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Transportation United States Technology

CEO Confirms Chevy To Sell Diesel Cruze In US 349

Posted by timothy
from the yeah-but-I-want-a-diesel-subaru-outback dept.
s122604 writes "For the first time in almost 30 years, a U.S. carmaker is planning to market a non-truck diesel vehicle in the U.S. — the Chevy Cruze. Estimated MPG for the automatic transmission version is in the mid 40s, which is better than the only other small diesel sedan sold in the U.S. (the Volkswagen Jetta), and slightly better than their gasoline powered 'Eco' model... I'd like to know what the MPG on the 6-speed manual version is."
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CEO Confirms Chevy To Sell Diesel Cruze In US

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  • by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:06AM (#36856026)

    There's other niceties with diesel, the engines last longer and run at a lower RPM. There's more torque, people buy horsepower but drive torque as the saying goes.

    There's no ignition system to worry about, no plugs and so on.

    The downside is the soot that comes out the back when accelerating hard.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:18AM (#36856078) Homepage Journal

      The down side is price. It can cost almost twice as much for the engine in a TD as in an ordinary gasser, and the price of the vehicle comes up significantly in such a case. It has to do partly with economies of scale, which is why auto manufacturers used to simply buy diesels for their light trucks; Dodge using Cummins and Ford using International-Navistar. And indeed, they always have and still do buy the engines for their heavier trucks; Everyone buys from everyone, except IIRC only Ford still buys from International. I believe everyone else is using a Cat or a Cummins; so does Ford. Chevrolet, as the owner of Allison, is the only company which didn't have to do this back in the day. Unfortunately for them, Allison totally blew the 6.5, which was designed to be built on gasser production lines. This is not precisely the same thing as saying that it was modified from a gas engine, but it's the next best thing.

      The good news for Chevy is that they no longer wear the "I can't build diesels" crown, that now goes to Ford. I just got the line from a euro mechanic who also owns a bunch of domestics, and who used to have a truck similar to mine but much older (with a 6.9 -- the 7.3 is a bored out 6.9, basically.) Ford has a coolant-filled EGR that frequently fails. Because the turbo is tucked into the valley to save space, the exhaust manifolds turn up instead of down. The result is that when the EGR fails (and it invariably does) the coolant empties into the cylinders. Very classy. The tendency away from Ford diesels worth buying actually began with the 7.3 powerstroke, which is the last machine worth buying from them, I believe it ended in 2000. In an effort to make the valve covers cheaper (I am not making this up) they put everything under the valve covers. As a result you have a valve cover gasket with wires and connectors integrated into it that frequently fails and costs a mint to replace.

      Finally, it costs about four to eight times as much for the 'stroke HPOP as for my fuel pump, and I get the same mileage as a 'stroke, and with the aftermarket turbo I have the same power as an early 7.3 'stroke without modifications.

      The best diesel I've ever messed with is the OM617.951 Mercedes engine, anemic by modern standards but I have all the power I need in my car. It's a work of art in a way that very few engines are, and it's matched by a truly excellent injection pump that can take a raft of abuse, unlike the DB-2 in my Ford... and which was also used by Chevy/Allison on the 6.2 and 6.5 lemons.

      • by RingDev (879105) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @02:25PM (#36858086) Homepage Journal

        I paid $21.5k for my 06 VW TDi Golf. At the same time the same model with the eco 4 cylinder gas engine was selling for just a hair over $19k.

        I get 45 miles per gallon, and I drive like my feet are made of led. I put 40 miles of interstate driving on to my car twice every day. Toss in a few random arrands and I'm easily doing 350+ miles per week. But I usually get 650-700 miles per tank. Only having to fill up every other week really takes the edge off of fuel price hikes. I bumped into a hyper miler last summer in an 06 Jetta TDi (sedan version of the Golf) he was getting 56mpg, and he was going to swap his 5th gear for a higher ratio and was projecting 60+ mpg.

