That Comes in a Diesel? 10 Models You Might Not Know About
Want a diesel-powered vehicle, but don't like what's easily available? Here are five that you will be able to buy in the U.S. — plus, five you wish you could.
Clean-air laws and lingering memories of smoky, smelly, sooty exhausts have relegated diesel cars to obscurity here in America. Despite the amazing fuel economy and power that diesel engines deliver, only two automakers offer them with any consistency: Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. Sure, diesel fuel costs more than regular gasoline, and the cars themselves cost upward of $2,000 more than their gasoline variants. But advances in low-sulfur diesel, special exhaust additives and high-tech catalytic converters have made most modern diesels more environmentally friendly than their gas-powered counterparts — without the smoke or smell. And the extra fuel costs and premium for the engine are, in most cases, offset by the fuel-efficiency savings. Here are five diesel-powered cars that are either here or coming to the United States, along with a few alluring models that, tragically, we won't get.
2013 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Chevrolet hasn't sold a diesel car in the United States in more than 20 years. The compact Cruze sedan, introduced last year, will be available in early 2013 with a diesel engine that should beat the 42-mpg highway figure of the gasoline Eco trim. It's also a milestone; other than the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, no other compact car offers a diesel engine. The engine will likely be the same 2.0-liter 4-cylinder used in Europe, with 163 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm. That engine, when paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, achieves more than 50 mpg on European test cycles. We expect it to cost around $22,000, about the price of the roomier Jetta TDI.
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Like Chevrolet, Jeep has sold diesels overseas for a long time. But why not here, where a diesel's low-end torque is ideally suited to Jeep's low-range 4-wheel drive? For 2013, Jeep says it will offer a diesel engine on the popular Grand Cherokee. It will likely bolt on its trusty European workhorse: a 3.0-liter V6 with a thumping 406 lb-ft of torque. That's more than 50 percent greater than what the 3.6-liter V6 musters. (Jeep also has a smaller 2.8-liter diesel V6 for European-spec Wranglers, but we doubt they'll bring that, too.) Expect much better mileage than the current 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel
Porsche introduced Europe to its first-ever diesel engine on the 2010 Cayenne, a top-heavy SUV that continues to outsell the company's Boxster and 911 models. Now, paired with the Cayenne's sleek redesign, the U.S. will receive the diesel later this year. The brand-new S Hybrid already does what the standard V6 Cayenne can't: boast great performance while achieving better gas mileage. The diesel, a more powerful version of the 3.0-liter diesel found in the Volkswagen Touareg TDI, will be a fantastic reason to pass on the regular S and its thirstier V8. If sales go well, perhaps Porsche will consider a Panamera diesel.
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI
OK, so Volkswagen has lapsed with some of its diesels. The redesigned 2012 Passat brings back the beloved TDI diesel, not seen since 2005. While the body styling screams stale bread — the rear looks like an old Kia Optima — the rest of the car is class-leading. VW says the Passat TDI can travel 795 miles on its 18.5-gallon tank, with fuel-economy ratings of 31 mpg city/43 mpg highway with the 6-speed manual transmission. What other well-equipped full-size sedan can offer that for less than $27,000? Not even most hybrids half its size can beat that; we're looking at you, Honda Insight.
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Oil and corn (ethanol) lobbyists have tried hard lately to kill the diesel. in the US, but it won't die. Compared to a hybrid, it performs much better (thanks to incredible torque), is much simpler to operate and maintain, and gets nearly as much fuel mileage (particlular on the highway), and is cheaper to build and buy. In Europe diesel engine options are accounting for nearly 50% of all cars actually sold there.
Diesel is the way to go. If your current representatives disagree, give them the boot, they have been bought and paid for.
It is interesting to note that the U.S. is so stuck on its safety and emmissions requirements , that what is forgotten is that the rest of the world, Europe and Asia have been building fuel efficient cars for decades. This country doesn't live in a bubble where our standards outway the rest of the worlds. Especially now that the price of oil IS Mostly determined by unstable and unreliable trading partners, especialy the ones in the Middle East, we should be most focused on how to maxamize fuel effeciently with the already off the shelf technology. Diesel technology should lead the way right now.As previously stated by other readers, companies like Ford, VW, Hyundai and others already have cars that deliver unbeleavable milleage. VW in England has a Passat 1.6 diesel that delivers a whopping 70+ miles hywy and 54 city, which combines to over 60+ mpg overall!! for under $24,000. Ford in Europe has similiar. It's time for this country to wake up and get real about fuel efficiency, It's time for the American consumers to have a choice for fuel savings. If we do this, we will no longer be at the whims of Midddle Eastern countries who have nothing but profits from oil on their minds. Maybe we will also cut our oil bill by 300-400 Billion dollars a year.!!
It makes me take pause and wonder... does OUR government really want this??