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EPA: New Chevy Cruze Diesel gets 52 mpg on highway

Melissa Burden
DetroitNews-Unknown

General Motors Co.’s new 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel sedan equipped with a manual transmission achieves an estimated 52 miles per gallon on the highway — the highest fuel economy of a non-hybrid or non-electric vehicle — according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The previous-generation Cruze diesel sedan was rated at 46 mpg highway.

The Cruze Diesel comes standard with a new Ecotec 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine that produces 137 horsepower and 240 foot pounds of torque delivered through a six-speed manual transmission. Its range is up to 702 miles on the highway per fill-up. Chevrolet said on Monday that the 2017 Cruze Diesel passed all U.S. environmental standards and validations.

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said, “For Chevy to break the 50-mpg barrier with its new Cruze Diesel Sedan sends a very strong message about the possibilities for clean diesel as a competitive technology in the fuel economy race. And the accomplishment is made even more impressive that it achieved it under a more stringent EPA emissions testing regime.”

The Cruze Diesel with a six-speed manual has an EPA-estimated 52 mpg highway, 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg combined. The sedan with an available 9-speed automatic transmission has an EPA-estimated 47 mpg on the highway, 31 mpg in the city and 37 mpg combined.

Chevy launched a Cruze diesel in 2013 as a 2014 model. It was available for just two model years, though sales trickled into 2016 and for its lifecycle totaled about 12,550, Chevrolet said.

GM sees a chance with its new diesel offerings to win some Volkswagen diesel customers in wake of the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. The Detroit-based automaker also is introducing a diesel version of its 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain compact SUVs. Chevy said the Equinox with the diesel engine would get an estimated 40 mpg highway. It also offers diesel versions of pickups such as the midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

Sales of diesel vehicles last year in the U.S. represented a fraction of overall industry sales of 17.55 million. Diesel sales last year of about 137,000, were down 30 percent from 2015, largely because of the 2015 VW emissions issue that caused the automaker to stop selling diesels here, according to hybridcars.com.

The 2017 Cruze Diesel sedan, on sale this spring, is priced beginning at $24,670 with the manual transmission. The Cruze Diesel Hatch will be available later this year as a 2018 model.

mburden@detroitnews.com

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