Best diesel cars of 2011, served up

Remixed CC Flickr photo courtesy of culinaryfool.

Wondering about the best diesel cars in the US?

In America, diesel powered cars have always been like…eating a boiled egg & plain toast for breakfast. You get everything that you need, but there’s no exciting bacon, or soul-warming sausage gravy.

But now, car makers are really starting to expand their, uh…menus.

Now, you can have a Mercedes E350 BlueTEC with a big serving of German-luxury strudel. Or you could get a plate of VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, with a side-order of practicality.

The choices really are amazing. But, what are the best dishes on the menu? What do the critics really order, when they’re paying for the meal?

Let’s find out…

 

Best Luxury Diesel Car of 2011

So today’s most expensive diesel luxury vehicle is the Mercedes GL350 BlueTEC, but does that mean it’s also the best? It does have a trick 4WD system, and all of the leather, wood and toys that you would expect in a Mercedes Benz. (And what ever happened to the promised Mercedes S350 4MATIC BlueTEC diesel car, anyway?)  Think of it as a Denny’s skillet special: heaps of potato, sausage, mushrooms, onions, Canadian bacon, and cheese. Lots of cheese.

While that would be a great way to start the day, you’re going to need a nap by 10:30.

No, to find the best oil-burning luxury car of 2011, you’re going to have to look at the back of the menu: down at the bottom, next to the a-la-cart list, you’ll find the Audi A3 TDI:

Audi A3 clean diesel TDI 2011

This hip little wagon features a perfect blend of luxury and sport. Its torquey little TDI provides just enough oomph for those occasionally spirited drives. And the interior is typical Audi – which is to say; it’s niiiice.

Plus, it’s a wagon, so you can carry stuff. And with a starting price of $30,250, it’s a luxury bargain.

MPG: 30 city / 42 highway.

The 2011 Audi A3 TDI breakfast comparison: a Monte Cristo

 

Best Fuel Efficient Diesel Car of 2011

This year, the economy trophy goes to the Volkswagen Group and their 2.0 liter Turbo Diesel powerplant, the TDI, which can achieve 30 MPG in the city, and 42 on the highway…no matter what car it’s propelling. And by the way, that’s the crappy EPA estimate of their gas mileage. Check out the eye-popping real life mileage people are getting.

You’ll find this thrifty little gem under the hood of four cars, ranging from compact to wagon:

2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI ($23,225),

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI ($22,995),

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI ($24,995)

…and the just mentioned 2011 Audi A3 TDI ($30,250).

We covered the Volkswagen diesel models together in depth here.

Sorry, I can’t think of a breakfast comparison for this one.

Wait!

The Golf is like a Rootie Tootie Fresh & Fruity combo; the Jetta is like a sausage, egg & cheese croissant; the Jetta Wagon is like maple and brown sugar oatmeal, with some warm Vermont maple syrup on top. And of course, the A3 TDI is our Monte Cristo.

Hungry yet?

 

Best Looking Diesel Car of 2011

2011 clean diesel Jetta TDI car

There’s actually several 2011 diesel cars that look nice. But the winner is the redesigned 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Clean Diesel TDI.

VW’s aggressive new front end blends well with the Jetta’s clean body lines, making it look (slightly) aggressive, yet civilized. It’s the kind of car that mom can drive everyday, but when she parks behind dad, he might actually want to take her car.

Like our choices? Disagree? Are you driving one of these? Leave a comment!

Review Roundup: 2011 Audi A3 Clean Diesel TDI

2011 Audi A3 TDI clean diesel car

The USA is a big country: there’s 9,826,000 square miles, and 307 million people. By comparison, Europe covers just 3,930,000 miles, yet there’s 852 million people there. Cram that many more people into an area that’s a third the size of the U.S., and you could see where size would become an issue – especially when it comes to parking a car.

That’s one reason why small hatchbacks are so popular over there. They’re easy to park, they have lots of room, and they get great gas mileage. Which is important too, because gas can cost up to $8 per gallon in some parts of Europe.

So, if you lived over there, the most logical car to buy would be a diesel hatchback. But that sounds even more boring to take on the road than a base-model Prius – or does it?

The 2011 Audi A3 TDI is a luxury version of the popular Euro diesel hatchback and, named the 2010 Green Car of the Year, has become a strong seller in the U.S. It has standard leather, the S Line exterior pack with spoilers, badges and 17-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, and of course, an economical 2.0 TDI engine.

But the diesel found in this Audi is a far cry from the noisy, stinky clatter-box that most Americans used to assume they would be getting. This 2.0 liter, direct-injected (called Common Rail in diesel-speak) oil burner is both responsive, and earth-friendly. Also found in the Volkswagen Jetta/Golf TDI, this engine uses a vapor trap to capture NOx emissions, then it routes them back to the engine to be re-burned during combustion. As a result, the Audi A3 TDI emits just 0.07 grams of NOx per mile, which is quite impressive for a diesel.

Besides the cleanliness and the fuel economy (30/42 MPG), this TDI produces enough torque to provide satisfying acceleration. Rated at 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, this engine can propel the A3 TDI from 0-60 in just 8.9 seconds – that’s not bad for what’s basically an economy car. You can have a green, economical car that’s not terrible to drive.

And what’s more, since Audi is a luxury brand, you can outfit your A3 TDI with all sorts of goodies. There’s a Sport Package with 18-inch wheels and a stiffer suspension, a Convenience Package with upgraded BOSE audio, automatic lights, wipers and (dimming) mirrors, and parking sensors (in case you can’t drive), a Cold Weather Pack with heated seats, mirrors and washer nozzles, a Bluetooth Pack, a twin-pane sunroof, Navigation, rear-side airbags, and a broad assortment of interior and exterior trim packages.

By the time you add on all of the options, the 2011 Audi A3 TDI can get pretty expensive, especially when you consider that it has the same chassis and engine as the VW Golf/Jetta TDI. Some consumers writing on Edmunds.com feel that, for the price, Audi scrimped on some basic features and risks missing their target market. (The fact that the A3 TDI does not come with standard transmission or the fabled Audi Quattro AWD turns off some potential buyers from the get-go.)

Others say that doesn’t detract from its overall smooth handling and responsiveness, and that the Audi A3 TDI is a real step up from their other economy cars. And, besides, studies show that diesel cars easily recoup their initially high price tag – they have a lower “total cost of ownership” thanks to better fuel economy and resale value.

