It’s a common trope among auto scribes to clamor for diesels. We cite waves of torque and increased fuel efficiency, as examples on why every man, woman and child of legal driving age needs to embrace the green fuel pump. Yet diesels continue to have bafflingly low acceptance rates in the U.S.—with the exception of Volkswagen products, diesels have the same take rate among ‘Mericans as soccer and consuming gelatin-like animal heads.
But that could change. Chevrolet is obliging us by planning a diesel version of the Cruze, and at the Paris Auto Show at the end of September, it will unveil a diesel version of the Malibu. The question is: Will the diesel Malibu come here?
It seems logical. The engine is the exact same 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 160 horsepower that we’ll get in the diesel Cruze, a combination that could reach up to 50 miles per gallon—besting the Cruze Eco and the Jetta TDI by at least 7 mpg.
Still, a diesel in the Cruze may be a tough proposition, especially when facing the juggernaut that is Volkswagen TDI. Diesels may work on a Jetta, but consumer bias (totally unfounded) may keep the engine from selling well in a GM compact. However, a diesel Malibu, with its larger size and need for prodigious torque, may be an easier sell in today’s market. The Malibu Eco is the highest-achieving model in the lineup, with a rating of 25/37 mpg city and highway. Expect a diesel Malibu to achieve a rating at least into the 40s. If it does, it’ll have to battle the only other diesel midsizer in America, the Passat TDI, for green-handled supremacy.
If it’s successful, maybe we could see the little diesel in other GM products. Diesel Chevy Equinox, anybody? What would you like to see in America with a diesel? Sound off in the comments below, or tweet at us.