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Cruze diesel to get 50 mpg highway


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Automotive News  /  January 16, 2017

The upcoming diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze will be General Motors' first non-hybrid vehicle since the 1990s with an EPA-certified fuel economy rating over 50 mpg on the highway.

GM is awaiting EPA certification of the car's fuel economy ratings ahead of a spring launch.

The Cruze's new lightweight 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine will be optional on the Cruze hatchback and sedan.

Asked at the Detroit auto show about the Cruze diesel's highway rating, GM product development chief Mark Reuss said: "I think it will start with a 5."

The early 1990s Geo Metro XFi (rebadged Suzuki Cultus) is the last time GM had a non-hybrid car that had an EPA highway rating in the 50s.

The Cruze's new turbodiesel engine has an aluminum block and is rated at 137 hp and 240 pounds-feet of torque.

It will be offered with either a nine-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. The Cruze manual will have a higher EPA rating than the automatic. 

In 2015, the last time Chevrolet offered a Cruze diesel, the car had a 2.0-liter engine with a cast iron block paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. 

With the 2017 model, most of the power comes on low in the rpm range. In addition to high fuel economy, engineers also concentrated on refinement. 

"We've taken a totally different approach to address noise at the source," said Cruze diesel chief engineer Mike Siegrist.

The cam timing details, for instance, are at the back of the engine, instead of the front. And to keep diesel chatter low, the fuel injectors shoot as many as 10 squirts of fuel per stroke.

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Chevrolet 2017 Cruze Diesel EPA-rated at 52 mpg highway, 37 mpg combined

Green Car Congress  /  February 13, 2017

The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan (earlier post) fitted with the six-speed manual transmission offers an EPA-estimated highway mileage of 52 mpg (4.52 liters/100 km)—the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-EV in the US.

The six-speed manual model returns an EPA-estimated city mileage of 30 mpg (7.83 l/100 km), resulting in 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) combined.

Cruze Diesel with the nine-speed automatic achieves an EPA-estimated highway economy of up to 47 mpg and 31 city mpg, which results in 37 mpg combined.

The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan, due to go on sale this spring, features a new B20-capable Ecotec 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine—already proven in Europe and other global markets—offering an SAE-certified 137 horsepower (102 kW) and 240 lb-ft of torque (325 N·m).

Cruze Diesel passed all stringent US environmental standards and validation, including Tier 3 Bin 125 emissions standards.

The EPA Tier 3 Bin 125 (California LEV III ULEV125) calls for 125 mg/mi of NMOG + NOx, and 2.1 g/mile of CO2. Under Tier 3, the numerical value of the seven bins corresponds to the NMOG + NOx milligram limit. The bins are 160; 125; 70; 50; 30; 20; and 0.

The former individual NMOG and NOx limits were combined under LEV III and Tier 3 to provide vehicle manufacturers additional flexibility in meeting the combined limit values rather than the individual limits required under the older LEV II or Tier 2. By 2025, when it is fully implemented, LEV III will result in a 75% reduction in NMOG plus NOx emissions across the California fleet; the federal fleet achieves an 80% reduction in NMOG + NOx and a 70% reduction in PM with Tier 3.

Based upon the EPA highway estimate, Cruze Diesel with the six-speed manual transmission has an estimated range of up to 702 highway miles on one tank of diesel fuel.

Buyers will be able to option their Cruze Diesel Sedans with either a standard six-speed manual or a new, optional Hydra-Matic nine-speed automatic transmission that includes fuel-saving stop/start technology.

A suite of connectivity features includes available OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility through Chevrolet MyLink.

Pricing for 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan starts at $24,670 including $875 destination charge. Base price of the entry-level gasoline-powered Cruze is $17,850. Cruze Diesel Hatch will follow Cruze Diesel Sedan later this year for the 2018 model year.

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Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Sedan Gets Up to 52 MPG

Car & Driver  /  February 13, 2017

Despite all the Volkswagen muck that has besmirched diesel power, Chevrolet is one of the manufacturers that are sticking with the alternative powertrain and pushing forward with new models. Chevrolet is once again launching a diesel option for the latest generation of its compact, the Cruze, and its just-announced EPA ratings of up to 52 mpg highway should raise some eyebrows.

The diesel’s fuel-economy numbers are notably better than the gasoline-powered model’s. According to the EPA, the Cruze diesel sedan paired with a six-speed manual transmission (yes!) gets 30 mpg city, 52 mpg highway, and 37 mpg combined.

With a nine-speed automatic, the figures are 31 mpg city, 47 mpg highway, and 37 mpg combined.

