GM Doubles Down on Diesel for MPG and Torque
At a time when many auto manufacturers are leaning away from diesel, General Motors seems to be all in. General Motors is rightfully proud of the Duramax turbocharged diesel truck engines, with the 6.6L found in its full-size heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups and the 2.8L in the mid-size trucks—Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Clean Fleet Report tested the 2016 Colorado Diesel and was impressed with the engine’s smooth and torquey power and the 30+ mpg fuel economy.
But what about drivers that don’t want or need a truck, but still want the fuel economy of a diesel? Chevrolet has you covered with the Cruze Diesel that gets in excess of 50 miles per gallon on the highway. With Volkswagen no longer offering a diesel power plant, the Cruze Diesel should satisfy drivers with long commutes who want efficiency in a sedan or hatchback.
This is all good for truck and compact car diesel enthusiasts, but what about the fastest growing and largest sales segment of the auto industry—crossovers and sport utility vehicles? Chevrolet hasn’t left you wanting as the 2018 Equinox comes in a gasoline and diesel variant, with the diesel engine accomplishing a notable feat.
Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel
The Ecotec 1.6L turbodiesel, currently available in the Equinox compact SUV, has just been EPA rated at a best-in-class 39 mpg highway, with a 28 mpg in the city. Combine this with the 14.8 gallon fuel tank, and the 577 miles of driving range is also best-in-class. Horsepower is rated at 137 with 240 pounds-feet of torque.
This “best-in-class” designation includes topping the hybrid versions of the compact SUVs: Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. It is no small accomplishment to reach these fuel economy numbers in a 4,000+ pound SUV available in two- and four-wheel drive. Clean Fleet Report will have a full review of the Equinox with the 1.6L turbo-diesel soon.
General Motors Has a Diesel Plan
General Motor’s engine and transmission engineers are now part of the Propulsion Systems team. The new terminology recognizes that engines can be powered by the conventional gasoline and diesel fuels, but also battery electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells. GM designers and engineers must now be aware of a diverse universe of power plants to satisfy the needs of customers worldwide.
Worldwide, General Motors has 34 diesel models—12 of those being sold in the United States—including five diesel engines ranging from a 1.0L three-cylinder to the 6.6L V8.
The most recent new diesel engine on the scene is the Ecotec 1.6L, found in the 2018 Equinox. Designed in Torino, Italy; built in Hungary; and with engineering teams from the United States and Germany working on the five-year project, this is a prime example of GM’s ability to work on a global scale. Tom Read, GM Global Propulsion Systems Communications, said that “General Motors gives customers a choice in vehicles and propulsion systems, along with efficiency, premium torque and high fuel economy.”
The estimated 2020 compact SUV market will be somewhere around three million vehicles, with 16-percent of these buyers considering diesel. These 480,000 potential consumers for diesel-powered compact SUVs, the category the Equinox lives in, means GM is anticipating strong sales for the Equinox diesel.
Observations: General Motors is All In with Diesel
General Motors has stated its goals of offering multiple vehicle and engine options for customers. Its diesel program offers outstanding fuel economy, great torque and a good variety of models to meet driver’s lifestyles. With diesel power currently in full and mid-size trucks, a compact sedan and hatchback and now a small SUV, consumers should be able to find something that meets their needs.
Clean Fleet Report is a fan of diesel and hopes that GM broadens the model availability with this economical power option.
Related Stories You Might Enjoy:
Road Test: 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel
Road Test: 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbodiesel