To be fair, the oil burner looks like it could do the Cruze a load of good.
Though the old Chevrolet Cruze didn't perhaps tick all of our boxes, we're far more intrigued by the new one. Being offered in hatchback form for the first time certainly helps it stand out a bit, at least before every mainstream car maker starts selling five-doors stateside. Early reports indicate the new Chevy Cruze is indeed a rather sweet vehicle. What's piquing our interest the most, however, is a new Automotive News report that claims General Motors will eventually slot a diesel engine under the Cruze's hood.
According to Automotive News, the course of action is to introduce a 1.6-liter turbo-four diesel engine into the Chevrolet Cruze hatch range before the end of 2018. That's quite a bold thing to do in America, considering downsized gasoline engines and hybrids were more of a thing with US car buyers even before the whole Dieselgate crisis burst onto the scene a year or so ago. Still, we should expect the 1.6 diesel to be a pretty good all-rounder. After all, it's getting rave reviews from European journalists who've reviewed it in Vauxhall/Opel Astra form, with many claiming it's even more refined and adept for motorway cruising than the 1.4-liter gasoline engine!
So, that's the traditional diesel clatter out of the way, but you don't go for diesel engines if you're not keen on saving pennies at the pumps. Thankfully, the 1.6-liter should be rather efficient, if its performance in road tests is anything to go by. Autocar, for instance, managed to eke out 55 mpg from the car, which should mean 45+ mpg is possible in US-spec diesel Cruze hatchbacks. For reference, the Chevy Cruze hatch with the 1.4-liter gasoline engine can allegedly return up to 38 mpg on the highway. So, yeah, that's quite the disparity there. Further helping the allure of the diesel Cruze hatch is the optional six-speed manual transmission. Yes, a manual is going to be on offer.
Those who don't want to row their own gears can select the Cruze with a nine-speed automatic. It'll be interesting to see which transmission wins out as the more fuel-efficient option. You'd think it'd be the manual but that 55 mpg figure on the Opel Astra was obtained in a manual car. That being said the automatic will undoubtedly sell more because Americans hate manuals. Still, kudos for Chevy for offering another car with a stick. The diesel Cruze has a good shot at becoming a success. All Chevy needs to do is not make it ridiculously expensive or pair the engine solely to a higher trim. If it avoids those pitfalls we see the 1.6-liter oil burner being quite a popular choice with many buyers.