Do you own an Audi A3 clean diesel?

If so, leave a comment and tell us what you think about it, and what kind of gas mileage you’re getting in the real world.

Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.

Best Gas Mileage 2011 Diesel Pickups and SUVs

Looking for a list of the most fuel efficient diesel pickup and SUV models in the US market that get the best gas mileage? You’ve come to the right place.

Americans love their SUVs.

They’re tall, so mom has a commanding view of the road, and they’re big enough to haul a team of soccer players, complete with their gear. (If you’re single, they’re big enough for your dogs/mountain bikes/entire Star Wars collection). Plus, some of them can even go off road (handy if the soccer field gets wet).

Pickup trucks are equally popular with Americans, but usually for more practical reasons. They can go from the jobsite to the football field and still look good. You can go through all sorts of terrain, while carrying massive amounts of…whatever. In fact, those Super-Duper Duty ones can even tow trains and jumbo jets.

But the one thing that neither of these kinds of vehicles are good at is getting good fuel mileage – just look at some scary MPG stats from dedicated truck owners. Until now, that is.

More and more consumers are demanding an alternative to expensive, gas burning engines, which is one reason that hybrids have become so popular. However, some schools of thought suggest that mining for the raw materials used in a hybrid battery can cause even more environmental damage than the emissions from a diesel.

With an eye on US environmental regulations, many European car makers are designing diesel engines that will comply with our strict emission rules.

American automakers are getting on the diesel bandwagon too, by offering more powerful and efficient diesel engines in their most popular trucks.

But sadly, there isn’t much of a selection yet.

For diesel powered SUVs, there’s the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI, the 2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d, the 2011 Audi Q7 TDI and the Mercedes ML350 BlueTEC.

Although these are expensive, they are luxury SUVs. Don’t forget, “what you see on today’s luxury car, will be standard on tomorrow’s base model”. So, think of these as a sign of things to come.

2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Sport

Base price: $47,950

Engine: 3.0 liter V6 TDI – 225-hp – 406 lb-ft torque – AWD

Fuel Economy: 19/28

Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons

Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 7.66 (tons)

Highlights: Standard navigation, leather, xeon headlights, rear-view camera, Bluetooth/iPod, 18-inch wheels.

2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 BlueTEC

Base price: $50,490

Engine: 3.0 liter V6 TDI – 210-hp – 400 lb-ft torque – AWD

Fuel Economy: 18/25

Fuel Tank Capacity: 25.1 gallons

Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 8.02 (tons)

Highlights: The Mercedes doesn’t offer much in the way of standard equipment. So, if you want one that has leather and navigation, you’re going to have to order the Leather Package for $1,780, & the Premium 1 package for $4,000. Otherwise, you’re going to get vinyl seats and a steering wheel…for Fifty-Grand.

2011 Audi Q7 TDI Premium

Base price: $51,450

Engine: 3.0 liter V6 TDI – 225-hp – 406 lb-ft torque – AWD

Fuel Economy: 17/25

Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons

Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 8.42 (tons)

Highlights: Standard leather, LED tail lights, parking sensors, heated seats, power tailgate, Bluetooth/iPod, 19-inch wheels & 7-passenger seating.

2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d

Base price: $51,800

Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6 TDI – 265-hp – 425 lb-ft torque – AWD

Fuel Economy: 19/26

Fuel Tank Capacity: 22.5 gallons

Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 7.66 (tons)

Highlights: Standard navigation, leather, rear-seat TV system, satellite radio, head-up display, parking sensors.

 

Diesel trucks

Diesel powered pickups are limited to the Ford SuperDuty, the Chevrolet HD, and the Dodge 2500/3500. However, these are ¾ ton – 1 ton trucks.

None of the popular ½ ton models are available with a diesel engine. And, none of the ¾ ton (and up) trucks are required to have their fuel mileage certified by the EPA.

This is because they’re considered to be commercial vehicles. Plus, there’s a mind-boggling array of mechanical options (like axle ratios, transmissions, etc.) which can effect the fuel mileage.

Since there are no official MPG numbers for these trucks, the fuel mileages listed below are based on owner accounts, and can vary based on the model, and chosen equipment.

The base prices listed are for a ¾ ton, regular cab, 2WD with an automatic transmission, diesel engine, and standard equipment. Once you start adding on the options, these diesel pickups can eclipse $40,000 real quick.

2011 Ram 2500/3500

Base price: $27,450

Engine: 6.7 liter inline-6 TDI – 350-hp – 650 lb-ft torque – RWD

Fuel Economy: 13-15 mpg (est)

Fuel Tank Capacity: 34 gallons

NOx Gas Emitted per Mile: 0.2 grams

Highlights: The Cummins diesel in these Ram trucks uses special chambers to collect polluting gasses, then the system heats up, burning off the pollutants. Here, some tips for drivers tailored to the Dodge owner.

2011 Ford F250 / F350 / F450 / F550 SuperDuty

Base price: $36,340

Engine: 6.7 liter V8 TDI – 400-hp – 800 lb-ft torque – RWD

Fuel Economy: 15/22 (est)

Fuel Tank Capacity: 37.5 gallons

NOx Gas Emitted per Mile: 0.2 grams

Highlights: Ford’s Power Stroke diesel uses an injector to spray urea into the exhaust. The heat from the exhaust turns the urea to ammonia, which then turns the NOx gasses into nitrogen gas, and water inside of a specially designed catalytic convertor. Drivers are already reporting first-hand on higher MPG here and here.

 

2011 Chevrolet 2500HD / 3500HD

Base price: $37,355

Engine: 6.6 liter V8 TDI – 397-hp – 765 lb-ft torque – RWD

Fuel Economy: 13/19 (est)

Fuel Tank Capacity: 36 gallons

NOx Gas Emitted per Mile: 0.2 grams

Highlights: Chevrolet’s Duramax diesel uses a similar urea injection system as Ford’s Power Stroke diesel.

But regardless of how you look at the high initial cost, you still wind up with a vehicle that gets good fuel mileage for its class, and that’s a real boon with predicted gas hikes what they are. Plus, the long-term reliability of diesel engines is better established and proven than the more complicated hybrid.

Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.

