2012 Diesel Cars in USA: Here’s the Lineup

2012 Volkswagan Passat Diesel
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI courtesy of VW.com

Update: Our 2013 Diesel Cars in the USA article is now available!

In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new diesel car in 2012? It’s an idea worth considering.

From images of long-haul trucking, to nightmares of sitting in the back of a grandparent’s noxious Olds vista cruiser diesel, Americans haven’t shown too much interest in diesel cars in the past. Yet with the economy still in the doldrums, and gas prices rising faster than an express elevator, diesel cars are suddenly getting a lot more attention.

The good news is that many of the world’s manufacturers make great diesel products. The bad news is that lack of domestic demand and tightening budgets mean that few have been certified for sale in the U.S. The EPA has more stringent requirements than Europe does for controlling NOx – Nitric Oxide, the key compound that produces smog. The technology to meet these standards exists, but it’s expensive (to develop, manufacture and certify), which is why many of the diesels you see on the market in the U.S. are at the high end of the price range.

This issue is also the reason why there are so many diesel cars available in other countries that are not available in the United States. Simply put, it’s so expensive to develop a diesel engine that meets US emissions standards that most manufacturers don’t bother. Particularly since diesels have never been a popular engine choice in the US market.

It also doesn’t help that the average price per gallon of diesel in the U.S. (as of June 2011) is 25 cents more than gasoline. However, a diesel’s increased miles per gallon means that it usually comes out ahead on overall savings, thus the new surge in consumer interest. Check out this article for more on the differences between American and European diesel markets.

Nonetheless, there are some excellent diesel alternative cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks for sale in America right now.

Here’s the lineup. We’re still adding photos of these cars as the 2012 photos become available.

Audi Diesels

Audi is a marketing leader when it comes to diesel, despite having a small product offering in showrooms. Recent Superbowl ads, dominance in sports car racing with diesel-engined winners, and several global awards have put Audi TDI Clean Diesel Technology in the forefront of many shoppers minds. Availability is a concern, as evidenced during a recent trip to a local Audi dealer when a dealer informed me earliest delivery would be in 4 months. However a quick search on cars.com and autotrader.com showed there are indeed TDIs available — you just have to be prepared to take a drive to get one.

A3 TDI – The A3 currently for sale will be replaced by an updated model for 2012. Expect the same award-winning handling and performance/economy balance. New will be a fresh interior, bringing the A3 up to date with the latest Audi A8 and A6 designs. The exterior too will be new, and offer for the first time a sedan variant (the current model is offered only as a compact wagon). Fuel economy will likely remain unchanged as Audi has not indicated the current TDI engine will be replaced by a vastly different unit. MSRP of the 2011 A3 TDI is $30,250, and a slight increase in price is likely for the 2012 model. Fuel economy is the A3’s strong suit, and it’s doubtful that the 30 city/42 highway MPG figures will decrease at all.

Q7 TDI – The Q7 will remain unchanged for the 2012 model year. Unlike the much smaller A3, the Q7 is a full-size luxury SUV. The engine up front is bigger, while performance is similar. Fuel economy however drops considerably from its little brother. Car & Driver magazine observed an average of 22 MPG in testing. Prices start at $51,450 for a TDI Q7.

BMW Diesels

BMW is well-known in Europe for their sublime diesel engines, and we’ve been enjoying one of those engines in several models here in the U.S. for the past few years. BMW is planning a replacement of the 3 series for 2012, with no indication if a diesel model will remain available. The rumormill is rife with stories of the 3.0 diesel currently offered making its way into other models, but there has been no confirmation from the manufacturer.

3 Series – What is certain is that BMWs bread-and-butter 335d model is getting replaced for 2012. Expect new styling, new interior design, an optional turbo 4-cylinder gas engine and an 8-speed automatic. What is unclear at this point is whether the 335d engine from last year will continue, or if we will get a new diesel engine, or if the diesel option will be discontinued altogether. A hybrid is also rumored. The current 335d gets 23/36 MPG. Expect the new model to improve upon that figure. MSRP is not available. 

X5 xDrive35d – Refreshed for 2011, the X5 family of SUVs soldiers on with few significant changes for 2012. The well-regarded diesel option remains 19/26 MPG for close to the current MSRP of $51,800. Buyers love the regular X5 for its uncanny mix of road car smoothness and handling, with the high seating position and cargo room of a crossover. The 35d keeps the fuel bills reasonable.

Chevrolet Diesels

Chevy hasn’t made a diesel passenger car in years, but they do offer the GM family Duramax 6.6L V8 turbodiesel in several full-size trucks and vans. Fuel economy is improved slightly from the standard V8 models, but the real draw here is monster torque to haul serious cargo. If your primary focus is hauling and you love the Bowtie brand, look no further. Update: Chevrolet has announced they will release a diesel version of the Cruze in 2013.

