April 23rd, 2013 by Steve Cypher

Chevys latest compression ignition oil burner achieves the best highway EPA numbers of any non hybrid sold in the U S of A

Intro on the down low

Back in February, the introduction of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel was one of just a handful of new car introductions at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. It was also, at least by GM standards, fairly low key.

There was no smoke, laser lighting or pulsating music to accompany its unveiling. Also noticeably absent were any of the General’s high-level executives.

I only mention this because perhaps they should’ve made a bigger deal of it since, as of last week, the stepchild of the Cruze lineup according to the EPA achieves an estimated highway mileage figure of 46 mpg, better than any other non-hybrid passenger car in America.

According to GM, Equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, the latest addition to the Cruze powertrain family has an estimated range of 700 highway miles on one tank of diesel fuel based on the EPA highway estimate and the vehicle’s fuel tank capacity. That’s about 10 hours of highway driving.

The rest of the story

But perhaps that introduction on the down low was on purpose as the Cruze oil burner has an MSRP of $25,695, a figure that includes the requisite $810 destination charge. According to WardsAuto which recently crunched the numbers, that figure is”15.1% more than a comparably equipped model with a 1.4L turbo gasoline engine achieving 38 mpg (6.2 L/100 km) highway.”

Wards also duly pointed out that “The diesel costs 23.1% more than an Eco version of the Cruze with fuel-saving technology rated at 42 mpg (5.6 L/100 km).”

But the fact remains that, given the choice between a gas/electric hybrid and a clean diesel as a daily driver; yours truly would pick the oil burner all day long.

On the other hand, if I were offered the choice between the Cruze diesel and, say, a Mazda Mazda3 Skyactiv, the Mazda, a fantastic handling compact with an EPA estimated 39 mpg highway and a base price, with automatic, of $20,020, would be the clear winner.

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