Subaru Diesel Cars: Why You Can’t Buy One in the USA

Subaru diesel wagon. You can look, but you can't buy! At least not in the USA.

The reason that you don’t see more diesels on US roads has to do with economics. Money makes the world go ’round, and as you’d expect, it’s the main reason for our “diesel deficiency”. In the United States, the federal government taxes every gallon of fuel sold. And historically, there’s always been a higher demand for gasoline here. So, our tax system is biased toward gasoline, making it cheaper to buy than diesel.

It’s the exact opposite in Europe. Diesel is cheaper to buy than “petrol”. However, cheaper means $6-7 per gallon, vs. $7-8 for a gallon of gas, so you can see why there’s more diesels over there.

European automakers simply responded to market demands, and came up with a wide range of diesel vehicles, allowing them to produce diesel engines at a lower cost. (For those who want to see what they’re missing right now, or plan a rental for their next European vacation, there are plenty of detailed reviews of current European models.)

In this country, gas is still (relatively) cheap. So a popular choice for an efficient vehicle is the hybrid. You may have noticed just how many hybrid models are available today. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the sporty Honda CR-Z to the massive Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid.

Diesel vehicles, however, still don’t make good business sense, like the hybrid. You’re asking the customer to pay an additional $5-7k for a diesel vehicle, then you’re asking them to fuel it with the most expensive fuel.

From an environmental standpoint, modern diesel engines emit a very low amount of NOx and CO2, and recent advances have made them much more efficient. and they top hybrids in the fact that certain materials used to produce various components on a hybrid have to be mined. When considering a green car, can you imagine the relative environmental impact of that nickel mine needed for the hybrid? Let alone the fact that all those hybrid battery packs may one day wind up in a landfill.

But back to the economics of diesels.

German automakers seem dead-set on exporting their “clean diesels” to the United States. However, to sell a diesel engine in this country, it must be equipped with an exhaust after-treatment system, and a special fuel injection system in order to meet our strict air quality rules.

European emissions rules allow a diesel to emit up to 0.29 grams of nitrous oxide (NOx) per mile — which is about what the typical diesel school bus or trash truck emitted 5 years ago.

US regulations on the other hand, only allow a diesel to emit 0.07 grams of NOx per mile, making compliance a costly effort.

Smaller firms like Honda or Subaru would have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a compliant engine, for a historically small US market. So it’s tough for many of them to justify such a big investment.

The Germans however, seem willing to take this risk. And if history is any indication, they’re the ones that can garner mass public acceptance for a new technology.

Airbags, ABS — the Mercedes S-Class was the first car in this country to have them as standard equipment. As the old saying goes “if you want to see what tomorrows car will look like, just look at what Mercedes is doing today”.

The Germans were also involved in bringing us those annoying in-car command/infotainment systems. So, let’s hope they can work their magic again, and convince Americans to buy more diesels — with a big marketing campaign to sell the car to a potentially unreceptive public.

Want to make yourself feel sad and see what you’re missing? Check out this site with the 2011 European Subaru diesel models that we can’t buy here in the USA: http://www.boxerdiesel.com/

What’s your prediction? When will the first Japanese clean diesel make it over to the US market?

Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to bestcardealsnewyork.com.

Review: 2011 Clean Diesel VW Jetta and Golf

Nowadays, if you want a car that has great fuel economy, the obvious choice would be a hybrid – they make them in all shapes and sizes, and you can even still get a tax credit on some of them.

But what if you don’t like the idea of driving around in a laptop-on-wheels? (remember, a hybrid needs NASA-grade computers in order to work)

Well, there are other options – Namely clean-diesel powered vehicles.

Two of these options come from Volkswagen. And contrary to popular belief, these diesel cars are very, very enticing.

The 2011 Jetta TDI and the 2011 Golf TDI are two compacts with sharp, European looks that both feel very well made.

But the real story is under the hood.

Open it, and you’ll find the one of the “greenest” diesel engines ever produced; the 2.0 liter TDI with common-rail (direct) injection, and a nice, big turbo.

Unlike most clean diesel engines, VW’s 2.0 TDI ditches the urea injector (urea is injected into the exhaust to convert the NOx gasses into nitrogen, then water), in favor of a storage canister, which stores the gasses, until they can be re-burned by the engine.

This system is 50-state legal, and it emits just 0.07 grams of CO2 per mile. By comparison, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata 4-cyl emits exactly the same amount of CO2.

In fact, this motor won Volkswagen entry to the Guinness Book of World Records for the Lowest Fuel Consumption Across 48-States. Thanks to the efforts of hyper-milers John & Helen Taylor.

On an economy run in 2009, the couple achieved an incredible average of 58.86 MPG behind the wheel of their bone-stock 2009 VW Jetta TDI.

During their record-setting trip, the Taylor’s traveled 9,419 miles in 20 days, and saw 60+ mpg’s on several occasions. And while Shell provided the fuel free of charge, it’s estimated that the trip cost just $0.069 per mile, for a total cost of just $653!

But there’s a lot more to these cars than just great fuel economy.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI clean diesel car

Introduced at the recent Detroit Auto Show, the Jetta was completely redesigned for 2011.

This new, Mexican-made Jetta is 1-inch wider & 3.5 inches longer than its predecessor, allowing for an extra 2-inches of rear legroom, without sacrificing trunk space.

Even though the new Jetta is larger than the old one, they actually managed to shave 80lbs from the curb weight,which will help both handling and fuel economy.

Thankfully, VW designers avoided the whole “dramatic curve” theme that seems to be so popular these days. Instead, the outside is handsomely styled, using crisp lines that won’t look dated in a year. Plus, the front fascia and mildly bulging wheel arches give the new Jetta an (appealingly) menacing appearance.

Inside, the 2011 Jetta has a very upscale interior, with plenty of soft-touch plastic and high quality materials. And since the Jetta TDI is the top-of-the line model, you get all sorts of standard equipment, including: 12v power-outlets front and rear, satellite radio with a USB & iPod interface, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel disk brakes with stability and traction control, and of course, power everything.

As a competitor to the Toyota Corolla & Honda Civic then, the 2011 Jetta comes off as more upscale, and grown-up. But it gets even better.

