Chevrolet Cruze diesel sets US MPG record

… European diesel model stars in US fuel efficiency tests …

The new US-model Chevrolet Cruze diesel has set an industry-best fuel economy record of 46 US MPG – that’s 55mpg in UK MPG.

The new turbodiesel model is launching in several key US cities this spring, prior to its nationwide release later this year.

The first diesel Cruze model to go on sale in the US, Chevrolet’s new Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel boasts a 700-mile range on a full tank, despite the 148hp 2.0-litre motor being fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission.

To put it another way, says Chevrolet, that’s 10 hours’ highway driving…

Chevrolet is introducing the diesel model to the US as high fuel prices continue to put pressure on US motorists. Analysts say a marked shift towards smaller and more fuel efficient cars is underway – a big transition in a country known for its gas-guzzlers.

Diesels haven’t traditionally been popular in the US but such expensive fuel prices are leading to a rethink. Volkswagen is already making good headway with TDI models in the US and Chevrolet is now calling upon its global resources to offer an oil-burning alternative.

The Cruze diesel is essentially a federalized version of the 2.0-litre model sold in the UK. It produces the same 148hp and has up to 280lb ft of torque.

Interestingly, Chevrolet reveals it has sold 2 million Cruze since the car was launched in 2010 – but only 33,000 of those are diesel models, despite diesel being the predominant fuel in Europe. Even in the UK, diesel sales now outnumber petrol volumes.

Will that number rapidly rise now it’s on sale in the US? It’ll be an interesting litmus test of how diesel goes down in the world’s second largest new car market.

It will also be interesting to see if Chevrolet launches this clean diesel version in Europe. Although the tests aren’t quite comparable, the windscreen sticker stats still stand: as the Motoring Research dataset shows, the low-emission new US model is actually more fuel-efficient than the 2.0-litre models we get over here… /By Richard Aucock

Ford revises Mondeo range and launches new £16k bargain


Ford has rationalised the Mondeo range by cutting back on trim variants, improving equipment levels, reducing prices – and launching a bargain new entry-level range.

The Ford Mondeo range now opens at just £15,995 for the 120hp 1.6 TI-VCT Graphite – that’s £310 LESS than a 105hp Ford Focus Edge!

The Graphite, which is also offered in 1.6T 160 EcoBoost petrol plus either a 1.6 TDCi 115 or 2.0 TDCi 140 diesel, isn’t even a stripped-back special, either.

It includes 17-inch alloys, air con, LED running lights, Bluetooth, Quickclear heated windscreen and all-round electric windows. Diesel models get sports suspension and the 1.6 TDCi even gets a rear spoiler.

At the other end of the range, Ford has cut back on the array of Titanium-badged models. Now, there’s simply Titanium X Business Edition and Titanium X Sport: both get sat nav as standard, while the Business Edition model gets full leather trim and a much better retained value, despite costing £1500 LESS than the car it replaces.

The standard Zetec has also been ditched, leaving only the Zetec Business Edition to make things simpler for the fleet drivers it’s been created to attract.

Company car users will find more to like with a revised range of engines: CO2 emissions for the 2.0-litre TDCi have been cut to 119g/km – that’s in both 140hp and 163hp guise, meaning both also average over 61mpg.

That cuts VED from £105 a year to just £30.

Ford says it’s intentionally focusing on both private and fleet buyers with the revised Mondeo range. The bargain-price Graphite has been designed to appeal in the retail market, with those Focus-challenging prices expected to draw plenty of interest.

Indeed, this actually means it’s the previous entry-level car, the Edge, that now appears the weakest model in the line-up. This doesn’t have sat nav as an option (it’s £1700 extra) and costs just £1000 less than the Zetec Business Edition that DOES have nav as standard.

Confused as to why Ford hasn’t taken the opportunity to rationalise things further? So are we… /By Richard Aucock

Motoring Research has the revised range of Mondeo hatchbacks in our database now: follow the link to see what a bargain that Graphite model is…

MG: £2500 finance deal creates the £199 MG6


MG Motor is offering up to £2500 off the finance deposit for an MG6 in its latest effort to help drive sales.

The Birmingham-based brand suffered a hefty 82 per cent sales decline in the key new car sales month of March, with registrations plunging from 236 to just 41 cars.

To help turn around this huge sales decline, the firm is offering £2500 off the deposit of an MG6 GT SE and TSE 1.8T petrol bought on finance through MG Finance.

Those who choose the far preferable diesel will get a lesser £600 contribution, reflecting which is the choice MG6 model…

This means the thirsty petrol car can be bought from £199 a month, with the DTI-Tech cars costing from £249 a month.

The firm is also highlighting the continued availability of the MG6 BTCC Edition: the creative special edition carries extras worth up to £1000 – or, as we reported last year for MSN Cars, ‘money can’t buy’ extras such as a trip to a BTCC race and a chat with Jason Plato.

Elsewhere, the firm is also cleverly showing off the strong 1600kg towing capacity of the MG6 DTI-Tech by offering a free Witter tow bar with every diesel model sold. Again, more creative thinking that may win favour in the Caravan Club’s annual (and influential) Tow Car of the Year Awards… /By Richard Aucock

SEAT Mii: £79 a month with free insurance too


SEAT has revealed one of the sharpest new car deals around – a Mii, for £79 a month, with a year’s free insurance thrown in for good measure.

The deal is subject to a £2630 deposit but the free insurance deal may offset that for younger drivers: it’s valid for drivers aged over 21 years…

… and AA British Insurance Premium Index analysis shows the average premium for a 23-29 year old stands at £1136 a year. And that’s an average – the younger you are, the more you’ll pay. Or the more you’ll save in this deal.

It isn’t just a bog-standard Mii, either. The deal is centred on the special edition Mii Toca, a model based on the SE that includes alloys, rear parking sensors and the touchscreen SEAT portable touchscreen system – which, remarkably, comes with built in sat nav and Bluetooth!

Air con is also standard, as are electric door mirrors, split rear seat and a gloss white dash trim.

It uses the 60hp 1.0-litre engine which averages 62.8mpg and emits 105g/km CO2. And an insurance rating of 1E means it should remain affordable when the free insurance deal runs out, too.

SEAT’s offering the £79 a month deal as part of a 42-month PCP, which is based on an average 5000 miles a year. Below the national average but still realistic for a city car. Just be aware every extra mile over this will cost 4.4 pence.

Even so, it’s a pretty tempting deal for the car Motoring Research’s Sean is currently running as a long-termer. Such sophistication for less than £20 a week? We reckon it’s little short of a steal… /By Richard Aucock

Dacia Logan MCV: 1518 litres for £6995


Dacia has revealed the UK’s most affordable estate car will cost from £6995 when it is launched in July – giving it an unbeatable space-to-price ratio.

The new Logan MCV boasts a 573-litre boot with the seats up: that’s virtually as large as a Volvo V70. Yet it also costs less than a VW Up – and three and a half times less than the cheapest Volvo V70.

Hence the name: MCV – or, Maximum Capacity Vehicle…

Seats down, space extends to 1518 litres. The opening is more than a metre wide too, with 787mm from base to roofline. It should be practical enough then – even if the base engine might not have the guts to quite cope with it.

The £6995 Dacia Logan MCV

The £6995 tag buys you a 1.2-litre 75hp engine that will be familiar to drivers of the outgoing Renault Clio. It’s hardly the fastest thing in the world and claimed economy of 48.7mpg is likely to be a high water mark, given how you may have to drive it.

Much better is the 0.9-litre TCe 90 three-cylinder petrol, a delight of an engine that has the added bonus of turbocharged torque, too. Just one problem – that starts at £8395, rather than £6995. But it does average 56.5mpg and, with CO2 emissions of 116g/km, also comes in under the new 130g/km CO2 company car writing down allowance barrier.

The 135g/km entry car doesn’t.

Or there’s a 90hp 1.5-litre dCi diesel, with much more torque still, and 74.3mpg fuel economy (along with free road tax courtesy of 99g/km CO2 emissions). That starts at £9395.

The trim lines of the Dacia Logan MCV

Dacia offers three trim lines with the Logan MCV, in line with other models: Access, Ambiance and Laureate. Only the meek 1.2-litre engine comes in Access trim, and it’s pretty basic: no stereo, no wheel trims, no electric windows (it does have body-colour bumpers though, unlike the £5995 Sandero Access).

Ambiance adds all this plus Bluetooth, remove central locking and posher interior trim. Impressively, Laureate trim (costing from £8995 with that 1.2-litre motor) is expected to sell best: it adds air con, electric door mirrors, cruise control and alloys.

You can even get sat nav on the Laureate, for just £250.

Dacia Logan MCV: the deal

Keen to bag the UK’s cheapest estate? Get in fast, then: although test drives don’t start until July, orders can be placed from today – and with a lead time of a couple of months, you should act fast if you’re to steal a march on other buyers.

It’s Sandero-based so won’t set the world alight in how it drives, but will still be perfectly passable for the undemanding. And really, driving dynamics won’t be top of your list if you’re shopping for a cheap estate: space and price will be…

… and there really is no other new car on sale in the UK that can match the price-busting new Dacia Logan MCV. /By Richard Aucock