It’s taken way more years than it should’ve, but Chevy has finally put an oil burner in a small sedan.
Diesel has been Europe’s choice for propulsion since, well, probably the time of King Charles. Because of a history of cheap gasoline prices and a public disdain for dirty diesel, it never caught on in the USA. With gas inching up in cost here every day, alternative fuels are seeing more demand. Electricity has been the focus for the last decade or so, but a new round of clean, efficient diesel engines is on the way.
Chevrolet has offered a small diesel in Europe for years and has finally adapted the engine to meet U.S. standards and put in on the options sheet for the 2014 Cruze. With this new American diesel in showrooms, does it make sense to add it to your shopping list, or are you better off looking for a used Jetta?
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel uses a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that makes 151 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque. Starting price is just under $25,000, and fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg city/46 highway. That all feels like a pretty decent value proposition, especially since it comes with remote keyless entry and start, heated front leather seats, MyLink with Bluetooth connectivity and a touchscreen interface, 17-inch aluminum wheels and more.
A new Jetta begins at just under $23K, which means a used one should be an even better value, right?
Used diesel Jettas tend to hold their value pretty well. However, they can be pretty spartan as far as basic equipment goes when compared to the new Cruze. A search of the CarGurus used listings in my area turned up a couple of 2010 models, each with about 35,000 miles, priced at just below $20,000. That model has fuel economy ratings of 30/42 (take 1 mpg off the highway rating for a manual transmission) and also uses a 2.0-liter I4 diesel. It puts down 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque.
The conclusion? Based on numbers alone, the used Jetta seems like the better option. However, the new Cruze diesel deserves a look if more power and a better equipped ride are more important to you than a few thousand extra dollars.
Which diesel would you buy: the new Chevrolet Cruze or a used Jetta TDI?