The gasoline-powered Cruze with manual transmission is rated at 28 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined and with automatic gets 30 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 34 mpg combined.

The engine in the Cruze diesel is a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four, and Chevrolet says it makes 137 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, although it did not specify where in the rev range those numbers occur. 

As we previously reported, the Cruze diesel sedan starts at $24,670 with the manual transmission and $26,270 with the automatic. The diesel engine also will make its way into the Cruze hatchback for the 2018 model year.

With the Golf and Jetta diesels gone for good, the Cruze is now the only compact car to offer such an engine, so it has that part of the market cornered. Is this where disaffected TDI buyers will come to find solace? Chevrolet must hope so.

Photo gallery - http://www.caranddriver.com/photo-gallery/tdi-tonic-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-sedan-gets-up-to-52-mpg

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Chevy's 2017 Cruze diesel hits milestone with 52 mpg highway rating

Automotive News  /  February 13, 2017

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel will achieve the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/electric vehicle on the market.

General Motors said Monday the EPA certified the compact sedan at up to 52 miles per gallon highway and 30 mpg city when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

The car with an available nine-speed automatic transmission is certified at an EPA-estimated combined fuel economy of 47 mpg highway and 31 mpg city.

The combined fuel economy for both the manual and automatic transmissions is 37 mpg, the company said.

The car is powered by a new lightweight, 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder turbodiesel engine offering 137 hp and 240 pounds-feet of torque.

Pricing for the diesel-powered Cruze starts at $24,670, including $875 for shipping. GM has begun shipping the car to U.S. dealers. A hatchback version of the car will follow later this year for the 2018 model year, GM said.

“Chevrolet is dedicated to offering customers a wide range of propulsion options,” said Steven Majoros, director of Chevrolet marketing. “We know there are customers looking for the right combination of fuel efficiency, driving dynamics, fuel type and more.”

GM product development chief Mark Reuss hinted that the diesel-powered Cruze would achieve higher than 50 mpg highway at the 2017 Detroit auto show.

The car is GM’s first non-hybrid vehicle since the Geo Metro XFi (rebadged Suzuki Cultus), with a 1-liter, 3-cylinder engine, in the 1990s to get an EPA-certified fuel economy rating of at least 50 mpg on the highway.

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Peeved by VW’s Diesel Malfeasance? Chevy’s New Diesel Engine May Be Your Salvation

Car & Driver  /  February 17, 2017

An old proverb states that what the Hindenburg did to hydrogen, Oldsmobile did to diesels. Fortunately, humans are a forgiving, forgetful lot. Both hydrogen and diesel fuel are likely to play important roles in our transportation future—as the new Chevrolet Cruze diesel is about to show us—no matter what rash moves you expect of our new government administration.

Of course, Volkswagen’s diesel misdeeds picked open that old(smobile) scab. Some industry wizards, such as FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, believe that the diesel engine’s reputation is so tainted that its future prosperity could be limited to pickups and large SUVs. Predatory law firms now hound diesels, filing class-action suits with little or no provocation.

Dan Nicholson, General Motors’ vice president of global propulsion systems, is more sanguine. He is convinced that diesel enthusiasm born of trucks and VW cars is pent up, waiting for the arrival of new models capable of fulfilling the compression-ignition crowd’s dreams.

Aiming to prove that theory, Chevrolet has just reintroduced a modern turbo-diesel engine for the U.S. market. Note our use of the word “reintroduce.” GM sold 12,298 cars powered by a 2.0 turbo-diesel engine in the 2014 and 2015 Cruze compact cars, taking a break when Chevy freshened this small sedan for 2016.

The Ecotec 1.6-liter turbo-diesel inline-four already at Chevy dealers in 2017 Cruze sedans and arriving shortly for Cruze hatchbacks and the 2018 Equinox and 2018 GMC Terrain was born and bred in Europe, where diesels have a much stronger foothold (mainly because of favorable fuel and diesel-car sales taxes). What GM calls its Medium Diesel Engine, Opel markets as a “whisper diesel,” touting its exemplary noise, vibration, and harshness manners. A GM plant in Szentgotthárd, Hungary, manufactures this engine.

Designers gave this diesel every advanced feature in the book. The block and head are aluminum to save weight, and crankshaft support is reinforced with a sturdy bedplate. Tough iron cylinder liners are cast in place, and the crankshaft and connecting rods are forged steel. Oil is sprayed onto the bottoms of the pistons to cool them. Two intake runners feed air to each cylinder; hinged flaps in half of the runners induce swirl motion within the cylinders. A 16.0:1 compression ratio provides the heat needed for auto ignition. An electronically controlled throttle regulates intake-manifold vacuum to manage exhaust gas recirculation and to expedite engine shutdown.