        In 2010, my wife's car died. So we figured we'd get her a new one in the cash-for-clunkers deal. Only I wasn't about to shell out $500+ in car payments. So we went to the bank to see about refinancing the Golf. That's right, a CAR with enough equity to be able to refinance. With 40k miles and 4 years on it, it still blue booked for $17k. Compared to the gas version that had a KBB value in the $10-12k range.

        So yeah, the Diesel engine costs more. But if you intent on reselling your car in 5 years or so, you'll come out up on the deal. And if you don't intend to sell it, you'll come out ahead on fuel savings over the life of the car.

    • by Shivetya (243324) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:24AM (#36856418) Homepage Journal

      I have a 2010 Golf TDI, there is no soot, there is no smell either. Had a big doubter at work who spouted all those anti-diesel myths of days gone by come out with some others to see the car when I bought it. He even sat right behind the exhaust pipe when I started it and acknowledged all he could detect was hot air.

      My commute is 26 miles to work, 27 on the way home; yeah its not the same, based on traffic patterns. I track my fuel usage on fueleconomy.gov and my average since June of 2010 has been 41.7. My commute has no interstate, there are some four lane areas but many more 45 and 35 mph two lane country roads past subdivisions and such.

      My highest average over the commute in was 51.2, the lowest which only occurs on the way home was 37+. Acceleration is my mileage killer. If I catch every light green I can see some great numbers. Since I do not use an interstate or other limited access road I have alternatives and never get trapped in stop and go.

      Another note, I pay the same as premium gasoline. However in two recent run ups in price Diesel stopped increasing in price and I actually saw regular gas cost more. Even when I pay $4 a gallon and regular is at $3.60 I do better than everything short of a Prius for efficiency. Most of the current 40+ crowd I see advertised are lucky to get above the low 30s consistently.

      Only improvements I want to cars are regenerative braking and electric propulsion assist. I have two wheels that aren't powered. A small battery pack or something used only at launch would do wonders to overcome the losses I incur when accelerating from a stop. Plus I would not mind some of it back when I am stopping to aid that starting.

    • by krray (605395)

      > There's no ignition system to worry about, no plugs and so on.

      What does this mean? There has to be some sort of ignition system [to worry about :-]. I wonder how well this car will start in -20F weather.

      > The downside is the soot that comes out the back when accelerating hard.

      I always saw that as a PLUS. Usually don't accelerate _hard_, but when that idiot is riding you it's fun to "dust them" and with the torque ... buh-bye.

      • Diesels don't rely on coils and spark plugs. The compression ratio is high enough that the air heats sufficiently during the compression stroke to make the fuel autoignite when it is injected into the cylinder at/near top dead center. On the other hand, that means the injector pumps (or single pump in a common-rail system) must develop extremely high pressure in order to actually inject the fuel.

        For cold starting, there are glow plugs to help heat the air - they are basically heating elements.

      • by david.given (6740)

        What does this mean? There has to be some sort of ignition system

        Nope!

        Diesel engines ignite the fuel/air mixture by compressing it. As the mixture is squeezed, the temperature rises, and if you squeeze it enough, it goes bang. No external ignition systems such as spark plugs are needed.

        Old-fashioned diesel engines did not, in fact, have any electrical system other than the starter motor --- once they were running, you could disconnect the battery and it would continue running fine. In fact, they were pr

      • Diesels work by compressing gas more. They have a much higher compression ratio than gasoline cars. Compressed gas heats up, and due to the high compression ratios in diesels, they do it to the point where the air in the cylinder gets so hot that it burns up on its own. So they use absolutely no source of ignition. How hot the air in the cylinder gets depends on ambient temperature. So in winter they could have a problem. Diesels have glow plugs to compensate for this. They are noting more than electric h
      • There has to be some sort of ignition system [to worry about :-].

