General Motors sent quite the message when it introduced the 2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel (let’s just call it “Cruze Diesel“, ok?) last month, becoming the only automaker outside of Volkswagen to offer a diesel powerplant in a mainstream compact vehicle. And while GM’s message was heard loud and clear by diesel fans across North America, the origins of the 2.0 liter oil burner weren’t as widely-recognized… like the fact that the engine was co-developed by General Motors and Fiat.
You see, General Motors embarked on a collaborative undertaking in the late 90s/early 2000s with Fiat. The partnership didn’t work out and was dissolved years later, but one of the remaining pieces of the alliance is a facility that remains today as GM’s R&D powertrain center in Turin, Italy. Among other things, the center is responsible for the development of certain powerplants, including the 2.0 liter diesel engine found in the North America-market Cruze Diesel, the Euro-market Chevy Malibu, Opel Insignia and Astra. GM calls this engine line “Family B”, while Fiat calls it “JTD-series”.
The primary reason for GM’s decision to use the the Family B diesel is emissions regulations: the stringent Euro VI standards that go into effect at the end of 2013, while the U.S. has its own set of similar emissions that are equally stringent, collectively known as Tier 2 Bin 5 standards. Luckily, the Family B engines are already capable of meeting both standards.
The 2014 Cruze Turbo Diesel is expected to attain 42 MPG on the highway while paired with an automatic transmission — equal to that of the gasoline-powered Chevy Cruze Eco with a manual gearbox. The Cruze TD will, however, deliver more power than the gasoline-powered Eco and have a longer range. Meanwhile, General Motors is rolling out its all-new 1.6 liter turbo-diesel Ecotec engine in its European lineup; the engine was developed in-house and is part of GM’s global engine rejuvenation strategy.