Both the cam cover and the intake manifold are molded fiberglass for noise absorption and to trim weight. The entire intake manifold is swaddled in acoustic padding and covered with a plastic noise barrier. Another noise-canceling measure was driving the camshafts from the tail end of the crankshaft so the gears and chains could be masked by the flywheel and the transaxle bell housing.

Ferrari has nothing on this diesel’s valvetrain. Two hollow overhead cams open four valves per cylinder through roller finger followers with hydraulic lash control. There’s variable timing for both intake and exhaust valves.

Ceramic glow plugs accelerate cold starting, and an optional oil heater is available for cold climates. The BorgWarner turbocharger is a variable-vane design for improved response at low engine rpm. Maximum boost is 27 psi. Solenoid injectors fed by a common fuel rail deliver up to nine squirts per combustion cycle. Oxidation and reduction catalysts plus a particulate trap cleanse the exhaust; diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) helps diminish NOx emissions.

Compared with larger-displacement predecessors, this Ecotec 1.6-liter engine is lighter, smaller, and significantly quieter. It delivers 137 horsepower at 3750 rpm, and the torque curve peaks with 240 lb-ft at 2000 rpm. That’s a bit less power but 36 percent more maximum torque than the Cruze’s turbocharged 1.4-liter gasoline engine puts out.

Two attributes necessary to draw diesel fans to Chevy’s diesel are exemplary mileage and affordability. The six-speed-manual version earned a 52-mpg highway rating from the EPA, topping every other car on the market except for hybrids and electrics. The diesel-manual powertrain in the Cruze sedan achieved 30 mpg in the city test for a combined EPA rating of 37 mpg.

Most buyers will lean toward the optional nine-speed automatic transmission, which also scored an EPA combined mileage of 37 mpg. That Cruze powertrain earned 31 mpg on the city cycle and 47 mpg in the highway test.

While the new car market is rife with sub-$20,000 bottom feeders that offer decent mileage, Chevy’s Cruze diesel won’t play that game. A Cruze LT powered by the Ecotec turbo-diesel will start at $24,670, including a convenience package as standard equipment. That’s approximately $2100 over the price of a Cruze sedan with the 153-hp 1.4-liter Ecotec gasoline inline-four. The Cruze diesel four-door hatchback and the Equinox will follow later this year as 2018 models.

GM’s Nicholson stated that this new diesel’s primary mission is to offer Chevrolet customers an attractive alternative to gasoline engines and significantly higher fuel efficiency. Achieving 10 percent penetration in those car lines where it’s offered would also help GM meet future fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas obligations.

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How Chevy coaxed Cruze diesel to 52 mpg

Automotive News  /  February 20, 2017

To earn the EPA's rare 50-plus highway fuel economy rating for the 2018 Cruze diesel sedan, Chevrolet engineers didn't just drop a fuel-efficient engine and transmission into the Cruze and call it done.

"There is no one silver bullet," says Craig Weddle, Cruze chief engineer. "There were a lot of little things we had to do to make it all add up."

It was a significant technical feat.

Last week when the EPA confirmed the Cruze diesel's 52-mpg highway fuel economy rating through its own testing at the agency's Ann Arbor, Mich., labs, the Cruze became one of only four non-hybrid cars to punch through the 50 mpg highway barrier since 1990.

And after the EPA revised its fuel economy test procedures in 2008 to better reflect real-world fuel economy, only one non-hybrid car since 1990 -- the Geo Metro XFi, also sold by Chevrolet -- has retained a 50-plus mpg rating. (The EPA has revoked certification and mileage ratings for all VW diesels affected by the emissions cheating scandal).

"Fuel economy is the reason for purchase, and we were looking for a wow factor," said Dan Nicholson, GM's vice president of Global Propulsion Systems.

The Cruze's results took a total General Motors team effort that drew in aerodynamicists, electricians, powertrain engineers, lightweighting specialists, friction gurus, calibration engineers and others.

The Cruze diesel, on the way to dealers now, even has a chief energy engineer, Eric VanDommelen, whose goal was to make sure every pound-foot of torque sent to the wheels delivered maximum efficiency and that few, if any, electrons were wasted.

Much of the technology used to boost the car's fuel economy, such as the smooth underbody, low-drag brakes and active grille shutters, came straight from hybrid cars.

