Thanks to Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal, America’s semi-infatuation for diesel cars came to a halt. However, through all the distrust and turned heads, the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel soldiered on up until last year. And while the whole Cruze lineup is now extinct, let’s take a look back at the American compact car that dared to sip fuel from a different pump.
The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made its introduction in the Cruze lineup for the 2014 model year. Back then, it was offered in the Cruze’s sedan body style and competed with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Chevrolet took it out of the lineup after the 2015 model year, right before the redesign in 2016, and then reintroduced it in 2017 in both the sedan and hatchback body styles.
Ironically, the Cruze Diesel was offered right before the Volkswagen scandal and then reappeared after it. After the 2019 model year, the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel was discontinued along with the entire Cruze lineup.
The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel was offered in both the sedan and hatchback forms when it was around. Both body styles were able to fit five occupants comfortably, and the diesel trim level looked largely the same as all the other trim levels, with the addition of diesel badging.
The 2014 model rode on 17-inch wheels wrapped in low rolling-resistance tires while the newer model rode on 18-inch wheels and tires. Unlike other manufacturers, Chevrolet didn’t use any special wind-cheating design elements to get the stellar fuel economy ratings.
When it came out, the Cruze Diesel was powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged diesel four-cylinder engine that was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It produced 151 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque which was able to scoot the diesel-powered Cruze up to 60 mph in about 8.1 seconds.
After it’s redesign and re-release, the Cruze Diesel was again powered by a 2.0-liter, turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, but it now could be mated to either a nine-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.
However, this powertrain setup was down on power as it produced 137 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Despite the difference in the numbers, it’s acceleration performance was similar to the 2014 model mainly due to the overall 364-pound weight reduction in the new model.
For the 2014 model year, the Cruze Diesel achieved 27 mpg in the city and up to 44 mpg on the highway. In its latest, and revised, iteration its fuel economy was increased to 31 in the city and 47 on the highway.
While these fuel economy numbers were still behind those of hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, they still offered consumers a much more fuel-efficient way of commuting, especially with the added torque.
Is it worth it to buy one now?
When it was new, both times, the Chevy Cruze Diesel had an MSRP around $27,000. But in today’s market, you can currently find 2014 models priced from $5,000 to $7,000 and newer models anywhere from $14,000 to $20,000 depending on its year, mileage, and location.
We would say that it’s definitely a good purchase if you’re planning on going with a diesel car. In multiple tests, reviewers were able to get astronomical real-world fuel economy numbers and the price of diesel has gone down, an equation that could net you a lot of cash saved if you plan on going the oil-burning route.