Cruze Diesel Driven 900 Miles At 57.7 Average MPG

General Motors has posted a video showing yet another potential advantage offered by the pending 2013 Chevrolet Cruze turbo diesel over the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

At least that’s the hope, because the competitive advantages appear to possibly be mixed with disadvantages as well, such as a starting price higher by $730, and city mpg lower by 3 mpg.

But the Cruze diesel is well equipped at that price, promises more power, highway mileage of 46 vs 42 for the Jetta TDI, and on that note, GM engineer Tessa Baughman says she achieved an 800 and 900 mile run, each on a single tank. She did this, she says, while avoiding other hyper mileage techniques with the only concession to maximizing fuel economy being that she drove 5 mph below the posted limit.

With a fuel tank capacity of 15.6 gallons for the Cruze diesel, this equates to a highway figure of 51.28 and 57.69 mpg respectively.

As a point of comparison, the record set with a manual-transmission 2013 VW Passat TDI rated at 43 mpg highway was an astonishing 84.1 mpg over 1,626 mpg.

However this was set by expert hyper mileage instructors, John and Helen Taylor, and in this case, the boilerplate caveat “your mileage may vary” applies doubly.

The take home message with the Cruze Diesel is it too can substantially beat its highway numbers, so, is it thus possible it can beat its city mpg number and close the gap between it and the VW as well?

The Cruze diesel starts at $ $24,885 plus $810 destination charge. It is available only with automatic transmission. Volkwagen offers a manual for $23,055 plus $795 destination or automatic for $24,155 plus destination charges.

The EPA mileage per gallon estimates for the Cruze Diesel are 27 city, 46 highway, 33 combined. For the Jetta TDI, it’s 32 city, 42 highway, 33 combined.

This said, options can easily make either car overlap each other, and GM says for the starting price, its Cruze Diesel is a comparatively solid value as equipped.

Without a doubt, VW has established a fan base for its Jetta TDI, which leads the small but growing clean diesel car market. The Chevrolet, GM points out, has a track record too, however. It was launched in other markets in 2010, and 33,000 units have been sold so far.

The gas variants of the Cruze furthermore have proven to be a top seller for GM, even usurping once stalwarts such as the Honda Civic.

So, if the Cruze diesel, engineered with help from Germans to give all comers a run for their money is as good as promised, GM does stand to begin eroding VW’s market.

Working against them all is diesel remains more expensive than gasoline, making the premium each vehicle costs over gas equivalents a real exercise in number crunching.

In their favor also, diesels can operate at lower rpms, potentially can last longer for those who keep their cars till the wheels fall off, and their power characteristics are excellent also.

The Cruze is said to offer performance like a V6 with highway mileage only 2 mpg less than the Toyota Prius Liftback, and with potential to match the Prius Liftback’s mileage and be much faster when desired. Of course, The Prius’ 51 mpg city and 50 mpg combined figures solidly trounce the Cruze diesel’s 27 mpg and 33 mpg respectively, but the Toyota is an altogether different technology that lends itself to excellent city figures.

We could go on and on with point and counterpoint, but the addition of a new contender, whether it sells well, or only moderately, can only be seen as a step in the right direction.

Rome was not built in a day, and neither will a changeover be to more fuel-efficient transportation.