Remember that diesel under the hood? Well, it churns out 140-hp, and 236 ft-lb of torque. In layman’s terms, torque is the measure of “wheel-twist” produced by the engine. Thus, the higher the torque figure, the more “grunt” the car will have from a dead stop, or when you go to pass someone.

Thanks to the diesel’s generous torque figure, the 2011 Jetta TDI can manage a very respectable 0-60 time of 8.7 seconds. And since all of that torque is available at a very low 1,750 rpm, the 2011 Jetta TDI feels more powerful than you’d expect.

Why choose the Jetta TDI?

Resale value: Diesel cars enjoy much lower depreciation than their gas-powered equivalents.

Fuel economy: The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is rated at 30 mpg city / 42 mpg highway. And that figure stays the same with either the standard 6-speed manual, or the optional 6-speed DSG.

Size/quality: This is a roomy car, that’s well made and full of luxury-grade equipment.

2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI clean diesel car

The Volkswagen Golf TDI is arguably one of the nicest cars in its class. It features an upscale interior, with top-notch materials and excellent build quality. Plus, it’s loaded with plenty of useful features, and a ton of standard equipment.

Available as a 3-door hatch or a 5-door hatch, the 2011 VW Golf TDI offers ample room for 4 adults (you could fit 5 in a pinch, but that poor soul had better be skinny).

Where the Golf really excels is in the cargo department. Leave the rear seats up, and you have 12.4 cubic feet of room. Fold the 60/40 split (with a pass-through slot behind the armrest for long skinny items…like a fishing pole) seats down and the cargo hold swells to 46 cubic feet. Or, about the size of a 1-bedroom Manhattan apartment.

One of the Golf’s many useful features is the Cargo Protection System. This is a collection of small L-shaped plastic pieces with Velcro on the bottom. You can secure them to the floor around stuff that you don’t want rolling around. Like bottles…or bowling balls.

Some of the Golf TDI’s standard equipment includes: power everything, satellite radio with touchscreen controls, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity, 17-inch wheels, sport suspension, fog lights, heated mirrors, a full complement of airbags, and 4-wheel disk brakes with ABS, ESC, ASR, EBD, HBD…etc, etc.

Under the hood, you get the same 2.0 TDI found in the Jetta TDI. It gets 30 mpg city / 41 mpg highway, comparable to the Jetta. But where the two differ is in their 0-60 times: the Jetta TDI takes 8.7 seconds, and the Golf TDI takes just 8.6 seconds!

Sure, we know that’s not much of a difference. But the Golf is (slightly) lighter than the Jetta, so it feels more “lively”. Plus, the optional 6-speed DSG’s steering wheel paddles add to the fun-factor even more.

Federal Tax Credits for Clean Diesels

To encourage clean diesel sales, the Federal Government offered tax credits called Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle Tax Credit.

These credits applied to the 2009-2010 Jetta TDI & 2009-2010 Golf TDI, and they started at $1,300. With the sales limit set at 60,000 vehicles, the credit dropped to $650 once 30,000 TDI’s were sold.

The credit was fully phased out on December 31 2010. But don’t worry – when you take into account the money you’re going to save on fuel, plus the higher than average resale value, you’re still coming out ahead with either of these clean diesel vehicles.

Do you own a 2011 diesel Jetta or Golf? Leave a comment and let us know about your experience with it!

Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.

Volkswagen TDI real life diesel gas mileage: wow!

Two summers ago (in 2008), I bought a used 2007 Prius.

But it wasn’t my first choice of automobile. You see, what I really wanted to buy was a white 2009 Volkswagen TDI Jetta or Jetta wagon. They were just coming out in the US, and there was a big waiting list.

I put down my deposit and waited, and waited. But after six weeks, there was still nothing in sight for my desired color and options.

The funny part was that there was a huge waiting list for the Prius too, because it was the period of time when gas was really expensive, and everyone was panicking and buying high mileage cars.

One day I called my Volkswagen sales guy to complain and gave him the idle threat, “Oh well, it’s no big deal if you can’t get me a Jetta, I guess. If Toyota calls me and says they have a white Prius first, I’ll just buy that instead.”

That’s when the salesman told me that he actually had a 2007 used white Prius on their Volkswagen lot that they had just taken as a trade in, with only 12,000 miles on it, at a really good price.

So I jumped and bought it. And it’s actually been a great car.

But I still look back and think, “What if I could have gotten a Jetta clean diesel instead?”

Today, by complete accident, I ran into the Volkswagen TDI Tank Wars web site. It’s a site where you can take a photo of your dashboard displaying your real life gas mileage with any TDI clean diesel Volkswagen.

There are real people who are getting 50, 60,  and 70 miles per gallon! The leader got 98 miles per gallon!

You have to drive at least 15 miles before you’re eligible to upload a dashboard photo. But many of these people are showing hundreds or thousands of miles of getting this kind of mileage.

How’s that for awesome?

Check it out yourself at the Volkswagen Tank Wars web site.

What kind of real life mileage have you gotten with your VW clean diesel car, and which model was it?

Leave a comment and tell us!

2011 diesel cars in the USA: here’s the lineup

Have you seen our new 2012 diesel car lineup post?

There have been a few exciting new developments in diesel automobiles available in the United States since we published our 2010 list, but for the most part the diesel vehicles available in the US remain the same.

A wide variety of car manufacturers have diesel available in Europe, but the stricter emissions standards in the States have prevented them from bringing those models over here. It’s evidently quite expensive to upgrade a standard diesel engine so that it meets US “clean diesel” standards. Therefore, while there are some diesel powered cars available in the United States, it’s currently a minority market.

Without further hesitation, here’s our list of diesel powered cars for 2011 in the US:

Acura – There has been speculation of an Acura diesel model in the US for 2011, but recent updates show that the manufacturer is currently shying away from one being offered in the US. Currently, there is no diesel model available.

Audi – Audi will continue to offer its TDI diesel line. Complete information can be found on the Audi TDI site. The two cars offered are the Audi A3 TDI and the Audi Q7 TDI.


In 2010, the A3 was listed as the Green Car Journal’s ‘Green Car of The Year.’ It gets 30 mpg hwy and 42 mpg city. You may also remember it from the Green Police Ad featured during the last Superbowl.


The Q7 TDI is Audi’s diesel powered SUV. This SUV gets 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. Coincidentally, it’s also the same diesel engine that the Porsche Diesel engine is based off of (however, Porsche currently only has a diesel model available in Europe). More information about the Q7 can be found here.