Express Cargo & Passenger Van Prices start at $38,000 for the Cargo model, $44,000 for the passenger version. These vans are large, sturdy traditional full-size vans. Minivan shoppers won’t be able to fit these in a typical garage. However, if you own a small business the Express family of vans are a good value for hauling maximum cargo. Mileage figures were not given by Chevrolet.

Silverado 2500/3500 – Pickup trucks for power users, the Silverado 2500 is the smallest truck buyers can get with the optional Duramax diesel. Power is king with this admittedly pricey option (which must be bundled with a heavy-duty Allison automatic transmission) bringing the entry price to $37,800. However 765lbs/ft of twist is enough to haul a 30-foot boat, or yank stumps from the ground. According to Chevy, expect fuel economy improvements of 15% or greater with the Duramax diesel engine. 

Dodge / Ram Diesels

Dodge has recently spun the Ram brand off as a separate entity, encompassing its full range of pickup trucks. The idea was to distinguish Dodge products in the showroom as sporty, powerful cars, while the Ram brand could focus on a full range of truck products.

Ram Pickup 2500/3500 – The Ram 2500 is the starting point for diesel Ram trucks. A 6.7L Cummins turbo diesel engine that hits the pavement with 350hp and 650lbs/ft is optional on the 2500 and standard on the 3500. MPG figures are not given by Ram, but the manufacturer cites a 15% improvement over the standard engine when towing, hauling or traversing challenging terrain. MSRP for a base Ram with the Cummins package is $35,400, but can vary by region.

Ford Diesels

Ford is another player in the diesel pickup market domestically. Overseas, however, buyers of smaller Fords have enjoyed diesel engines for years, including in the Focus and Mondeo mid-size sedan (which is not sold here). Unfortunately, that trend doesn’t look to be changing any time soon, as Ford US has committed to investment in hybrid and electric technology for domestic cars. Nevertheless, these technologies are far too young to replace the big diesel V8s in Ford trucks for the foreseeable future.

Superduty F250/350/450 – Powered by a Ford-designed 6.7L engine marketed as the Powerstroke, the Superduty line of Ford trucks was designed to maintain Ford’s market dominance. Offering buyers the most power and ability in their class, the 400hp and 800lbs/ft of torque neatly wins numbers bragging rights. Ford claims a 20% fuel economy improvement over their previous diesel. Count on stylish interiors, and class-leading options packages. Prices start at $36,550 for a base F250XL with the Powerstroke diesel.

GMC Diesels

What goes for Chevrolet goes for GMC. The GMC brand exists as a truck-only division of GM (much like Ram for Dodge Chrysler), many of which are rebranded Chevrolet products. So the Chevy Express van becomes the Savanna, and the Silverado 2500/3500 are the GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD.

Where GMC pulls ahead is a focus on luxury, offering Denali versions of the Sierra trucks. The focus in the Denali models is interior features, additional sound deadening, exterior styling improvements from the regular models, and standardization of many desirable features and packages. For 2012 the GMC diesel lineup remains unchanged. Prices are similar to comparable Chevy models, while the Denali line with the Duramax diesel starts at $44,000.

Honda Diesels

Part of Honda’s global strategy is to provide engines appropriate to each market. As a result, Honda Europe offers a 2.2L turbo diesel in the Accord, Civic, and CRV. Despite interest from diesel fans stateside, Honda continues to pursue an exclusively hybrid and fuel cell strategy in the United States, and is likely to discontinue diesel development altogether globally.

Hyundai Diesels

With each successive generation, Hyundai’s offerings only get better. In the rest of the world, Hyundai does offer diesel alternatives to gas and hybrids. For the foreseeable future that looks unlikely to change, especially given Hyundai’s introduction of the Sonata Hybrid and several electric concepts at recent domestic auto shows.

Infiniti Diesels

Nissan’s luxury brand has expanded into Europe recently, and now offers a diesel V6 engine for the complete range. There are no plans to bring that engine here.

Jeep Diesels

The Jeep brand has had diesels engines up until recently, when the Liberty and Grand Cherokee models were redesigned. Jeep will not have any diesel models for 2012, but the big industry buzz is on the 2013 introduction of a brand-new diesel engine for the Grand Cherokee. Prices have not yet been released. Jeep is now part of the Fiat empire, so the engine is sourced from VM Motori, another Fiat division. Early tests of the powerplant are promising, showing 20/26 MPG. The Wrangler and Liberty models are available overseas with smaller diesel engines, but Jeep has not confirmed that either will be available in the U.S. by 2013.

Jaguar / Land Rover Diesels

One brand that has had much success in Europe with diesel is Land Rover / Range Rover. That trend continues for 2012 with the new compact Evoque. The U.S. will be getting the new baby Range Rover, but not the European diesel option. The 2.2L diesel introduced with this compact crossover is also going to be available on the Jaguar XF, however there are no plans for a U.S. introduction at this time. The rest of the Land Rover European family continues with a range of efficient, powerful and reliable turbo diesels. Hopefully Land Rover and Range Rover will see fit to offer one of them optionally in the U.S. in the future.

