European automakers have almost exclusively cornered the diesel car market since it came into existence in the 1930s. However, the new Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel and the Mazda6 diesel option are making a lauded leap into the market. These two cars outperform all others in the diesel lineup in power, emissions standards, and fuel economy, while keeping pace in price.
The Chevy Cruze CTD comes equipped with a 2.0-L turbocharged engine that can deliver 151 horsepower. According to a recent Car and Driver article, the acceleration on the Cruze is solid. With the standard 6-speed automatic transmission, the Cruze CTD can jump from 0 to 60 in 8.1 seconds.
The Mazda6 has an optional 2.2-L twin turbo engine that uses SKYACTIV technology to deliver 173 horsepower. Mazda’s website touts diesel fuel’s ability to deliver more power, and it says that their new technology creates an engine that is not slowed like previous generation engines.
Both are powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility. So the companies designed engines that produce less nitrous oxide and particulate emissions than older diesels. The Cruze CTD does this by using urea, a chemical additive that must be replaced around every 10,000 miles. Mazda6, however, built their engine with the lowest compression ratio of any diesel vehicle (14:1). Because of this, the combustion temperature is lower and less nitrous oxide is created. Mazda also promises that this increases power output and fuel economy.
Diesel fuel prices have long been said to fluctuate less. Even though diesel prices are usually a little higher, it helps the budget-minded estimate their weekly fuel cost. Both cars beat their gasoline counterparts in gas mileage, as well as competing diesel vehicles. The Mazda6 diesel is said to get 43 MPG highway, compared to the Jetta TDi at 42 MPG highway.
The Cruze CTD trumps both, though, with an EPA estimated 46 MPG highway. With its high fuel economy and tank capacity, the Cruze CTD can cover 717 highway miles on one tank. This means you could drive from Indianapolis to New York City without having to stop—well, not to fill up, at least.
The Cruze CTD starts at just under $25,000. This price jumps up slightly from other Cruze models, three of which—including the Eco—are under $20,000. But with better gas mileage and less scheduled maintenance, the Cruze CTD has fewer additional costs each year. Just get the oil changed every 7,500 miles, and you’ll be good to go.
Unlike the Cruze CTD, the Mazda6 does not have a specific diesel trim. So while the Mazda6 starts at $21,000, there is an additional cost to go diesel.