this instead of a Ridgeline?
  • NexWest: I’m a current owner of a Honda Element. I get about 18 mpg around the city [Chicago]. The more I look...
  • Inside Looking Out: “they weren’t being drained of their wages by health care costs” Are you talking...
  • Inside Looking Out: Exactly, like cable TV which I cut long time ago. And sound quality is worse that compact...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber