… 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