BMW – Many will argue that Bavarian Motor Works make some of the finest cars out there. Not to be outdone, BMW also offers two different diesel models: The 335d and the X5 xDrive 35d.


The 335d sedan features a 3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A engine, and gets 23 mpg city and 36 mpg highway (for a combined total of 27).


The 2011 BMW X5 xDrive 35d features is a 265 horsepower, 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology that gets 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Buick – There are no Buick diesel models available in the US for 2011.

Cadillac – Cadillac does not currently offer any of their models in Diesel.

Chevrolet – There are no Chevy cars that feature diesel, but the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD Pickup Truck comes with a Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 that has an output of 397 max horsepower and 765 lb.-ft. of torque.

This truck is supposed to have a 11% increase in fuel saving technology over the 2010 model.

Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge – Chrysler and Jeep do not offer any cars with diesel capabilities for 2011. Dodge, however does. The 2011 Ram Chassis is available in diesel (if you plan to do a lot of heavy loading from now and then, or are really just a hoss).

In addition, the 2011 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 models are also slated to be diesel trucks, with the 2500 typically getting 15 mpg city and 20 hwy.

Ford – Cars, not so much. Trucks, Yes. The Ford Super Duty models (F-250, F-350, and F-450) are all available with a 6.7L Power Stroke(R) V8 Turbo Diesel Engine.

These trucks are workhorses, but can also be the maximum in comfort. The King Ranch edition, for example comes fully loaded so you can utilize your truck in style as well as in an alternative fuel manner.

GMC – Much like Chevy, GMC will feature the Sierra 2500 HD and 3500 HD models with a diesel engine.

Honda – While there has been plenty of speculation and hope of Honda releasing a 2011 diesel model in the US, it doesn’t appear as if that will be happening.

Hyundai – The folks over at Hyundai currently have no diesel models slated for the US in 2011.

Kia – Kia currently does not have a diesel powered car in the US market.

Lexus – While there are plenty of fuel efficient hybrids that Lexus has to offer, they currently do not have a diesel model available in the United States.

Lincoln – There are no Lincoln diesel models listed for the 2011 year.

Mazda – No diesel models are listed for 2011.

Mercedes-Benz – Mercedes features three models with their diesel Bluetec system. These models are the ML350, the GL350, and the R350. The R350 model is a crossover, while the G and M models are sport utility vehicles.

As far as gas mileage is concerned the M class will get 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, the G class will get 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, and the R class will get 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. These models were also available in 2010.

Mercury – There are no Mercury diesel models listed for 2011.

Mitsubishi –2011 does not have any diesel models listed for Mercury.

Nissan – There are no diesel cars slated to come out for Nissan in 2011, despite some speculation.

Pontiac – There are no new Pontiacs for 2011, or ever for that matter. Hence, there will be no Pontiac models available as diesel powered cars either.

Porsche – While there is a Porsche Cayenne diesel powered SUV available in Europe, there is not currently one available in the USA.

However, a unique fact is that the engine technology used for the Porsche Cayenne Diesel features the same look and basic engine design of the Volkswagon Toureg TDI and the Audi Q7 TDI, both of which are available in the United States of America.

Saab – There are currently no Saab diesel models slated for 2011 in America.

Saturn – There are currently no Saturn diesel models available. Much like Pontiac, there will be no more Saturns made ever. So hope you weren’t holding out hope for a Saturn diesel model, because quite simply put: it’s not going to happen.

Subaru – Subaru unfortunately doesn’t have any diesel models available in the US, although they are available in Europe.

Toyota – There has also been some buzz and speculation of Toyota potentially releasing a diesel model in the US in 2011, but this will not be the case either.

Volkswagen – Ah yes, the “V-dub.” There are actually four Volkswagen diesel models available in the United States. They are the Touareg TDI (a sport utility vehicle), the Jetta TDI, The Jetta SportWagen TDI, and the Volkswagen Golf.

Gas Milage for the Touareg is 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. For the Jetta, it’s a whopping 30 mpg and 42 mpg highway. As far as the golf is concerned, you’re going to be looking at a very similar number: 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway.

Volvo – There have been Volvo diesels before, and there are Volvo diesel cars overseas, but 2011 will not see any Volvo diesel cars in the United States.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Audi A3 TDI clean diesel wins 2010 Green Car of the Year

Audi A3 TDI

A green car doesn’t have to be a hybrid or electric, as we’ve pointed out in some of our previous diesel car posts.

And to prove it, we submit the 2010 Audi A3 TDI, which was named the 2010 Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. (And hey, last year it was the Volkswagen Jetta TDI with the same engine!)

I’m trying to decide between this car, the Jetta SportWagen TDI, or the Golf 4 door TDI as my next car. Opinions?

Like the Audi A3 TDI as much as I do and want to learn more?

Here’s some link goodness for you:

2010 Audi A3 TDI official web site.

Green Car Reports test drive

AutoBlog Green review.

The Truth About Cars review.

Photo courtesy of Mike Babcock and Flickr via Creative Commons attribution license.

2010 diesel cars in the USA: here’s the lineup

Wait! Have you seen our guide to 2011 diesel cars yet?

There really hasn’t been any significant increase in the number of diesel cars available on the US market since our 2009 diesel car post from last year.  While common in Europe, stricter emissions requirements in some states and the recent temporary bout of high priced diesel fuel here has most car manufacturers hesitant to invest the money for what has only shown to be a small segment of the market so far in the United States.

Here is this year’s list of which 2010 diesel cars that automobile manufacturers will be offering:

ACURA:

Acura does not offer a diesel model.

AUDI:

Q7TDIandA3TDI__mid
AUDI Q7 and A3 TDI, courtesy Audi

A3 2.0 TDI clean diesel is available, details here, a small hatchback that gets 30 mpg hwy, 42 city.

Audi Q7 TDI will be Audi’s diesel engined SUV, getting 17 mpg city, 25 mpg hwy.  Details available here.

These vehicle will take a maximum of B5 biodiesel.

BMW:

From BMW USA:

335d“We offer two diesels, the BMW Advanced Diesel 335d and the X5xDrive35d.  They have been on sale since January of this year.”x5_xDrive_35d

.