        "A diesel engine (also known as a compression-ignition engine) is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber. This is in contrast to spark-ignition engines such as a petrol engine (gasoline engine) or gas engine (using a gaseous fuel as opposed to gasoline), which uses a spark plug to ignite an air-fuel mixture"
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_engine [wikipedia.org]

        I wonder how well this car will start in -20F weather.

        "In cold weather, high speed diesel engines can b

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      my understanding of the soot is that its caused by an incorrect air/fuel mix. except at start I don't have that problem in my old non-turbo 6.2 Detroit engine.

      another downside of modern diesels is that the engine will outlive the vehicle by a substantial margin. 200k is nothing for a diesel. gas engines start to give up the ghost before that.

      at this point, fuel cost and availability are going to hold back serious adoption. ignoring how much cleaner even old diesel vehicles are than gas (due to fuel lifecycl

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        If you could get a car body not made out of steel the diesel would be a real winner. Rust sucks. Even a modern Japanese gasoline car engine will outlive the body.

    • by dfghjk (711126)

      "... people buy horsepower but drive torque as the saying goes."

      It's a stupid saying offered, and repeated, by stupid people. Torque is an intermediate mathematical term. Horsepower is what gets the work done, and when people talk torque, what they're really talking about is power curve. You can get any torque you want through gearing.

      • To be fair, when people talk about torque, they mean the peak torque figure published by the auto manufacturer. The saying comes from the fact that almost all gasoline engines reach peak torque at lower RPM than peak power, and most people operate their engines predominantly at those lower RPM ranges. So an engine with a quoted 200 lb/ft of torque at 2800RPM and 200 hp at 6000RPM will seem faster under normal driving conditions than an engine with 150 lb/ft of torque at 5200RPM and 250HP at 8000RPM. It's a

  • Is there any USEFUL information on this car out there, like whose design the powerplant is, where it's being built, et cetera?

    I love driving my 300SD, when I drive the Astro (our only gasser; my F250 is a turbo diesel also) it feels totally gutless until I stick my foot all the way in it because comparatively it has no low-end torque. Amazingly the 300SD has good pedal response up to about 90... that's amazing because it has 120 bhp and 170 rated foot-pounds, and an estimated top speed about 105.

    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:16AM (#36856068)

      Is there any USEFUL information on this car out there, like whose design the powerplant is, where it's being built, et cetera?/

      It appears to be [wikipedia.org] a VM Motori / GM Daewoo powerplant.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Ahh, good work. It looks like a very nice little package [maitlanddiesel.com.au] although I am concerned about the vac pump being mounted direct to the alternator, which seems a questionable decision. I actually think vacuum pumps are a bit daft, and my intention is to eliminate mine (on my pickup) just as soon as I can come up with a hydroboost brake system. There is very little controlled by vacuum on my truck; the fuel shutoff is electrical (vacuum on the mercedes) and all I actually have to worry about is the air con stuff (mo

    • by tkrotchko (124118)

      Does GM have any real-life experience with a diesel powerplant in passenger car that is positive?

      This is what I think of when I think of GM and Diesel engines:

      http://books.google.com/books?id=tOIDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA84&lpg=PA84&dq=GM+diesel+delta+88&source=bl&ots=-ibHbCl1Kr&sig=v_Z1TqGku7AweZHgtLbXnlkuUmg&hl=en&ei=i8wqTtAOyvXSAYjphIAL&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=GM%20diesel%20delta%2088&f=false [google.com]

      (Sorry for the long li

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        GM/Allison's 1980s diesels were a disaster because they were designed to be produced on gasser production lines. This defined the basic geometries of the engine and because of the equipment used resulted in an engine with insufficient securing of the cylinder head. This engine was not designed by Allison. Allison has since worked out their problems and the Duramax diesel is considered be most to be superior to the Powerstroke diesels now produced by Ford. The original 7.3 powerstroke was produced by Interna

        • by tkrotchko (124118)

          Thanks, I wasn't aware of the half-assed design that Ford had inflicted on owners. I just wasn't aware of any mainstream GM passenger car sold in the united states that would make me buy a GM diesel car.

