This is a bit of a toughie, and will most likely boil down to not just preference, but whether or not the math works in your favor. But after Chevrolet released the official fuel economy numbers on the 2014 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, we thought it a good idea to compare it to the Cruze Eco.
First, we’ll examine the price of both models. The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco equipped with an automatic transmission carries a starting MSRP of $21,685, while the 2014 Cruze Diesel with an automatic comes in around $4,000 more, at $25,695. However, the Cruze Diesel is significantly more well-appointed with standard equipment than the Eco, but we’re going to use the Eco automatic over the Eco manual in this comparison because the Cruze Diesel will not launch with a manual transmission.
Additionally, the buyer sees greater EPA-estimated highway mpg figures with the Cruze Diesel (39 mpg vs a segment-best 46 mpg) and far more torque at their disposal (148 lb.-ft. versus a max of 280 lb.-ft.) than the Eco with an automatic. Also, the Eco automatic carries a city mileage figure of 26 mpg, with a total combined rating of 31 miles per gallon out of its 1.4L turbocharged Ecotec engine. The diesel variant inches the Eco in city driving with a 27 mpg figure, with a combined rating of 33 mpg with its 2.0L turbodiesel engine — which is actually 1 mpg shy of the Jetta TDI’s combined rating.
From the looks of things, it would be drivers who spend most of their time on the highway that would see the greatest fuel economy advantage with the Cruze Diesel over its unleaded brethren. But it will always have a superior power and acceleration advantage, making it the more obvious choice for enthusiasts.
Now comes the variable fuel costs. In America, diesel is currently significantly more expensive than regular unleaded gasoline. Today, the gas station down the street (in Michigan) has regular unleaded selling for $3.79 a gallon, while diesel is $4.09.
For the sake of simplification, let’s keep driving habits, road characteristics, maintenance and other factors aside. With the 12.6 gallon fuel tank found in the Cruze Eco, it would cost $47.75 to fill up from bone dry to the brim. It would cost $67.80 to fill up the Cruze Diesel’s 16.6 gallon tank from empty to full.
Yet the Cruze Diesel advertises a 700 highway mile range per tank. The Cruze Eco automatic comes in at the 491 miles per tank. For the Eco automatic, that’s $.097 per mile, per tank, which could be rounded up to $.10 (ten cents). And for the Cruze Diesel, it’s $.096 per mile, per tank — also just under ten cents.
What we have here, apparently, is a draw in fuel costs, all factors excluded. So for the extra four grand, the Cruze Diesel provides more amenities, power, and overall driving range over the automatic Cruze Eco. All things considered, would you drive away with the Cruze Diesel, or the Cruze Eco automatic?
|MEASUREMENT||CRUZE DIESEL||CRUZE ECO|
|PEAK TORQUE (LB.-FT.)||280||148|
|FUEL TANK SIZE (GALLONS)||16.6||12.6|
|HIGHWAY RANGE (MILES)||700||491|