GM confirms diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze for U.S. in 2013

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 22, 2011

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson confirmed the existence of a U.S. diesel Cruze. Slated to be introduced in 2013, this model would be the first Detroit passenger-vehicle diesel since the 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD sport-utility. It would also be the first diesel car to come from Detroit since the 1980s. Akerson was interviewed by USA TODAY.

In it, he said that he took the U.S. diesel Cruze for a drive. He added that the new diesels are now quiet and that the one with automatic transmission has a fuel economy rating “in the low- to mid-40s.” Currently, the Volkswagen Jetta is the only U.S.-market compact car with a diesel now.

The version with the automatic transmission is rated 30 mpg in town, 42 on the highway. When compared to similar-size gasoline engines, the diesel engines get 20% to 40% better mileage.

As a result, the model appeals highly to automakers that strive to meet U.S. fuel-economy regulations that are becoming stricter. But then, another factor that has to be considered is that lately, diesel fuel in the U.S. has averaged 5% to 10% higher than regular gas. In addition, diesel engines are more expensive than gas engines.

Since diesel vehicles need complex emissions gear, the price of diesel vehicles go up some more. A 39 mpg rating is achieved by GM's automatic gasoline-engine Chevy Cruze Eco on the highway. This means that a diesel should have a much better rating so that it would justify buying a more expensive car that uses costlier fuel.

Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, said that this is a “good thing” but it is “way ahead” than what the market is prepared for. He also noted that not all service stations offer diesel. Another challenge is that many people continue to believe that diesel is “smelly, loud, sooty.”

The design of the Chevy Cruze has a distinctive bold face, thanks in part to the two-tier front grille that sports the recognizable Chevrolet Bowtie logo. A curved roofline seamlessly connects to the steeply raked windscreen as well as the steeply sloping rear end pillars that give the Chevy Cruze a more athletic sports coupe proportion.

The sporty look is seen in the headlight housings that cover the corners and then go upward to the fenders and hood. It also has a short rear deck that is typically seen on sports coupes. There is minimal front and rear overhangs, pushing the wheels to the corners. All of these give the Chevy Cruze an aggressive appearance, especially with its confidently wide stance.

The Cruze is also longer and wider than most competitors. It has a tightly drawn body work that makes it look solid, while exterior trims were kept at a minimum, giving the car a top-quality aura. Overall, you can describe its looks as purposefully precise.

That same description is applicable to the car’s build quality. The body was assembled at Chevrolet’s Lordstown assembly plant, which has state-of-the-art body framing and welding equipment. The solid body structure used in the Cruze means that the plant has little production variance and a gap tolerance of up to 3 mm. What do all these mean for the customer? They get a beautiful new car that will feel solid and reliable as the years go by.

Redesigned interior

The Chevrolet Cruze's exterior design philosophy and the attention given to it are also evident in the car’s interiors. You have the twin-cockpit motif that you see in the Chevrolet Corvette. Only top-quality materials are used and you have soft-touch components and matte trim panels. All of these give the interiors a unique quality that is not commonly seen in other cars in the same segment.

The instrument panel is also extraordinary fitted with features that you would not typically find in a compact car. It has very detailed instruments with LED backlights. The LED lamps give off a crisp and ice-blue light for the analog instruments and the interior controls. You also have a driver information center that is standard in the Cruze, giving the driver a rich source of varied data.

You can also find the integrated center stack together with the instrument panels. This is where you would find the climate controls, the radio controls, and the infotainment display. The components located within the center stack have gap tolerances of less than 1 mm and the panel gaps between the instrument panel and the door are less than 5 mm. That best-in-class tolerances help give the interiors a sense of precision and refinement.

The pillar trim and headliner hints of quality craftsmanship as well. The headliner is covered with a knit material that helps the passenger compartment stay quieter. Moldings and the pillar trim are color coordinated with the headliner, and they also have the same grains. The seat inserts, however, are color-coordinated to the instrument panel’s accent trims. All of these make you feel like you are in a more expensive and much bigger sedan.

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