BUICK:

No Buick diesels for 2010

CADILLAC:

No Cadillac Diesels

CHEVROLET:

No diesel engine cars for Chevy  this year.

CHRYSLER, JEEP, and DODGE:

No diesel cars this year for Chrysler brands.

FORD:

No diesel cars for Ford this year.

HONDA:

From Honda: “There are no current plans to bring a diesel-powered vehicle to the US in 2010.“

HYUNDAI:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

KIA:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

LEXUS:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

LINCOLN:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

MAZDA:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

MERCEDES-BENZ:

Mercedes ML-350 courtesy Mercedes Benz
Mercedes ML-350 courtesy Mercedes Benz

This year Mercedes offers the ML350 sport utility, 18 mpg city 26 hwy, R350 crossover, 18 mpg city 24 hwy, and the GL350 sport utility, 17 mpg ciy 23 hwy.  According to a representitive in addition to the above  Mercedes USA  will be adding the E350 to the famous Blutec Diesel line later in the year.

Mercedes RL-350 courtesy Mercedes Benz
Mercedes RL-350 courtesy Mercedes Benz
Mercedes GL-350 courtesy Mercedes Benz
Mercedes GL-350 courtesy Mercedes Benz

MERCURY:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

MITSUBISHI:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

NISSAN:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

PONTIAC:

The Pontiac brand has been discontinued.  Although the EPA lists a few Pontiacs for 2010, GM does not.

SAAB:

Saab, a division of GM,  formerly sold a diesel model. But it does not have one this year in the US, or in other countries.

SATURN:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

SUBARU:

In other countries, Subura offers the Legacy, Impreza, Outback, and Forrester all equipped with their impressive diesel boxer motor.  Sadly, none of those are available here so equipped.

TOYOTA:

No diesels listed for the 2010 model year.

VOLKSWAGEN:

Volkswagon Jetta courtesy Volkswagon
Volkswagen Jetta courtesy Volkswagen
golf2
Volkswagen Golf TDI courtesy Volkswagen

Volkswagen will have the Jetta, 30 city 42 hwy , The Golf, 30 city 42 hwy, and the  Touareg SUV 18 city, 26 hwy.  These vehicle will take a maximum of B5 biodiesel.  To learn more, visit Volkswagen’s Clean Diesel Site

Volkswagon Touareg courtesy Volkswagon
Volkswagen Touareg courtesy Volkswagen

VOLVO:

Although there was talk of a 2010 diesel SUV from Volvo, it has failed to materialize.

Overview of 2009 diesel cars


America's #1 Trusted Source to Gov't Car Auctions

Don’t miss our updated 2010 diesel cars overview or 2011 diesel cars post!

While the rest of the world is crazy about diesel technology for its fuel efficiency, the US’s stringent emission regulations introduced in 2008 are preventing several otherwise great diesel cars from being marketed in this country.

Diesel cars typically have higher exhaust levels of nitrogen oxide than gasoline cars. Automakers cite the high cost of developing an engine clean enough to meet the US standards. Understandably, this has made a lot of them lukewarm about diesel engines as a solution for boosting fuel economy. That, along with the fact that diesel cars have never really been a mainstream choice here in the United States.

The fact is that you have to be a brave automaker even to consider manufacturing a diesel passenger car for marketing in the US. Until technology rises to meet the challenge, or until the regulations are relaxed (an unlikely scenario) in the US diesel engines are destined to power mainly pickups, buses and trucks.

Automakers also perceive the US market as being unfriendly to diesel for passenger cars – but that is largely based on diesels from the 1970s. The brave few automakers who have been selling diesel SUVs in the US have good reason to argue to the contrary. But 2009 sees some genuine diesel pioneering. Read on.

The following is a line-up of the few diesel-powered passenger cars that will be available in the US in the 2009 model year, and a few that aren’t available.

VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Hands-down winner for courage and innovation is Volkswagen, set to be the only major automaker, and the first, to launch a genuine clean diesel passenger car in all 50 states in the US in 2009. This is the first diesel-powered passenger vehicle to meet the world’s most stringent emission control standards, California’s Tier II, Bin 5.

Clean diesel Jetta TDIs are powered by 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines that produce 140 hp and 236 lb.-ft. of torque.

If you are in any doubt that this is a regular passenger car, rest assured it is as far removed from the old-style diesel cars (stinky, slow and loud) as it is possible for a car to be. The Jetta TDI’s clean diesel engine is the strong, silent type . Clean diesel engines get better mileage than their gasoline equivalents.

The Jetta TDI comes as a sedan or a wagon, both with 4-cylinder, 2.0 L engines. Estimated miles per gallon for both are 29 to 30 in the city and 40 to 41 on the highway, although buyers are reporting much higher real world mileage with better highway mileage than a Prius in some cases. More details here at Edmunds., or at the Volkswagen site.

Watch a Wall Street Journal video review of the Jetta TDI, or read the article. Popular Mechanics also has a great review.

And guess what! You can also get a $1,300 Federal Alternative Motor Vehicle tax credit for this car.

MERCEDES-BENZ

2009 – ML320 (5 passenger), GL320 (7 passenger), R320 (7 passenger)

Small diesel cars are outside the Mercedes-Benz realm it seems, with diesels of this marque still aimed at the SUV market. After a late release in 2008 of three diesel-powered SUVs, Mercedes-Benz has not gone much further with its diesel offering for 2009. However, they have made sure all these models are now emission-compliant in all 50 states – unlike 2008 when some key states, including California, were excluded. A urea injection known as AdBlue has made the difference.

The 2009 model SUVs, powered by BlueTEC (developed in conjunction with VW and Audi) clean diesel V6 engines (among the world’s most environmentally friendly) look elegant and fulfill the promise of Mercedes-Benz class and reliability.

With 23 MPG and a 600 mile range on a single tank of diesel, and advanced Mercedes-Benz diesel technology (remember, Mercedes- Benz has been involved in diesels since time immemorial) the BlueTec range could gain some traction high fuel price times. Here is the Edmunds take on the range. Watch a video about Mercedes diesel technology at the Wall Street Journal site.

Prefer to drive a Mercedes diesel car? Consider the highly refined and quite expensive 2009 Diesel E Class sedan. The BlueTec clean diesel design gets a respectable 23 MPG in the city, and 32 MPG on the highway and has a quick 0 to 60 time of just 6.6 seconds. Pretty impressive for a large, luxury sedan.