          Not saying they can't do it, they simply haven't been interested. I'm still not convinced they're interested in doing a diesel engine right for a car.

          I'd tread lightly on any of the domestics cars with a diesel, and GM has too much history with any new engine or technology to make me buy anything the fir

      • That is basically because their passenger car Diesel engines from the 80's were their gasoline engines from the 80's made to run on diesel.
      • by SIGBUS (8236)

        GM has been offering passenger diesels in Europe for ages. Before he moved to the US, my brother-in-law drove a diesel Vauxhall Vectra in England. He was wondering why the hell they didn't offer any small diesels in the US. The diesel Vectra used an Isuzu engine.

      • by s122604 (1018036)

        Does GM have any real-life experience with a diesel powerplant in passenger car that is positive?

        The car is already selling in Europe, and has been for a few years now, and is relatively well thought of ..
        The 2.0L diesel that goes in the car is a bit older than that (it has gone into the Euro Cruze, the Opel Antara, and several Hyundai and Kia models
        This is not really new waters for GM, or any other internationalized auto company. What is new is that they are selling it in the US, which is a good thing IMHO. I've owned a Mexi-Jetta before, and I care not to again. Having to deal with the cost of VW spare parts, and VW service, and VW design philosophy which seems to make some repairs hard, just for the sake of being hard, is not something I care to do again...

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        Yes... Since the 70s in Europe
  • Its not like diesel engines are some new technology or something.

    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      Maybe Because they simply aren't sold in the US outside trucks? Even Chrysler which makes Diesel cars for Canada does not sell any in the US. I'd have to import one if I wanted to own a Diesel car here. Well outside the Jetta mentioned in the article. Diesel has been consider the unwanted stepchild in the US for ages while nearly half of all cars in Europe are diesel.

      I've looked into diesel cars here, because they can be much more efficient, but buying one is a pain because they need to be imported and even

  • 50.4MPG, city and out of city, UK. America is really used to cheap gas isn't it?
    • No--policy makers bought by both oil producers and car makers have set us up for this in order to maximize profits.
    • by cynyr (703126)

      $3.80/US GAL here, diesel is around $0.50 more i think. I would love to buy a diesel car, but none of my options here in the states include an all wheel drive car. by that i mean a car with 100% all wheel with at least a torque sensing variable center diff. Audi A3 is not "all wheel drive" it is "auto rear wheel when needed" I would like the ability to shift power towards a single wheel but that is hard to come by. Finding out which type of AWD is under a car is harder yet.

      My 1999 Saturn SW2 5 speed slushbo

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Comparing a 99 SW2 and a 2011 cruse on only mileage is not fair. I am sure the newer one is safer, more comfortable, quieter and meets a whole host of other requirements your SW2 did not have too. Before comparing MPG at least compare curb weight. Your SW2 is under 2400lbs and the cruze is over 3100.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      out of curiosity, how many miles do you drive daily to get to work?

      I live 'close' to work over here in the us. sanfrancisco area along a Bart line, which supposedly is good public transit. short of cycling a very steep hill to get to work, taking Bart and a bus (and taking an extra hour or two both ways) I'm stuck driving.

      that's a a couple hundred a month in fuel. not cheap. (your fuel would be cheaper still if you weren't paying more in tax than for fuel. I'm not sure why cheap fuel is seen as a bad thing.

    • Your 50.4 miles to the imperial gallon when converted to US gallons that is about 42 mpg. Now compared to my '97 540i with an automatic transmission and 216,000 miles on it that has averaged of 22.7 mpg (us) over the last 115,000 miles your number seems impressive. I don't know what year your 325d is but my car is probably heavier by fair amount and since you are in the UK yours is probably a manual where as mine has the automatic. So given that yours is a diesel, is lighter, and probably has a manual trans
  • Anyone have experience with the BMW 335d?

    I'm tempted, but really need 4wd where I work. (And I don't want a second car for the crummy weather.)

