Why GM's 2.0-liter diesel is cleaner in America's Cruze than it is in Europe
Well, almost. Mike Siegrist, chief engineer behind the US engine, tells AutoblogGreen that Chevrolet engineers in the US worked with GM's team in Torino, Italy to adapt the powerplant for GM's first US diesel passenger car since the 1986 Chevette. To do this, the team tinkered with four main aspects: emissions, diagnostics, environmental conditions (that is, how hot or cold it is outside) and altitude. Siegrist notes the US has higher paved roads – Mount Evans in Colorado, for example – than Europe does, and it also has stricter emissions regulations, all of which necessitated the changes.
Thus, the US Cruze TD has a new intake manifold and throttle body system and an increased capacity exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler that offers better NOx control, Siegrist said. A common rail piezo injection system running at 1,600 bar (the European engine runs at 2,000 bar) offers "really, really good fuel control," Siegrist says. To start in colder conditions, the US diesel engine has ceramic glow plugs while the Europeans get metal glow plugs. There is also an engine oil heater that can be plugged in if you're trying to start the Cruze in frostbite conditions.
With all of these changes, the US 2.0 turbodiesel engine actually ends up being cleaner than the European model. Siegrist wouldn't venture a guess as to how much cleaner, exactly, but he did say it meets the stricter US standards and that, "the margin's bigger than what you think." So, for all those times when we wished we could taste the forbidden fruit of a European powertrain, this is a chance for America to get the better – or at least cleaner – end of the bargain. Unfortunately, tuning for US emissions and fuel also means we get less power. The estimated power output of the 2.0-liter diesel in the US is 148 horsepower, but its European counterpart enjoys 163. The price of progress.
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