Mazda Diesels

The zoom-zoom brand is slated to introduce the Skyactiv engine family next year. These economical gas engines are tipped to provide diesel-like economy while burning regular gasoline. In the interim, Mazda Europe has developed diesels for all models aside from the RX8 and MX roadster. None of these diesels are for sale in the U.S. now, but there are rumors that a 4-cylinder diesel engine could be hitting our shores in late 2012 — possibly for one of their SUV models.

2012 Mercedes ML350 BlueTEC Diesel
2012 Mercedes ML350 BlueTEC courtesy of mbusa.com

Mercedes Benz Diesels

If any company has kept the glowplugs lit for diesel it has to be Mercedes Benz. They have offered a diesel engine in their domestic lineup for decades. Thankfully, the 2012 Mercedes lineup doesn’t show that changing. The core of their diesel family is the 3.0L V6 BlueTEC engine. This sophisticated powerplant manages to earn its “clean diesel” name from use of AdBlue, an additive that helps reduce NOx emissions. The only downside to the BlueTEC engines is the tank of AdBlue needs replacement every 15,000 miles, and the car will not run if it goes dry (Audi and VW clean diesel engines also require an additive for maintaining their emissions compliance). What might stretch that tank of AdBlue out double or triple the distance is the rumored 2013 introduction of Mercedes’ first diesel hybrid: the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid. Concepts of the powerplant have been shown recently, so it is only a matter of time until it is available for customers to take home.

E350 BlueTEC diesel car – With class-leading dynamics, timeless design and refined engineering the E has been a critical car in the Mercedes Benz lineup. Redesigned in 2011, the 2012 E Class remains unchanged. For $50,900 buyers get 24/34 MPG rating in a true luxury sedan. Sadly the wagon no longer gets the diesel option as most domestic buyers gravitate to the ML and GL SUVs. Acceleration belies the oil burner underhood, getting to 60 mph in quick 6.4 seconds.

ML350 BlueTEC diesel SUV – For $410 less than E350, buyers can choose the ML BlueTEC SUV. For tradeoffs in economy (figures drop to 18/25 MPG) owners get to enjoy all-wheel-drive, a cavernous trunk and a high seating position. MLs drive similarly to the BMW X5 – which is to say car-like and agile. I can personally attest to the exceptional performance of the ML350 diesel, having driven one on the German autobahn. 

GL350 BlueTEC diesel SUV – Lovers of large cars, German luxury and SUVs will find plenty to appreciate in the GL350. Trading a bit of car-like athleticism for massive presence might not be to every buyer’s liking, but seating for seven and a 7500-lb tow capacity might prove to be the hot ticket for buyers willing to part with the $61,000 base MSRP. Fuel economy is class-leading, at 17/21 MPG. 

R350 BlueTEC diesel crossover wagon – For $9,210 less than the GL, Mercedes offers one of the world’s few luxury crossover vans in the R-Class. With seating for 6 or 7, 18/24 MPG and All Wheel Drive, the underrated R350 might be the sweet spot in the Mercedes diesel lineup for buyers who put a premium on space. Contemporary road tests laud the R’s comfortable ride, quiet interior, and sedan-like layout. If you can live with the van shape, then you might find a lot to love here too.

Mini Diesels

Mini offers diesel cars in its complete range in Europe, and has recently introduced for 2012 “S” models in diesel, bringing the fun of the Cooper and Clubman S models to the frugality of the D models. The new for 2011 Countryman crossover is available with a diesel as well. But Mini has not announced any plans to make these diesel models available in the U.S.

Nissan Diesels

Nissan CEO Carlos Gohsn announced back in 2008 that Nissan would be bringing a clean diesel engine to the United States in the 2010 Maxima. With that date come and gone, the future looks uncertain for a return of diesel in domestic Nissans. They are available overseas however, and perhaps the recession only delayed a launch. But with the introduction of the Leaf, and a redesigned Altima Hybrid due next year, Nissan may be banking on electric and hybrid models for the U.S..

Porsche Diesels

The seminal sports car (and now SUV and sedan) brand offers diesel engines in the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan in Europe. And we might just be lucky enough to get them here in the United States. “We are discussing internally if we should introduce the Cayenne diesel in the U.S. this year. Also a Panamera diesel is an option,” Bernhard Maier, the brand’s sales and marketing chief, told Automotive News Europe in February.

Saab Diesels

Saab is still with us, after a tumultuous saga that nearly ended with the brand’s death in 2009. The diesel Saab cars offered overseas will remain just that, as Saab focuses on new products to grow their small lineup.

Smart Diesels

After initial excitement faded, the Smart microcar has struggled to find buyers. Of concern for most would-be buyers is the disappointing fuel economy of the gas-engined version. The diesel Smart Car, available since the brand’s introduction in Europe, returns outstanding mileage. Sadly, there are no current plans to bring that engine to the U.S. for its 2012 redesign.