GM will have its challenges marketing the fuel-sipping diesel. The car is part of a big push at GM to attract Volkswagen buyers leaving the brand in the wake of the diesel emissions cheating scandal there. That won't be easy. Gasoline is cheap and consumers are deserting cars for SUVs, crossovers and trucks. Diesel engines, thanks to VW's controversy, now have image issues.

It's also not a given that VW buyers will consider switching to Chevrolet.

Nicholson said in August that GM would be going after VW's diesel faithful, who once accounted for about 20 percent of the German brand's U.S. sales. A diesel version of the Equinox crossover is also on the way, and by the end of 2018, GM will offer 10 diesel models in North America. Nicholson said last week diesel vehicles represent a growth opportunity for Chevrolet.

But none of that mattered to the engineers who tuned and tweaked and prodded the Cruze diesel until it rolled over the 50-mpg goal line.

Not the '90s

Unlike the cramped, stripped-down '90s-era cars that got 50 mpg or close to it, the Cruze diesel sedan is smooth, quiet, comfortable and fully equipped with safety features and electronic gear.

"Certainly having a number that started with 5 was enticing, but we didn't sacrifice the rest of the car to get that," Weddle says. He added there was no pressure from upper management to hit 50 mpg.

"It was really about producing a great car with fuel economy that we thought would excite our expected diesel customer base," he said.

AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan calls the 52-mpg highway fuel economy rating for the Cruze diesel impressive. He notes engineers struggle for every 10th of a mile fuel economy gain and that the new Cruze diesel not only beats the old model by 6 mpg, but it bests the highway rating of the 2015 Cruze Eco, a gasoline-powered model built for high fuel economy, by a full 10 mpg.

"Other cars need two powertrains to hit anything in the 50 mpg range -- I'm talking about hybrids," says Sullivan. "Now you can get hybridlike fuel economy without the stigma of being seen in an oddly styled hybrid."

The biggest parts of the Cruze's 52-mpg highway rating came from three areas: weight reduction, aerodynamics and the powertrain. 

To start with, the current-generation Cruze, introduced last year, weighs about 250 pounds less than the 2015 version, mostly because of increased use of lightweight high-strength steel in the body, and aluminum in the suspension components. 

"We put the mass where it matters to get the stiffness in the structure, but thinned it out anywhere where it is not absolutely needed," Weddle says. 

Engineers also booked a 33-pound weight reduction under the hood. The old car's 2.0-liter diesel engine had a cast-iron block and weighed 368 pounds installed. The 2018 diesel's 1.6-liter engine has an aluminum block with cast iron liners and weighs 335 pounds. 

Another key piece of the Cruze's fuel economy puzzle is its manual transmission, which requires less energy from the engine to power the wheels than the available nine-speed automatic. The six-speed manual also weighs less than the automatic.

Slippery shape

Improved aerodynamics were another important part of the equation. Many of the aerodynamic tweaks GM engineers made to the car carry over from the gasoline version.

In front of each tire, for example, a black plastic deflector pushes air away from the wheels. The Cruze also has active grille shutters, which adjust to the engine's cooling needs. When the shutters are closed, the aerodynamic efficiency is improved as air is routed over, under or around the car. Headlights, taillights, door handles and exterior mirrors saw plenty of wind tunnel time.

The 2018 Cruze diesel's aerodynamic drag coefficient -- a measurement that quantifies aerodynamic efficiency -- is 0.28, down from the 0.30 of the 2015 Cruze diesel. The lower the number, the less energy it takes to push the car through the air. 

VanDommelen, Cruze's chief energy engineer, said other tweaks, including using low-friction bearings in the drivetrain and wheels, tires that have lower rolling resistance than those used on the first generation Volt, and managing energy usage also helped attain the 52-mpg rating. 

Even though GM's internal testing showed the Cruze well over 50 mpg on the highway, the champagne corks stayed in the bottles, VanDommelen said, until the EPA confirmed it. 

"We had some hopes, and we're looking forward to hitting that goal. But I didn't want to really believe it until I saw it from the EPA. Once they confirmed it, we felt pretty good," he said. 

Nicholson, GM's powertrain boss, said engineers weren't sure the Cruze would attain the 50-plus rating until late last year, near the end of the car's development cycle. "We were careful not to put pressure on the team," he said, "We wanted them to focus only on delivering the best car for the customer." 

VW diesel owners had routinely beaten the EPA label numbers in their actual driving. And Sullivan thinks Cruze diesel drivers can get even higher than the 52 mpg highway rating. 

"Most consumers have been able to beat the EPA numbers with small displacement diesels," Sullivan says. "If Cruze owners can beat the EPA number, it might make GM the new diesel leader in a market that has been leveled to nothing."

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