Chevrolet's new diesel-powered 2014 Cruze will offer 42 m.p.g. and surprising power this spring as GM tries to import Europe's favorite fuel-economy technology to the U.S.
The Cruze's 2.0-liter turbodiesel delivers more power and matches the highway fuel economy of diesels that have become cult favorites with Volkswagen buyers. The engine produces 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission will be standard equipment.
"We expect to offer more features and value" than the Volkswagen Golf and Jetta compacts, said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet's small-car marketing chief. "This car leverages our global capabilities to bring the technology to the United States."
Diesels power about 40% of Cruzes sold in Europe.
Prices start at $24,885, excluding the $810 destination charge. That's $795 more than the least-expensive Jetta with an automatic transmission.
Chevrolet hopes to make up for that with two years of free maintenance and such standard features as leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, hands-free phone capability, touch-screen controls and voice recognition. Chevrolet says the diesel Cruze out-accelerates the Jetta, hitting 60 m.p.h. in 8.6 seconds.
Production begins in Lordstown, Ohio, in April. GM builds the engine in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Sales should begin in May or June. Chevy will initially concentrate on markets where German automakers already sell a lot of diesels, such as the West Coast, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Denver. The car will be available in the whole country, including Detroit, within a few months. Landy expects to have plenty of capacity to meet demand, but won't say how many Chevrolet expects to sell.
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