Diesel Chevy Cruze to Bow at Chicago Auto Show

Sections: Fuel Economy, Powertrain

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The Chevrolet Cruze in LTZ trim

Diesel: Coming to a Chevrolet Cruze near you. (Photo courtesy General Motors.)

It’s sounding like Chevrolet will show a diesel-engined version of its Cruze compact sedan at the Chicago Auto Show in February.

Detroit News reported this week that a source within Chevrolet parent company General Motors confirmed the car was expected to be introduced Thursday, Feb. 7:

GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan confirmed Monday that the Detroit automaker will debut the Cruze diesel, expected out later this year, at the Chicago show.

The model is reportedly one of 13 new or updated vehicles GM plans to roll out in 2013. The article said GM plans to start production of the diesel Cruze in the second quarter of the year, with the car hitting dealer lots in April or May.

Though the Detroit News article didn’t go into engine specifics, it’s worth noting the Cruze diesel is already available in Europe, where it is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 161 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Reporting in the Washington Post, High Gear Media’s John Voelcker said the U.S. version of the diesel Cruze would be equipped with the AdBlue urea injection system, which shoots a urea-and-water mixture into an exhaust gas catalyst to convert nitrous oxide into relatively harmless nitrogen and water emissions. While the Cruze platform is widely expected to see its first major refresh for the 2015 model year, Voelcker said to expect the diesel engine to carry on into the new model relatively unchanged, given the amount of time and money GM has probably spent getting it EPA-compliant.

G.M. North America President Mark Reuss reportedly said the General is bullish on diesel passenger vehicles, despite reservations about the quality of the U.S. diesel fuel supply stream. As quoted in the Detroit News article:

“There’s a place for diesels here. There’s a place for diesels in the future, as well. At the end of the day, it’s still the most efficient thermodynamics of combustion that we have. The mass piece of it in the U.S. has been problematic. But now we’re beginning to produce clean diesels. We need some stability in the quality of fuel across the country, which that would help us calibrate and bring to market more effectively.”

The diesel Cruze will be built at GM’s Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio, where the automaker recently spent $200 million to prepare the factory for production of a new Cruze model, the article said.

Pricing info and fuel economy estimates on the diesel Cruze were not available at the time of this writing, though Voelcker hypothesized based on the model’s European fuel efficiency scores that the diesel engine would return even better fuel economy numbers than the currently available Cruze Eco, which achieves 42 MPG highway when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, according to the EPA.

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