    • by tkrotchko (124118)

      Great car, but for the price the expected payoff is well over 10 years. Useful if you need the extended range, but from an economy standpoint, it makes little sense.

      Also keep in mind that diesel in the U.S. is more expensive than high-test.

      • Also keep in mind that diesel in the U.S. is more expensive than high-test.

        That varies but bear in mind that it is actually cheaper on a per-horsepower basis. Diesel has to be 15-20% more expensive to cost more for the same amount of horsepower. $/watt, diesel generally comes out ahead, even if it is slightly more per gallon at the pump.

    • by sjbe (173966)

      Anyone have experience with the BMW 335d?

      I've driven one. They are fantastic cars. Would be my very first choice in sedans if I were on the market today. Excellent power, good fuel economy, very nicely appointed, rather pricey. A good set of snow tires goes a LONG way to making up for the lack of 4WD. Bear in mind that 4WD only helps you when accelerating. It does nothing for you at constant speed or while braking.

    • by scorp1us (235526)

      The BMW 520d gets 45 - more than the Prius.

      I think the problem with diesels int he us s the new Urea requirements...

    • You really believe you need 4wd? Unless you are a forester you are kidding your self. I have a BMW 540i and when driving on regular paved roads have never had a problem. If you get lots of snow they make these tire amendments [amazon.com] that do wonders for traction, I have pushed a pile of snow that was coming over my hood with these on. Also I have taken that 540i into places where I probably shouldn't have, specifically down some of the logging roads and unimproved roads in norther Minnesota. Basically a nice one of
  • Would that really make much difference in terms of fuel consumption?

    • If you had a small diesel engine, that ran in a very low range of RPM's to power an electric motor, you would have the height of 1960's technology, the Diesel-Electric Locomotive. And it would be the best hybrid approach out there. SImple to run and maintain. There is a reason trains have been using them for decades now.

  • I'd like to know what the MPG on the 6-speed manual version is."

    Probably no better. This isn't 1981. Today's 6 and 7 speed automatic transmissions are efficient. They usually equal, and occasionally beat the manuals in some cases. Check out the current mustang for example, the auto and manual get the same mileage in city, and the auto gets 2mpg more than the manual on the hwy. On the V8 version, the manual pulls ahead slightly on the hwy, but the automatic beats it in the city. on the new premium model Boss 302, the automatic beats the manual on both city and hwy by sev

    • Oh, and before someone says "gasoline performance car, different market segment, not applicable"

      check out the EPA ratings for the diesel commuter we already have in this country, the VW Jetta TDI.
      M6 and A6 both come in at 30/42 city/hwy.

      http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/2011_Volkswagen_Jetta.shtml [fueleconomy.gov]

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Not at all. A manual in a car without 200+ horsepower is a big advantage. Not everyone wants to get 12 mpg just so they can avoid learning to drive a car. An automatic can't know a steep grade is coming soon and to shift down early, by the time it shifts it is already too late. Sure you never notice in your mustang, but those of us with normal cars sure do. An automatic also can't shift down and coast in gear to slow as you come to a red light. Instead it lets you coast without engine breaking and you get t

    • by tkrotchko (124118)

      Manual transmissions save money on the initial purchase price and long term maintenance. In many

      I would recommend a manual for anyone who intends to keep a car longer than 5 years or drives lots of miles.

      A big reason people get rid of their car just after the century mark is the automatic transmission fails, and the replacement price is upwards of $2-6K depending on the brand. At that point, people opt to buy a new car. Manual transmissions are bulletproof and will last as long as the engine in the car

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Any idea why automatics are built the way they are? It seems like a computer controlled manual should be build-able. Have the same transmission, just shift it via pneumatics or electronics.

      • by JimBobJoe (2758)

        Manual transmissions save money on the initial purchase price and long term maintenance.

        They can but not always. Some automakers build outstanding automatics that are bulletproof and maintenance free (other than fluid changes), whereas their manuals, like all manuals, need their clutches replaced.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      I'd like to know what the MPG on the 6-speed manual version is."