Subaru Diesels

Subaru is a brand loved by fans of the outdoors and the environment, so it is a shame they have not yet brought the Europe-only green diesel engine available in their Impreza, Legacy, Outback and Forester models to the U.S. The Impreza compact has been redesigned for 2012, so it is possible that the engine may make it here in that car at a later date. For now, Subaru has not confirmed or denied that possibility.

Toyota / Lexus Diesels

Toyota continues to pursue its all-hybrid strategy in the United States, despite offering Toyota diesel cars in Europe. For 2012 the focus is on the new Prius models, so a diesel reveal is unlikely. The Lexus brand offers diesel versions of their IS and forthcoming GS models in Europe but shows no sign of bringing them to the U.S.

Volkswagen Diesels

Volkswagen is the only manufacturer that currently offers affordable diesel cars in the United States. Thankfully, it has made sure to offer a wide range of products to appeal to a variety of buyers. From the compact Golf and Jetta to the luxurious Touareg SUV, VW’s TDI clean diesel range offers the best alternative to hybrids, electrics and compact-engined small cars.

Beetle TDI – The Beetle TDI is expected to arrive in Spring 2012. It will be powered by Volkswagen’s efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine with 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Fuel efficiency is expected to be about 40 mpg highway. The 2012 Beetle has an updated style that has been described as “bolder” and “more masculine.” The price has not yet been announced but is expected to be around $23,000.

Golf TDI – A bestseller and award winner in Europe, VW’s compact Golf hatchback has been the smart buyers diesel choice. The current design Golf dates back to 2010, and has been available in relatively limited supply with the TDI engine. Equipped with either a manual or 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission, the Golf TDI is zippy and entertaining with a standard sport suspension and grippy seats. Options do drive the price up rapidly, but a base 2-door Golf TDI starts at a reasonable $23,225 and it delivers 30/42 MPG. 

Jetta TDI – The cheapest way to get behind the wheel of a 140hp VW TDI engine is the Jetta, which starts at $22,995. Redesigned for 2011, the 2012 model will be unchanged. Critics pan a recently downgrade in finish and quality, with a less sophisticated chassis than the Golf TDI. Nevertheless, the Jetta offers excellent value for buyers who put a premium on efficiency.

Jetta Sportwagen TDI – While same in name to the 2011 Jetta, the Sportwagen is crucially similar to the Golf. Being based closer to the Golf means it has a higher quality interior, and more sophisticated rear suspension than the 2011 Jetta. Softer suspension tuning however means this is not one for enthusiasts. Instead, buyers will find a versatile interior with ample cargo space out back. Options like a panoramic glass sunroof and upgraded stereo mean buyers can enjoy taking it easy on the open road. At $24,995 and the same excellent economy of the the Jetta and Golf, buyers will find they’re getting a lot of car for their money.

Passat TDI – VW’s full-size offering was redesigned for 2012, and has been sized and featured more like a full-size family car than ever before. While this may disappoint buyers used to the Audi-on-a-dime Passats of old, it will likely appeal to a wider swath of the population. The 2.0L TDI engine returns here to offer a great mix of mainstream sedan with Germanic efficiency and character. Fuel economy is excellent at an EPA estimated 43 MPG highway. MSRP starts at $25,995 for the sedan-only model, as the wagon variant has been discontinued. 

Touareg V6 TDI Sport SUV – The only Volkswagen to offer a 3.0TDI diesel engine (shared with the Porsche Cayenne diesel, Audi A4 and A6 overseas exclusively) the TDI Touareg is as economical as the compact Tiguan crossover.  For 2011 the Touareg has been redesigned, and offers a sumptuous interior and a refined ride rivaling the best German luxury crossovers on the market. At $47,950 it undercuts their pricetags too. A hybrid Touareg will be new for 2012, but the TDI remains the more economical alternative at both the dealership and the pump. EPA estimates the economy at 19/28 MPG. As ever, your mileage will vary.

Volvo Diesels

Volvo offers diesel cars in the European market, but as of yet has not seen a strong case for certifying one for U.S. sale. By 2013 the V60 wagon is rumored to be introduced with a diesel plug-in hybrid, which should radically blend the best elements of diesels, hybrids and pure electric vehicles. U.S. sales look unlikely at introduction, but expect an evolution of this innovative platform to make it to our shores in the future.

So there you have it, the diesel car, diesel SUV and diesel truck and pick up lineup in the USA for 2012.

Did we leave anything out? Did we make any mistakes?

Leave a comment and let us know!

If you’ve test driven or own any of these cars, please leave your review to help others who are researching. Tell us about your real life gas mileage too.

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About the author: Jonathan Eziquiel-Shriro is an industrial designer specializing in transportation and product design, and an automotive industry pundit with over a decade of blog and magazine experience.

