Addicted to Torque: Top 10 Diesels We Want in the U.S. Now
Just a decade ago, the consumer diesel market in America was practically nonexistent. Aside from domestic full-sized trucks, Volkswagen was one of the only automakers catering to diehard diesel loyalists. Those Volkswagen TDI drivers may have been oil-burning oddballs, but they also lead the way to the resurgence of modern and clean diesel cars in America.
Today, diesel sales account for almost a quarter of Volkswagen’s total sales in the States (21.3 percent for April). Other automakers like Mercedes-Benz, which currently offers diesels in the E-Class and select SUVs, are also experiencing sales success. These modern diesels not only pass our tough emissions laws, but are quiet and fuel efficient, as well. Most importantly, consumers are taking notice.
Not surprisingly, the variety of torque-tastic, spark-plug-less engines are growing. Here’s our list of new diesel-powered vehicles that we’re eager to see on our shores. Most cars here have been confirmed, while a few are more on the speculative side.
2013 Chevy Cruze: “Look at the number of diesels our competition sells in that class,” General Motors North America president Mark Reuss told Wards earlier this year. “It’s not small.” Reuss was referring to the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and GM hopes to steal some of its market share with an oil-burning Cruze. Expected to arrive next year, the Cruze diesel will get the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel offered in Europe. It’s rated at 163 hp, 265 lb-ft of torque, and could return 50 mpg.
2013 Audi Q5 TDI: The big news for the refreshed Q5 is its new range of powerplants, including a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel engine. Power figures are rated at 245 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. Audi claims a 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds and it should return 37 mpg — not bad for an all-wheel-drive SUV. The gas-powered 2013 Q5s will arrive later this year, which means the diesel engine should get here sometime in 2013.
Ford Transit Van: Ford’s long-running E-Series Wagon and Van are soon to be replaced by the more modern and fuel-efficient Transit van. Ford announced that a diesel will be among the engine choices, but details haven’t yet been released. Production of the Transit van starts at the automaker’s plant in Kansas City, Missouri later this year (the European Tourneo Custom is shown at right).
Jeep Grand Cherokee: Earlier this year Jeep confirmed the arrival of diesel-powered Grand Cherokee sometime in 2013. It’s expected to get a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 currently offered in Europe that’s rated at 237 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. A diesel-powered Wrangler would be nice as well, but Jeep chief Mike Manley suggests that it probably won’t happen until the arrival of the next-gen model.
Mazda6: There’s a strong possibility that when the 2014 Mazda6 arrives next year, it could offer the automaker’s 2.2-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv diesel engine. Mazda is intent on bringing a diesel engine to North America, but won’t say which vehicle will get it first. If it’s not the Mazda6, it will likely be the new Mazda CX-5 crossover, which is currently offered with just one engine choice.
Mercedes-Benz GLK250 Bluetec: Mercedes-Benz is introducing a new four-cylinder diesel engine into its U.S. product lineup and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK is the first to get it. The 2.1-liter, turbodiesel is rated at 190 hp and a whopping 369 lb-ft torque, which should be plenty for this baby crossover. This GLK will feature start/stop technology and, although the EPA hasn’t yet rated it, the diesel crossover should return better fuel economy than the GLK350, at 16/22 mpg city/highway. The GLK250 is set to arrive early next year.
Infiniti G diesel: We recently chatted with a source close to Infiniti who suggested that the brand might use the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz 2.1-liter turbodiesel in the M sedan and possibly the next-gen G. The diesels are officially headed to Korean and European markets, the source says, but that could change if Infiniti sees enough U.S. demand for diesels.
Next-Gen Land Rover Range Rover: Land Rover’s luxo-barge is set to arrive sometime next year, but the automaker has kept details under wraps. Rumor has it, however, that a diesel-powered Range Rover could arrive on our shores. The current diesel engine offered in Europe is a 4.4-liter, turbocharged V-8 rated at 309 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque and propels the SUV from 0-62 mph in 7.5 seconds.
BMW 3 Series: Our long-term fleet once included a 335d sedan, which immediately won us over with its turbocharged, inline-six diesel that produced 425 lb-ft of torque. BMW hasn’t officially announced the return of the 3 Series diesel, but since the automaker has also decided to continue selling the wagon on our shores, a four- or six-cylinder diesel is a possibility.
GMC Terrain/Chevy Equinox: Especially if the diesel-powered Chevy Cruze is a success, the engine l should spread to other models in the company’s portfolio. The GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox are capable crossovers, but we can’t think of better way to widen their appeal than by adding a diesel engine. Nothing is official yet, but we predict this duo may be next in line after the Cruze to receive GM’s 2.0-liter four cylinder turbodiesel.