      Probably no better. This isn't 1981. Today's 6 and 7 speed automatic transmissions are efficient. They usually equal, and occasionally beat the manuals in some cases.

      I get the best of both worlds. 6 speed manual transmission with no clutch pedal and automatic gear changes, so in theory I get the efficiency of a manual and the ease of an automatic. Unfortunately, because it's still internally a manual transmission and the robot still has to do the clutch and gear shift etc, the gear changes are a little slow (or a little rough, in sport mode), and because of the 'expense' of a gearchange, the car is sometimes reluctant to change gears when it maybe should. I have little

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Eww. I hate having to have my shift approved by the committee. Which is what it feels like in a paddle shift car. You do know better than the car. It has no idea that a hill is coming up, or that you just hit the apex of the hill, or that you need to stay in lower gear going down a steep grade to avoid boiling the brakes.

    • by IrquiM (471313)
      I've never seen an European car with automatic beat a manual on the mileage. Ever!

      Automatics are still more costly, more expensive with regards to maintenance, and also when you look at the fuel consumption.

      And also, automatics are more boring to drive - I probably would fall a sleep and end up in a ditch if I had one... :D
    • A manual transmission (excluding the clutch which will wear out prematurely if you suck at driving stick) can take a lot more abuse and in general are a more robust and reliable system. Now for the average person this doesn't matter, but if you really like to abuse your vehicle or want a long lived one a manual is a better option.
  • Diesels are more expensive, in part because they require a turbocharger to get decent performance.

    Diesel fuel in the States is also tens of cents more expensive per gallon.

    Therefore I don't see an economic argument for this thing gaining acceptance.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      The gained mileage is more than making up for the cost of fuel. As to your first point, diesels last a lot longer than gas cars, in the USA that won't matter as people love to be in debt for cars.

    • by tkrotchko (124118)

      The range is a big reason for choosing a diesel.

      Also, the torque on a diesel makes it well suited for many applications.

    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      A non-turbo diesel engine and a diesel engine are nearly identical, the process that is used to make a engine a 'diesel' engine needs very little work to be turbocharged. This is why often diesel engines only come 'turbocharged' and one reason I've heard it said that turbocharging a diesel is 'free'. So I don't think you quite understand how a diesel works or why turbocharged diesels are so common. While I'm not an expert by any means, I have in fact read up on the subject I suggest you do to.

      On the other h

    • by nblender (741424)

      I drive a diesel land cruiser up here in canada, eh? It's not all fancy and electronic... Mechanical injectors and a mechanical denso injection pump.. Diesel here in Canada typically hovers around the price of gasoline... Sometimes higher, sometimes lower... The price of diesel fluctuates after gasoline does; perhaps because there's lower turnover on the diesel pumps.

      One advantage to diesel that is a disadvantage with gasoline is that diesel can live in a gerry can or tank for months and not go 'bad' where

  • Three things will almost guarantee it to fail:
    • Many US consumers still think of the 70s/80s diesel monstrosities that the big three were making
    • GM won't market it worth a damn - see the Jeep Liberty Diesel as a good example of a good product that wasn't marketed for shit
    • Dealers won't carry it because they don't want to confuse their customers

    Which is too bad, because it could be a great vehicle for a lot of people who want better fuel economy with excellent reliability and tremendous range.

  • Whatever happened to Ford's plans to sell a diesel Focus in the U.S. by 2006 or so? I remember that it was a Big Thing for a while, then just... never materialized.

    • Whatever happened to Ford's plans to sell a diesel Focus in the U.S. by 2006 or so? I remember that it was a Big Thing for a while, then just... never materialized.

      That's too bad, Ford makes quite decent diesel engines. My father used to have a Focus 2.0 TDci sport back in 2004 or so, it had something like 130-140 hp, went really well and had very decent handling (because of the sporty suspension), I just never really cared much for Ford's interior design, all very cheap looking,

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