A few years back, the Cruze Eco, with its six-speed stick, special final-drive ratio, weight reduction and extra-greasy aerodynamics, turned fuel-mileage near the top of anything I’d ever driven: just 6 l/100 km. For where and how I drive, that’s the best mileage I’ve recorded in a conventional gas-powered vehicle, and among the best of all time, and all without hybrid or diesel power.

This time around, my tester got the latter. Called into action from GM’s global product portfolio, the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel intends to give shoppers yet another fuel-saving alternative in the small car segment, and, hopefully, to steal some thunder from the Jetta TDI, which for years was the only diesel-powered small car on the block. A friend who sells Volkswagens for a living welcomed the launch of the Cruze Diesel, figuring it would help drive much-needed awareness of the benefits of modern diesels, and help both automakers to sell more diesel-powered rides.

(Or, maybe not, with the whole VW emissions kerfuffle that surfaced somewhat ironically while this piece was being finalized – at which point the Cruze Diesel became the only diesel-powered compact car available for sale in Canada.)


Behind Cruze’s recently-updated but aging fascia, is a 2.0L dual-cam turbodiesel four-cylinder, good for 151 hp and a potent 264 lb-ft of torque. That’s a single horsepower more than the VW TDI engine, but an advantage of more than 30 lb-ft in the torque department, for output that once required the use of a gasoline V8 engine. Here though, modern diesel and turbocharging technology see it dispensed by four little cylinders in an engine that gets silly-good mileage.

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