120 years ago, on August 10th, 1893, German inventor and mechanical engineer Rudolf Diesel started up his first engine that ran on the compression-ignition principle — one that is known around the world today by his last name: Diesel. Unfortunately, Mr. Diesel passed away in September of 1913 at the age of 55 — 100 years ago next month, and didn’t get to witness his invention’s wide-reaching effects on the world of transportation.
Yet as the Diesel engine is celebrating its 120th birthday, Chevrolet — one of the greatest and longest-running automotive marques in history — has recently launched a mainstream vehicle powered by a a diesel engine.
The 2014 Chevy Cruze Turbo Diesel and its 2.0 liter turbo-diesel powerplant offers the most torque and the highest fuel economy of any diesel-powered sedan sold in the United States, and it’s arriving across showrooms as you read this. Outside of impressive fuel economy (at 46 MPG highway), Chevy’s new oil burner is smooth-running and offers plenty of mid-range torque (at 258 lb-ft, or an overboosted 280 lb-ft for 10 seconds) — qualities that are sure to have put a smile on Mr. Diesel’s face were he around today.
It’s just a shame that somewhere along the lines, actor Vin Diesel — who was born Mark Sinclair — decided to use the esteemed Diesel name for himself.