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Auto blogMon, 28 Jan 2013 13:30:00 EST
It's been a little over a year and a half since General Motors first confirmed plans to offer a diesel-powered Chevrolet Cruze here in the United States, and we've now learned that the oil-burning compact will debut under the lights of the Chicago Auto Show in February. According to GM Authority, the Cruze Eco-D will be introduced as part of the entire 2014 model year Cruze range, set to go on sale in the second quarter of this year.
Earlier reports have indicated that the diesel Cruze will be able to achieve fuel economy numbers in the range of 50 miles per gallon. For comparison, the similarly sized Volkswagen Jetta TDI is rated at 30/42 mpg city/highway, but as we found out in our long-term test of the 2011 model, hitting 50 mpg was a piece of cake.
Official specifications will be released at the time of the 2014 Cruze's unveiling, though reports have stated that the sedan will be powered by a reworked version of the 2.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-four found in the Holden Cruze CDX overseas. In that application, the four-pot oil-burner produces 160 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque - increases of 20 hp and 29 lb-ft over the 2.0-liter engine used in VW's Jetta TDI.
The days of changing your engine oil every 3,000 miles are long gone thanks to most cars having automatic oil monitoring systems, but about 800,000 General Motors vehicles apparently have incorrect monitoring software that is leading to premature engine component wear. According to Autoweek, certain 2010-2012 Buick LaCrosse, Regal, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain models equipped with 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines could be going too long in between oil changes resulting in a higher-than-normal number of warranty claims for the engine's balance chain. The balance chain links the balance shaft to the crankshaft, and a worn one can produce higher noise levels.
As a fix, GM dealers will be reprogramming the software for the monitors in an effort to reduce the interval between oil changes, which varies based on driving habits and conditions. Through February 2015, the software update will be done at no cost to vehicle owners, but since this is not a recall, after that point, it will be up to the discretion of dealers as to whether or not they will charge for the service. What isn't immediately clear is whether GM plans on giving assistance to out-of-warranty customers who are experiencing engine issues from the worn chain.
We've been on the fence with NASCAR for some time now. On one hand, it's some of the closest racing anywhere in motorsports, with actual passing and door-handle-to-door-handle action as a matter of course. But on the other, it's become template racing - a personality-driven sport more about the drivers than any sort of loyalty to a particular automaker. The Car Of Tomorrow format really rammed that message home, with a racecar's identity coming down to little more than headlamp stickers slapped on the nose. That's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but we've wondered for some time what's in it for the automakers, who pay big money to stay in a series that has had little increasingly little do with street car sales, let alone innovation.
Apparently General Motors was beginning to wonder the same thing. In a new ESPN report, Rick Hendrick, team owner of Hendrick Motorsports, suggests that GM would have seriously considered leaving NASCAR if it wasn't for the move away from the COT to the new Gen 6 racer. According to Hendrick, GM North America boss Mark Reuss spearheaded the charge away from the 2007 COT and toward a racecar with clearer automaker ties - cars like the new Chevrolet SS racer shown above. Learn more about the fight for a closer-to-production look in the ESPN story at the link.
Now, if we could just get more rear-wheel drive V8 coupes into showrooms....