Read more at Edmunds, or on the Mercedes USA site.

AUDI

2009 Audi 3.0 liter V6 Q7 (7 passenger)

Without much fanfare, Audi has announced it will place a less powerful version of the powerful V12 Q7 SUV on the US market in the first quarter of the 2009. The Q7 3.0 liter V6 Q7 is the only Audi TDI that meets the stringent US emission guidelines set in 2008.

Although this particular model is about half the V12 version it still packs quite a punch. The 3.0-litre V6 TDI turbodiesel engine pumps out an estimable 224 horsepower and a stout 406 pound-feet of torque, starting at 1,750 rpm.

Audi is claiming 30 percent fuel savings against comparable gasoline-powered models, and also 25 mpg, and over 600 miles per tank. The Audi V6 Q7 has a cozy, well-appointed cabin where the engine’s drone is barely audible. It’s a big car, but the V6 is adequate to make quite nimble. Go to Edmunds for further details, though when I looked only the gasoline version was featured there.

BMW

BMW 118d (winner 2008 World Green Car award – not available in US)

BMW is taking the all-or-nothing approach to marketing diesel-powered passenger cars in the US. Apparently if it can’t make all models optional for gasoline or diesel, and if it can’t make its diesel models emission-compliant in all 50 states then, well, it won’t market any diesel passenger cars here at all.

BMW made noises about launching 3 and 5 series diesel models here in 2008, but nothing came of it and nothing is officially on the cards for 2009 either. That’s a real pity, because the BMW 118d shows that the US motorist is missing out on some great value. In the 118d, the engine makes 141 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, sending the car to 60 mph in about 8.8 seconds, returning 59 mpg on the highway and spewing only 118 grams of CO2 per kilometer into the atmosphere. (All stats from Europe.) Not bad at all. And it goes 700 miles on a single tank of diesel!

CADILLAC

2008 Cadillac CTS – GM’s Diesel V6 (marketed in Europe only – not available in the US)

The 2008 CTS turbodiesel was Cadillac’s 406-lb-ft guinea pig, marketed in Europe only. Despite announcements about making a diesel-powered CTS available in the US in 2009, no further announcements have been forthcoming from GM.

CHEVROLET, PONTIAC, BUICK

GM has never gotten over its belief that diesel engines are for trucks. A new technology mindset is needed to take their brands forward in the diesel market. Their experience with Cadillac (see above – they teamed up with Italy’s VM Motori for that) seems not to have inspired their confidence in passenger diesel car technology. So nothing new in the US diesel passenger car pipeline for these brands either.

CHRYSLER

While they offer diesel options in several of their trucks and SUV’s (notably the Grand Cherokee) they have no diesel cars in the 2009 lineup. It appears that Chrysler jumped onto the electric bandwagon instead. Let’s see if they really deliver by 2010!

2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee

This Jeep diesel-powered SUV was first launched in 2008 in the US with a Mercedes 3-liter V6, which provides the best gas mileage of any current Grand Cherokee engine, complete with lots of torque. Expected in 2009 is a Cummins V6 turbodiesel, whose factory is still being built; this powerplant should be less expensive but just as durable as the Bosch/Mercedes version to be used until Cummins is ready. However, Jeep is saying very little about the 2009 model year diesel Grand Cherokee so don’t expect many advances from the 2008 version.

FORD


2009 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

(sold in Europe only – not available in the US)

Yet another unattainable beauty!

As in 2008, not offering any diesel powered vehicles, other than trucks, in the US in 2009. Ironically, US auto giant Ford is marketing the super-efficient diesel Ford Fiesta ECOnetic — in Europe only.

It’s the 65 MPG Ford that Americans can’t buy.

HONDA / ACURA

There she goes — the new clean diesel Honda Accord that was never manufactured and never launched on the US market.

Honda is yet another automaker having trouble building a diesel engine that meets the high US emission regulations introduced in 2008. In 2006, at a press event held at its Tochigi technical center north of Tokyo, Honda announced plans to launch a diesel car in the US market by 2009. “The car, probably a Honda Accord, will be Tier 2 Bin 5 emission compliant, thus qualifying for sale in all 50 states,” said Honda. But it was not to be.

There were reports in 2007 of a diesel powered Honda being tested on US soil, and then nothing. Now there are rumors that Honda is planning to launch a diesel-powered Acura in the US in 2010.

Honda did show off its i-DTEC clean diesel engine technology at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, if you want to see what’s coming eventually.

Will they launch in 2010? And if so, will it be a Honda or an Acura model? Only Honda knows for sure.

TOYOTA

Toyota Avensis (not for sale in the US)

There has been speculation for at least three years that Toyota would launch a diesel passenger car in the US market — perhaps a version of the diesel powered Toyota Avensis that has delighted Europe.

No such luck.

There’s a rumor of a Toyota hybrid diesel subcompact car coming as soon as 2010, but it is doubtful that would make it to the US market the first year. The first Toyota diesel in the US will probably be a Tacoma or Tundra pickup.

NISSAN

Nissan Maxima Diesel V6 3.0 – not in 2009 but maybe in 2010?

Nissan is an automaker that is plainly uneasy about launching a diesel car on the US market. As early as 2007 it was making plans to launch the diesel Nissan Maxima in all 50 states in the US. Then it was going to be 2009, and now it’s planned for 2010. It has been touted around auto shows in the US to much oohing and aahing — but still no launch. Word has it that compliance issues have caused the delays. A familiar clean diesel refrain we hear from many automakers.


VOLVO

Volvo DRIVe diesels

Volvo has no plans to sell a diesel-powered passenger vehicle in the US anytime soon.

It’s the same old story: while Volvo expects to sell 20,000 units of the 2009 Volve DRIVe diesels in Europe in 2009, they are not compliant with our strict US emission regulations and so will not reach the United States.

CONCLUSION

So there you have it: a few pioneers, a few automakers stuck to diesel SUVs, a lot of promises and a lot of fence-sitting.

Maybe the 2009 VW Jetta TDI will finally persuade the US public and automakers that diesel-powered passenger vehicles can be an efficient, eco-friendly option that Americans will buy and drive.

