Automakers are ready to knock the soot off your perception of diesel engines with a new roll out of high-powered, fuel-sipping models that can tear up the highway. In 2011, diesel cars and trucks made up just 3.1% of U.S. market, but J.D. Power and Associates are calling for that share to grow to 7.4% by 2017 (a 238% increase).
Why the dramatic growth in diesel engines? The short answer: diesel is better than ever. The smoky old rattle traps that many Americans remember from the 70’s and 80’s have been replaced with clean-burning engines that offer gobs of low-end torque. Many consumers love the fact that a diesel gets hybrid-like fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
What About Hybrids?
Hybrids are some of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road, and despite the advantages of diesel, gasoline-electric hybrids are here to stay.
Still, new diesel engine designs have a MPG rating 30 to 40% higher than traditional gasoline models, which rivals hybrid performance. Modern diesel emissions systems capture almost all particulate matter (soot) and nitrous oxides (NOx), and because all of today’s diesel fuel has been stripped of sulfur, sulfur oxides (SOx) are no longer a concern.
Of course, there are some downsides to diesel. Diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline, and most diesel have a higher price tag than gas motors – anywhere from $2,000 more than gasoline (a cost comparable to hybrids) up to $5000 more. There’s also the fact that diesel fuel is a little harder to find.
Still, when it comes right down to it, diesel offers hybrid-like fuel economy without sacrificing performance…which explains why so many diesels we’re seeing in 2013 are going into SUVs.
5 New Diesels Models Coming in 2013
Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC
Diesel doesn’t mean utilitarian. With a 3.5L V6, 302hp, and 273 lb-ft., Mercedes’ new 5-seater diesel GLK250 BlueTEC is designed with luxury in mind. The 2013 diesel model is expected to blow away it’s gasoline-fueled 2012 counterpart’s 22mpg highway with EPA highway rating in the high 30s.
Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Hybrids, take a step back– engineers at Chevy have plans to make the Cruz diesel the most fuel efficient vehicle in America. Rumors calling for the Eco-D to hit 50mpg on the highway.
Cadillac ATS Diesel
While there still isn’t a scheduled release date for the diesel version of Cadillac’s luxury titan, consumers can look forward to the 2.8L Duramax engine offering 180hp, 258 lb-ft. of torque, and 33MPG.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Chrysler recently announced it hired 1,100 workers to help launch to the estimated 28.4MPG diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee in the US, making it good for the economy and the environment.
Mazda Skyactiv Diesel
With an estimated 43 MPG, Mazda’s new Skyactiv Diesel will be able to hold it’s own against most hybrids on the market. The Skyactiv-D engine makes around 160hp and over 300 lb-ft. of torque and revs up to a respectful 5200RPM.
While America is far behind the rest of the world in terms of embracing diesel technology, these five new models demonstrate that a diesel resurgence is underway.
Author Gib Goodrich writes about automotive technology for GMPartsOnline.net, a website offering replacement GM, GMC, and Chevy parts at wholesale prices.