2014 Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 Turbo Diesel

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The Cruze Turbo Diesel is aimed squarely at the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and, on paper at least, it equals or bests the VW in power and fuel economy. The Cruze's 2.0-liter engine churns out 148 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, numbers that beat the Jetta TDI by 8 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque. An overboost mode also ups torque to 280 lb-ft for up to 10 seconds at a time. Chevrolet is only quoting a highway fuel economy figure at this time, and the 42 mpg matches both the Jetta TDI and the Cruze Eco. Expect the city mileage number to be close to the Jetta TDI's 30 mpg. Chevrolet is also quoting an 8.6-second zero-to-60 mph time, which is about the same as the Jetta TDI.

The Cruze Turbo Diesel also mimics the Jetta in its starting price of $25,695, but the Chevy diesel is better equipped. It comes with leather upholstery, Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system and heated front seats. It also gets some of the Cruze Eco's aerodynamic features, namely the active front grille shutters, underbody panels, rear spoiler and low-rolling resistance tires.

What's not? General Motors has an embarrassing diesel legacy. The diesels it offered from 1977 through the mid-1980s were anemic, dirty and unreliable, and many Americans are still wary of diesels because of them. This engine needs to be efficient, durable and reasonably powerful to help erase that reputation. GM sold more than 500,000 diesel engines worldwide last year, so we're not concerned that this engine will be a dud.

How much and when? Starting at $25,695 when it goes on sale this summer.

MSN Autos' verdict: The Cruze's new diesel engine promises plenty of torque and even better fuel economy. That could be a combination that helps America further accept the diesel. If Americans don't buy it, however, it could dissuade U.S. automakers from offering more diesels in the future.
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