195 Comments

  1. You’d think with the government’s unwavering commitment to everything ‘green’ we’d see the punitive diesel taxes eased back in an effort to coax Americans into driving more efficient cars. The legislation for diesels was cooked up at a time when the only domestic diesels were big, soot belching Detroit iron. Nothing like the demure, refined engines of today. Hybrids and electrics still cost a king’s ransom and require costly battery maintenance. Hydrogen power is cool, but the fuel is difficult to extract and the platinum in the fuel cells often costs more than it’s weight in gold. Until then, diesel seems like the only sensible alternative.

  2. I don’t understand how diesel is made a villain. Is it because someone said its bad for the environment? You can see black carbon come out of the tail pipe? Is carbon bad? Pencils use carbon, diamonds are made of carbon, you and I are made of carbon. I have a diesel and I can use 3 different types of fuel in it AT LEAST! Diesel, Bio-diesel, and waste vegetable oil. Two of those fuels are carbon neutral which means that the emissions that it produces are emissions gathered by a plant and can be gathered by a plant again. A hybrid cant say that…

  3. My only experience of diesel cars in North America was with a very used 1960s Mercedes sedan that needed to idle for five minutes when it was first started. My neighbours loved the early morning clouds of noxious fumes.
    I have rented beautiful diesel cars in Europe; a 2 ltr. Renault and a similar sized Opel come to mind; and would have opted for diesel in my new 6 cyl. AWD Toyota Venza if one had been available. These cars were a delight to drive and had no trouble keeping up with European motorway traffic.

  4. I owned a 1981 Chevy LUV pickup, with an Isuzu diesel engine.

    This got 40 mpg all the time. Now you can’t find a vehicle like this. Why?

  5. I would love to have the VW California diesel camper van. Otherwise, not enought bang for the buck

  6. Diesels are great. Wish I could buy and NEW 1978 Rabbit. It better than 48 any day and my best was 52 mpg. So the new cars today to not impress me at all. Now if you live in the great white north and you have a stupid knee jerk mandate to add vegetable oil to you fuel to make it turn green it tends to suck. Well at -40 deg the problem is it does not suck very well at all. I will cover that issue later. Now bio and vegetable oil and just about anything else will burn in my 6 HP lister clone just fine. But don’t look to buy one as our all knowing all seeing folks in Washington have made sure you can’t buy one of them anymore.
    I would like to see the EPA evaluate based on emissions per mile or time under load not volume. If you are getting 50 to 60 mpg and not just 30 how much evil emissions are you generating. My common sense ( I never took a course in logic) tells me to bet on less. But there are other issues at work here. Federal and state tax dollars is the real issue.

    This is the point where I start to rant. If you have a thin skin just stop here. If you read on and your inner child starts to whimper don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    “Electric cars are going to save the world” I want a car that runs on energy that comes from coal fired or a atomic power plant . “Big somebody is keeping use from having cars that get higher mpg”. If we use less fuel big oil just sells it elsewhere in the world and makes just as much money. Car makers only make what consumers will buy and we don’t want diesels because I was told in grade school that they are evil. By the way this is why we also see nothing wrong with plastic shopping bags choking our land fills, when if you would be using paper bags and drying your hands with a paper towel and not a worthless electric blow dryer we would all be better off. Back to the coal fired or a atomic power plant again, I am sure they told you they where evil to. If you are that “green” don’t use any form of modern transportation and just walk to the closest cave, crawl in and starve in the dark.

    Now down to the real winner in this game. Better mpg = less gas sold. Less gas sold = less gas tax paid. Less tax paid = less money for government to consume. Less money for the government to consume = government rules to keep you from getting what you the voter who elected them want.

    Don’t feel bad though it wasn’t all your fault. You see all those Big something or others that you figure don’t want you to have cars that get better mpg are the ones who contributed to the campaigns of both political parties. They could now take out adds and tell you whatever you needed to hear to get you to vote for them and get them elected to office so they can make sure they have lots of tax money to spend living off of the folks that produce the GNP. The up side is we will be so busy fretting over our poor gas mileage that we wont notice we are getting screwed. They have to go to bed every night thanking their stars we have professional sports in this country because PETA would never let them get by with a real Roman Circus. For more on the concept see this link. http://persweb.wabash.edu/facstaff/royaltyr/AncientCities/web/bradleyj/Project%201/Games.html

    Remember I warned you I was going on a rant.

    Reminds me of some things others have said. It ain’t easy being green. or You just can’t fix stupid.

  7. I’m waiting for the diesel MINI Cooper to hit the USA, then I will buy one on the spot. Political interests groups are keeping diesels out of this country.

  8. I drove a 4 door BMW 118d in Europe 2 weeks ago and put the instruments to display Miles and Gallons. I drove it for 1800 miles and kept the MPG indicator on average. Went from Barcelona to Stuttgart and all over France. The average MPG was 50.1 for that trip. Why do they only send the big guzzler diesels here? They laugh at the Americans for buying Hybreds.

