The redesigned model only needs an extra four mpg to hit the 50 mpg benchmark on the highway.

General Motors appears confident the next-generation Cruze Diesel is capable of reaching the 50-mpg benchmark.

The outgoing Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel achieved a 46-mpg EPA estimate for highway operation, "better than any non-hybrid passenger car in America" at the time, requiring just four extra miles per gallon to reach the higher echelon.

The revamped model takes advantage of GM's new 9T50 nine-speed automatic transmission, adding three more gears than its predecessor. In the Malibu, the gearbox is said to bring a three-percent increase in fuel efficiency. A six-speed manual will be available to woo former Volkswagen owners.

The new Cruze also benefits from a newly designed 1.6-liter turbodiesel mill with a lighter aluminum cylinder block. It will deliver 137 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque,

GM has not announced specific figures for the new Cruze Diesel's EPA-estimated highway rating, but development chief Mark Reuss told Automotive News "I think it will start with a five."