Don’t forget that you can also find good background information with some of our previous posts like an Introduction to Biodiesel and our overview of 2008 diesel cars.

There’s also a great Diesel Center over at Edmunds.com.

Did we miss anything? What’s your favorite diesel?

Leave a comment and let us know.

An overview of 2008 diesel cars, and what’s coming after that

Don’t miss our updated overview of 2009 diesel cars!

And don’t miss our updated 2010 diesel cars overview!

As diesel technology gets greener and greener automakers are starting to take notice. In Europe many cars are offered with a diesel power plant as an option, while here in the US we are still using diesel motors primarily in pickups, buses and trucks. As fuel prices rise and environmental concerns grow we are finally starting to see some of the manufacturers take notice.

The following is the rundown of the passenger cars that will be available in the USA in the 2008 model year. A re-occurring theme with many of the manufacturers I contacted seemed to be that while they do plan to offer at least one diesel, it won’t be until later in the year.



Don’t miss our previous post, an introduction to biodiesel.

bluetec

Mercedes Benz

The 2008 E320 BLUETEC Sedan

MSRP $52,675

Acceleration1 0 – 60 in 6.6 seconds.

Fuel economy

EPA estimate 23 mpg

Highway estimate 32 mpg

It seems like Mercedes Benz has always been into Diesels. The fabled W123 chassis diesels, such as the 300D and 300TD regularly break the million mile mark with surprisingly little maintenance. So it’s no surprise the E320 tops most of the reviewer’s lists for diesel Sedans sold in the US. Mercedes claims to be the only luxury sedan sold in the US for 2008 that is diesel equipped; and that’s true for the moment as BWM has not announced their entry into the diesel arena for the year. Since they are the only company that could provide me with detail, we’re going to cover them first.

The E320 uses Mercedes innovative Bluetec system for reducing NO2 emissions and soot which is normally the downside to diesels emissions-wise. Mercedes initially entered into an agreement with BMW, VW and Audi to share the technology in order to increase the diesel passenger car market in the US; BMW, VW, And Audi however have announced they will no longer be working with Mercedes on bluetec.

Mercedes states that their diesel cars are NOT legal for sale in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Vermont. A limited number will be available for lease in California.

The 2008 E320 BLUETEC does not meet the emissions requirements of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Vermont and is not available in these states.

In California, a limited number of Model Year 2007 E320 BLUETEC vehicles are available for a limited duration and mileage lease only. No purchase option available. Available only to qualified customers through Mercedes-Benz Financial at participating dealers. Not everyone will qualify. Subject to credit approval and inventory availability. See your authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer for complete details on this offer.

Unfortunately for those looking to run biodiesel you may also have to look elsewhere. The new Mercedes engines are only warrantied to run a maximum of B5 biodiesel. Many people have run higher without problems, but it’s a very expensive car to take a chance with.

Audi

An Audi representative stated that they did not have plans for a diesel equipped auto for the 2008 model year. They did say that there would be an offering in 2009, at least in the Q7 SUV.

BMW

Possibly Several Models

It’s hard to say why car companies do what they do. BMW has maintained that it will be releasing a diesel sedan in the US in 2008; but as of this date they have not so much as specified which vehicles will be available with this option. In Europe every BMW vehicle is available with a diesel motor as an option but these vehicles have not been available in the US. When I contacted BWM their representative stated that they wanted to make sure that any diesel they released would pass emissions standards for all 50 states, and that most likely the 3 and the 5 series BWM’s would be the ones offered with the diesel power plant. They stated that they hoped to have the cars available before mid-year.

The BMW diesels in Europe feature a catalytic converter and particle filter in order to reduce the NO2 emissions and soot. Unfortunately as BMW has not announced their 2008 diesel US lineup there is very little data on what engine (They make a 4, 6, and an 8 cylinder diesel). Therefore no emissions or mileage info.

Cadillac

While Cadillac does not have a diesel powered offering for 2008, they do have one planned for the 2009 CTS.

Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick.

I spoke with a representative from GM who stated that diesel are mostly used in pickup trucks. She stated that they had no cars in the 2008 lineup that would be diesel equipped. I grew up in a GM household where buying a foreign car, or even a ford, was a right up there with treason and using beans in chili (this was Texas, afterall). I had the opportunity to own one of the diesel equipped autos that GM produced back in the 80’s and I’ve watched over the years GM shoot themselves in the foot by throwing out the baby with the proverbial bathwater.

GM had in 1985 a full sized luxury car (Pontiac,Olds, Buick, and Cadillac) that got anywhere between 26 and 30 miles per gallon out of a diesel v8 motor. These motors had problems, primarily with seals and leaking, but instead of fixing and improving on them they stopped production after a few years. It’s not enough to innovate, you have to follow through and capitalize on your innovations. And once you try something and fail you can’t just throw your hands up and let your competitors pick up the ball and run with it.

Chrysler

While they offer diesel options in several of their trucks and SUV’s, they have no diesel cars in the 2008 lineup.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury

Not offering any diesel powered vehicles, other than trucks, in 2008. Sadly, Ford offered a diesel powered escort back in the 80’s that got a whopping 52 MPG! One does not have to look far to see why our auto industry is in trouble today.

Honda

A Honda representative stated that they had no information available at this time on a diesel powered Honda car for the US market. But we’ve read elsewhere and even seen a photo of an Accord that is being tested with new clean diesel technology here. 62 miles per gallon, and in the United States by 2010? We’ll see!

Toyota

While there has been a lot of speculation about a Toyota diesel car for 2008, there are none listed for their 2008 lineup.

Nissan

No Nissan diesel cars available for the 2008 model year.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen stated that they plan to offer a diesel version of the Jetta, the Jetta Wagon, and the Toureg some time in mid 2008. They stated that no specifications have been released at this time. Volkswagen until recently offered a diesel, and over the years they had diesel Rabbits, Jettas, Microbuses, and the new Beettle. They proudly proclaim their diesel heritage on their website.

Volvo

I spoke to a Volvo representative that stated that Volvo has no plans to offer a diesel automobile outside of Europe at this time.

So, there you have it. Of all the car manufacturers out there only Mercedes has any solid data on a diesel automobile for release in the United States for 2008. Many of these same manufacturers are offering full diesel lineups in Europe but because of tighter emissions standards here in the states we can’t get most of these cars imported.