  9. It is good to see this post here. I was looking for it for long time and found it here in a very reasonable style

  10. Excellent information for those of us who understand how important diesel engine cars are the US market. I keep hoping that more diesels, as in the rest of the world, become available here in the US. I have not yet heard or read of a plausible reason why they are not.
    Go to Europe, rent a car (any car as it WILL be a turbo diesel) and one can understand what this means.

  11. I rented, unknowingly, a diesel Ford Mondeo in Italy back in 2002. Accord sized, manual, strong, drove it in city and country and didn’t intentionally try to save fuel. Thought it might be diesel (it made a slight diesel sound, that’s all). Went to fill it up and confirmed it was a diesel and found I had gotten 44mpg! I decided then if they would offer this car in the US I’d be a buyer. Still waiting. Why can’t we have a car like that here? BTW, my neighbor has a jetta but it is way noisier than that Modeo was.

  12. excellent piece of research hear. I thank the Lord that I stumbled onto your article. Great job!!

  13. It’s closing in on 2013. Still we are not allowed to buy any of the excellent diesel cars offered in practically every other civilized nation. Low to mid-range cost Diesels ($20K-$30K)are not being marketed in the USA because the major players (GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda) all prefer to sell high mark-up gasoline hybrids that have 15+ year dealer-only service requirements attached to them. No one has any interest in marketing a car that sells for 20% less but gets the same or better highway mileage than their flagship hybrids and can be serviced by virtually any garage. There are apparently infra-industry sanctions keeping out everyone else but VW, who seems to be tolerated as long as they don’t get too reliable. Another group not interested in better mileage is “Big Oil”, as an influx of 40-60 MPG affordable vehicles would obviously adversely impact their revenue.

    Strangely enough, every US car maker also offers quite good $20 – $30K diesel cars and trucks in Europe. In the USA we have carefully worded emissions regulations that are providing plausible deniability to importing small diesel vehicles, yet simultaneously manage to ignore Diesel trains, ships, generators, commercial vehicles, and a bewildering variety of $50K to $90K 15 MPG giant pickups, 25 MPG luxury sedans, & 15 MPG SUV’s.

    So to sum up: it is apparently impossible to import a $25K, 35MPG AWD diesel (a Ford KUGA comes to mind) but it is OK to buy a $65K 16MPG Dodge RAM 3500 or 25MPG $80K high end BMW/Mercedes/Audi. Right…

    The Golden Rule states it quite simply: “They that have the gold make the rules.” The only reason we don’t have affordable diesels offered for sale in the USA is that the automakers and oil companies can make better profits from prohibiting access to them. They have the money to hire the right lobbiests, Senators and Representatives to do it for them. It’s just “too bad” for you and me; we’re not even allowed to buy the equipment that would make the average guy more competitive and the USA less dependent on oil imports. The same equipment that is offered for sale to most of the rest of the “free” world right now.

  14. I rented a diesel Volvo XC70 in Britain and drove it for a month. It was great and I averaged about 45 mpg across 1800 miles of mostly rural driving. As I could return the car.with an empty tank, I used the “Miles to Empty” display on the dash to return the car with 21 miles of fuel.
    The year before I rented a Volvo V70 D5 in France and drove it for a month. It also got 45+ mpg. I filled the tank once, after I drove 1000 km and still had a quarter tank left. Volvo has a “Miles to Empty” display on their dashboard and it is unbelievable to drive a diesel 1057 km and have it read “Kilometers to empty – 148.” I added 400km of fuel, drove around Normandy for another few days and would have had to drive around the Paris beltway to empty the tank.

    So why are the diesel Volvo cars not available in the US?

  15. I hope the statement ” lack of interest stateside”, which is mentioned several times does not refer to the American consumer, because I’m pretty sure there are enough of us who want small diesels.

  16. I hope the statement ” lack of interest stateside”, which is mentioned several times does not refer to the American consumer, because I’m pretty sure there are enough of us who want small diesels.Qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq

  17. In USA we pay a percentage of tax on every gallon of gas. The government does not want us driving diesel cars because they will not be bringing in the tax dollars needed.

  18. Went to France July 12, 2012 for two weeks, rent a Renault Diesel Car, this car was amazing as derived it 1000 miles (1600.00 KM) and only filled up the tank once which was 15 Gallons, why can’t we buy this car in America?????????????

  19. I just wanted to update my comment from August 16, 2011: the rumours of Lexus offering the 2.2 Toyota diesel engine in the GS replacement turned out to false. It’s only available with a petrol and petrol-hybrid, and this has caused a bit of ridicule in the Euro-press. Lexus worry that they’re not selling enough cars in Europe, but they refuse to offer the most popular engine type! Madness.

    Also, I read a story on here from 2010 that claimed Honda is abandoning diesel development? I don’t think that’s accurate as they’ve already announced a brand new, ultra lightweight 1.6 diesel engine to complement the recently revamped 2.2 diesel. It’s due to make it’s début in the Civic later this year.

    http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/geneva-motor-show-2012/geneva-2012-honda-16-diesel-unit

  20. just pray for gas prices to hit north of 5 dollars/gallon, then we will get lots of diesels just like europe. My personal favorite is Subaru’s boxer diesel. Please, Please ….

