2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel live photos: 2013 Chicago Auto Show

Actually, it was me burning the midnight oil…I was almost off to bed…but then my benevolent editor summoned me to write this article. As always, duty calls.

But I digress.

Normally, the words “clean” and “diesel” don’t go together, but nowadays, you can’t have one without the other. On top of that, if you want the vehicle to go anywhere, you had better add a “turbo” to that. Turbo diesels are nothing new in America, as far as trucks are concerned…you’re likely to find one in the bigger versions of a Ford, Dodge, and Chevy. Although Chevy is familiar the the truck side of things, having oil burners in cars…well, you’d have to go back to the early 80’s to find one in a GM product. Like most vehicles in the 80’s, it’s best that we don’t take that trip down memory lane.

Fast forward to today…Chevrolet is introducing a clean turbo diesel in their enormously popular C-segment car, the Cruze. More specifically, it’ll feature an 2.0L engine that will be the cleanest passenger car diesel engine that the General has ever produced. Definitely more so than what was in that Olds from way back when…but they’ve learned a thing or two since then.

“Chevrolet has a diverse portfolio of products and technologies to meet the needs of the most discerning customer, whether it’s driving across town gas free in a Spark EV or cross-country  in a clean turbo diesel,” said Chris Perry, Chevrolet vice president of marketing.

For starters, clean diesels produce at least 90 percent less Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), as well as particulate emissions, when compared to previous-generation diesel engines. Moreover, while this particular one will produce only 148 horsepower, most people know that where the oil burner really shines performance wise is the amount of torque that it can produce…a staggering 258 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers exceed the standard bearer in this niche, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI (when equipped with an automatic transmission), as well as similar sized engines coming out of Bavaria, that currently dominate the American market. Of course, the most important number when talking about diesels is the fuel economy numbers…and based on GM’s testing, it should return around 42 miles per gallon.

“Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is the most sophisticated passenger car diesel engine GM has ever produced,” said Jens Wartha, GM global program manager and chief engineer for the Cruze’s diesel engine. “We merged European diesel expertise with the real world driving preferences of North American consumers.”

The Cruze comes in at a starting price of $25,695, which of course excludes the $810 destination charge (in case you were wondering, the destination charge is the average amount that it takes to ship vehicles all over the continental United States…this makes it fair for dealers to compete that are far away, as opposed to dealers that are close by the production plants). Although this price may seem high for a C-segment car, it does come with a good amount of kit, including a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, a beefed-up alternator and battery, 17-inch alloy wheels (taking a page out of the Golf TDI’s playbook), a rear spoiler, an “Aero Performance Package”, and leather seating surfaces. In addition to all of that kit, Chevy is also throwing in their infotainment system, dubbed “MyLink”, as well as a two-year maintenance plan, and an 5 year/100K powertrain warranty (whichever comes first).

“Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel fills an important role in Chevrolet’s diverse four-cylinder lineup, and is primed to win over diesel devotees and compact car buyers with its performance, torque and fuel economy,” said Perry. “We leveraged engineering expertise from around the globe to develop a world-class, low-emissions engine to give U.S. and Canadian customers a car that’s both fun to drive and practical at the pump.”

The maintenance plan and the extended powertrain warranty should calm any fears over any residual concerns about the General’s last attempt to stuff a diesel into one of their cars…will it work? Only time will tell, but look for the newest version of the Cruze to hit Chevrolet dealerships this summer.

Photo Credit: General Motors

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