• Cruze Diesel rated at 46 miles per gallon highway
  • City fuel economy rated at 27 mpg
  • Cruze Diesel starts at $25,695 with shipping

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel will return 46 mpg highway. Chevrolet's parent company, General Motors, recently announced that figure, which comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It beats Chevrolet's initial estimate by 4 mpg.

With a fuel economy rating of 46 mpg hwy, the Cruze Diesel is the most fuel-efficient car in the U.S. that's not electric- or hybrid-powered. Close rivals include the Volkswagen Passat TDI (rated at 43 mpg) and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI (rated at 42 mpg). The Toyota Prius model's 48 mpg hwy only barely tops the Cruze's 46 mpg hwy rating.

But the Cruze Diesel isn't quite as good around town. According to the EPA, the Cruze is rated at just 27 mpg in the city. That puts it below the Jetta and Passat TDI, both of which are rated at 30 mpg city. And the Cruze's city rating is way under the Prius model's 51 mpg city. Still, the Cruze Diesel's combined city and highway figure is a respectable 33 mpg.

The Cruze Diesel was revealed earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 148 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Due at dealers this summer, the sedan's range is a whopping 700 miles on a single tank of fuel. And acceleration is respectable, too, reaching 60 miles per hour in around 8.7 seconds.

Unfortunately, the Cruze Diesel's fuel economy benefits come at a hefty premium. While the base-level, gas-powered Cruze starts under $18,000 with shipping, the Cruze Diesel starts at $25,695. That's big money, considering the Prius starts around $25,000 and the Jetta TDI is closer to $23,500.

Despite the pricing, Chevrolet says the Cruze Diesel offers a great value in comparison to rivals. The automaker reminds shoppers, for example, that the Jetta TDI comes standard with a manual transmission. The Cruze, however, uses a 6-speed automatic. The Cruze also comes with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, leather seats and two years of free maintenance.

What it means to you: If you do a lot of highway driving, consider adding the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel to your shopping list.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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