  21. Economics is the biggest factor in the domestic car companies’ decisions not to market diesels. Each diesel sale represents the loss of an inhouse-sourced, cheaper-to-make gasoline engine sale, and most would have to import more the expensive diesels.

    The future of the automobile is in alternative fuels, like biodiesel made from algae, not in electrics or hybrids. Corporations with deep pockets for development won’t invest in those alternatives until we demand it.

    The beauty of biodiesel from algae is that it doesn’t require a huge capital investment in infrastructure like refineries; it can be done on a much smaller scale by small businesses and entrepreneurs. That’s where the politics, and the lobbying, and the corruption of markets takes significance.

  22. I make my own biodiesel in the garage out of recycled restaurant oil they are happy to put to good use. Its a simple process, no modifications to my car, springboardbiodiesel.com. I drive a VW TDI Jetta and I get 40 mpg around town and 50 mpg on the freeway on VEGETABLE oil. Bring on the diesels, I have every electric car beat in efficiencies.

  23. The title of this article is “2012 Diesel Cars in USA: Here’s the Lineup”, not, “Diesel Cars that aren’t available in the USA but that are available in Europe”. Stick to the subject. It should be noted that if people want diesel cars, they should be writing their representatives and demanding for legislation to develop diesel engines, and more importantly, diesel hybrids. I’ll gladly take a few extra particulate emissions over a 30-50% decrease in fuel economy and higher overall emissions from an equivalent gas engine with no truly renewable or reusable fuel source.

  24. My 1998 Jetta TDI has 131,000 miles. I average 43/48 mpg. The trunk is large enough, with the rear seat folded down to accommodate my 6′ , 220 lb frame used as a camper. In 2007 my Border Collie and I visited every National Park, from Texas to Glacier on the Canadinan Border and back camping for a month sleeping it. She had the her pick of either front seat. I’ve since built a lightweight 5′ x 8′, pop top camping trailer and average 32mpg pulling the mobile-miPad…My average fuel consumption a month is less than 13 Gallons. I basically drive free considering I drove a 22 mpg Ranger PU before buying the Jetta. I wouldn’t trade it for a new Jetta, because of the superior Milage of 96>03 models. No Giant Battery Pack to replace every 5 years either. At 60 mph there is not a more economical vechicle on the road.

  25. […] 2012 Diesel Cars In USA: Here’s The LineupHowever, a diesel’s increased miles per gallon means that it SUV, VW’s TDI clean diesel range offers the best alternative to hybrids, electrics and compact-engined small cars. Hay , we need more diesel cars and small pickups and Suv. What can’t we have the diesel smart car auto dealers … Fetch This Document […]

  26. any where in the world we save so much using diesel in commercial van but here in the usa the only exception is 3.0 diesel sprinter,
    The rest of the car maker should pay real close look what mercedes is doing in the usa , any where i look the sprinter is gaining so much market, i need one i can not afford at 40k.
    nissan and ford are are going to loose more and more market i can not
    understand are you blind, nobody is buying the F series look at the MPG you will not touch it

  27. Just returned to Oregon from a two week driving tour of Italy. I rented a Peugeot 508 station wagon 2L diesel. The vehicle averaged over 40 mpg on very twisty, hilly, narrow roads. No engine or road noise to interrupt our in-car conversations; no diesel smoke or odor. My experience has convinced me to seriously consider the A3 Audi. I will not purchase an hybrid as I drive my vehicles long enough that the cost of battery replacement must be figured into my purchase price.

  28. Just rented an Audi A6 TDI in Germany. Sweet, smooth, quiet, excellent acceleration. Got it up to 210 km/h = 126 MPH in 8th gear @ 3200 RPM. There were times we couldn’t tell if the engine was on at idle.

    Didn’t pay attention to fuel economy because I just wanted to go fast!

    We need these in the USA!

  29. I too rented a car in Munich, Germany. It was a large station wagon diesel for four adults. I don’t know the brand. I did not drive to save fuel, and drove a fair amount on the autobahn at speeds above 100 mph and lots of city driving. I got 38 mpg overall! If I did this in the US, it would be more like 20 mpg. What is wrong with the US? Bring in those diesels!

  30. Obviously there is something scaring all manufacturers from developing diesel vehicles in the US market and that something is the insanely hard-to-comply-with standards set by the EPA and arbitrarily altered regionally (i.e. California).

  31. I agree entirely with ” AZ_Utilitarian” here. The poor excuse for a diesel put out by Chevy in the ’80’s may have been a reason for Americans shunning diesel cars, but tell me why that no American manufacturer hasn’t keep pace with the European manufacturers in producing high performance diesels? Is it not the same backward thinking by GM, Ford, etc. that led to Japan taking over the small car market in the U.S. ? Look at the miserable products presently put out by the U.S. companies.. Our problem here is that there is no alternative to buying the crap that is produced here because of government intervention, and politics…. Yet today Ford, Chevoret and Chrysler have their heads in the sand and not been able or willing to produce any car that will compete with Europes diesels.. The fact is many Americans would buy a diesel car as shown by many of the comments here.. I’v owned Toyota diesel pickups and they are super good vehicles

  32. Interesting line up of diesel cars and trucks. What bothers me is that there aren’t more diesel choices to be had. Diesel may not be for everyone, and with the cost of diesel being more expensive than gasoline, it’s even less popular. But so what? Why deny the rest of us the option of diesel power? Not everyone needs, or wants a Ford F250 or a Dodge D2500, or a Chevy/GMC 2500-3500, with a 6.5 litre diesel engine, but they do need a diesel engine for something. So why not let we, the customers, decide what we want our cars and trucks to be powered by, hmm?

  33. I would like to see a small truck with a diesel engine. S-10, Ranger, or whoever.

  34. Hi Mike – I saw & photographed a fully instrumented Ford “Ranger” diesel in Kingman, Arizona in 2011 at a local coffee shop. Kingman is near the proving grounds at Yucca. So it’s not like Ford can’t sell you a nice small diesel pickup, they just aren’t going to give you the option of buying a vehicle with less mark-up. Face it – if tiny Mahindra can get their 2.2L Hawk TDI engine thru US EPA testing, what are the chances that mighty FoMoCo can’t figure it out? It’s not like they don’t already sell diesel pickups…oh yeah…that would be those 15-18MPG, $45K to $70K ones….

  35. The article looks fine at first look, but I’m wonder why the author did not mention a word about the low quality diesel sold in US, compared to much lower sulfur content diesel sold abroad.Which affecting the whole procedure about certifying diesel cars in USA.Also not not connected with article at first, but in Europe almost 50% of the gasoline cars have added natural gas/it’s called methane there/ systems from a decade, which allow the owners to run really fuel efficient and environmentally friendly cars and SUV.And the cost with installation included is in the average of $1400.

  36. I am a well travelled american who is infuriated with the US government, we as americans will continue to suck the earth dry of the very last drop of crude rather than suck it up , put on our big girl panties and become the leader in conservation, solar power, wind power, solar /wind powered hydrogen concentrators, ANYTHING to stop our stupid dependance on crude either domestic or foreign. What the hell, America has lost all entry level jobs by sending them to india…, sent all textile manufacturing from the US southeast to bangladesh, now we give up everything to become the crude addict drug whores of the planet. We cannot blame the foreign people for coming here to have the American dream, we as Americans are selling out to provide our dream to them. I want to move to costa rica where I can buy a diesel nissan truck and burn palm oil I grew and processed at home. I predict american expatriots to increase annually. Good job Washington!

  37. Today, car manufacturers haven’t come to their senses. The family does not want a diesel truck, they are looking for a large SUV, like a diesel Armada/Expedition/Suburban. Instead of those vehicles, car manufacturers are building “gas hogs” that require hundreds of dollars to fill up with today’s gas prices. This is solely my personal opinion. I have been searching for a diesel SUV for quite a while and have still found nothing suiting my family’s interest. Wake up automotive industry.

  38. You forgot to mention a major reason for changing to diesel and maybe a prime reason why it hasn’t happened. Gasoline is made from fossil fuels. Diesel doesn’t need to use fossil fuels. It would be a way of weening the USA off our fossil fuel dependency. It is possible to make diesel fuel without using the existing dwindling oil supply. This would not be good for oil company profits. How dare we attempt to not make the oil companies richer … their paid cronies in congress will need to step in and prevent their friends from the possibility of losing profits.
    But I digress … Diesels are a good buy because they get better mileage than gasoline fueled cars and therefore (even for you mathematically challenged readers) it will always be cheaper to run a similar sized vehicle on diesel. The possibility of moving off the fossil fuel diet and off the dependency on foreign oil is reason enough to move in this direction.

  39. I own two diesel vehicles. A 2011 F350 with the 6.7 diesel. I get 17 mpg driving back and foward to work and 21mpg on highway. 11 mpg towing a 10 thousand pound 35 foot camper. My other diesel is a 2006 mercedes E320 diesel. I get 30 mpg around town and 39 mpg highway.

  40. After 1 year & 40,000 miles, our 2012 VW Passat TDi is averaging 40.7 mpg. We are in love! The little putter of the Diesel engine is so quiet. Now we know why VW diesel has such loyal followers. How could we ever “go back” to gas powered vehicles?

  41. One day a few years ago I heard about great improvements in vw diesels, but not for the USA. Why? I asked. I was told that they were waiting for a promised improvement in fuel which was required to operate these newer diesels. It never happened. I hope some rich honest group or person would look into that.
    I have been driving diesel rabbits and jettas for my profession as a office electronics repair guy and average over 60k miles a month. To me diesel technology is the answer if we can get it to happen.
    of course we have nuclear and hydrogen to look at as well.

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