By on March 19, 2012

In Europe, half of the cars sold are diesels. In The U.S. and especially in Japan, automakers literally wrinkled their nose at oilburning cars. This is slowly changing, says The Nikkei [sub].

In India, a market owned nearly 50 percent by Suzuki, gas prices have soared 36 percent over the past year and a half, while diesel prices have increased by a more modest 14 percent.

Diesel-less Suzuki was blindsided by a wholesale shift to diesel. It dragged down Suzuki’s sales from April 2011 through February 2012 by 13 percent on the year. Mahindra & Mahindra has diesel and saw its sales jump by 36 percent. Suzuki did react by buying diesel engines from Fiat, much to the chagrin of Volkswagen.

Honda has developed a new diesel engine for the first time in six years. It plans to use it in Civics produced at Honda’s plant in Wiltshire, England.

Toyota forged an alliance with BMW to supply mid-sized diesel engines that will go into Toyota’s European offerings.

In the U.S., diesel market share is below 3 percent, in Japan, the share is below one percent. The Nikkei sees “signs that diesel cars are even appealing to consumers in Japan.”

In its first month of sales in February, Mazda received about 8,000 orders for its new CX-5 sport-utility vehicle, with diesel models accounting for 73 percent.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

64 Comments on “Diesel Beginning To Spread...”


  • avatar
    K5ING

    It’s about time. After spending 11 years, over 400K miles and getting 50mpg the whole time with my Golf diesel, I wouldn’t drive anything else. I’ve found that the only people who don’t like diesel cars are people who have never driven a (modern) diesel car.

    • 0 avatar
      Sundowner

      I owned a 2010 diesel VW Jetta. I would not own one again for a variety of reasons, some VW in nature, some technolgical. Modern diesel engines have rather rubeberg-esque deisgn features suchs as the diesel particulate filter, which may or may not require a $2k replacement at 100k miles (Read the manual) thus negating all your fuel cost savings. I could go on about the abrasive nature of US ULSD diesel fuels killing modern high pressure fuel pumps, elaborate twin EGR systems, urea injection that acutally shut the car down if you don’t keep it filled, and the joy of leaking injectors. All-in-all, diesel as a powertrain option, is an evolutionary dead end in my humble opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        colin42

        The Jetta doesn’t have a urea injection system.

        Think of DEF (urea) systems as a 2nd fuel. If you let the diesel tank run dry it will shut down the engine too!

        I agree with you, The VW Diesel is tool complex & costly for too little mpg benefit to offset the reliability risk and increase fuel cost

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        colin42,
        A VW TDI has a HUGE mpg benefit compared to about anything in the U.S. market, except the best of the hybrids, like a Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        VA Terrapin

        kokomokid said:

        A VW TDI has a HUGE mpg benefit compared to about anything in the U.S. market, except the best of the hybrids, like a Prius.

        Except that the Jetta TDI (34 combined MPG) sold in America doesn’t offer much better fuel economy than some current model, gas powered competitors like the Civic HF (33 combined MPG), Elantra (33), Mazda3 with SkyActiv (33), Cruze Eco (31) and Focus (31). For comparison purposes, I looked at sedan versions with automatic transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I loved driving my 2001 VW Jetta TDI. The even torque of the engine was awesome, and it would lazily pull me up hills on 96hp while passing everything else on the road.

      I hated owning it, though. The engine was the most driveable engine I’ve ever owned, and pretty much every car (including my Ranger) would have driven better with this “less powerful” engine in it. But the rest of the car was a POS money pit, and I’m never owning anything from VAG again.

      A diesel-powered CX-5 or Cruze is definitely on my radar, along with everything plugin/hybrid. I currently own an Escape, and a diesel-powered version of it would be high on my list — Ecoboost is getting there, in the same way that O’Douls is getting there.

      • 0 avatar
        SwampBuggy

        I would drop some cash on a used diesel in a second if fuel didn’t command a 30-40 cent premium over regular gas.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Not to mention that diesel versions of VWs command 2.5k to 4k premiums in transaction price over their similarly equipped gasoline models.

        Even at $4 a gallon for gasoline, that makes it even harder to justify the diesel, at least in VW form.

        On trend I’m starting to see is people trading in or thinking of buying new, more fuel efficient cars than those they have, and that’s a financial mistake in nearly all cases.

        Even if one’s current whip is yielding 20 combined mpg, so long as it’s in decent shape and relatively reliable, they’re going to spend a whole lot of money between selling their used vehicle or trading it in, and buying a new vehicle, even if it yields them a combined 27 mpg (I’m using the Sonata as a benchmark for combined mpg).

        Between the bath they’ll take on the trade in or sale of their existing car, and the taxes and fees plus new car price they’ll pay for the new ride, the spread between the 20mpg and 27mpg is going to take a very long time to recoup, if it ever can be done.

        I suppose there are rare instances where someone driving a V8 Dodge Ram 15 or 20 thousand miles per year that gets 14 mpg combined can come out ahead if they buy a Prius or stick shift Elantra.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @DeadWeight: I helped a neighbor calculate how much they’d actually save by trading their 3-row SUV for a crossover. It wasn’t as much as they felt like — they really just wanted to buy a new car and were trying to rationalize it by claiming it was for the fuel economy. They both have PHDs, but not in engineering/math.

        As for myself, I’m a geek and I value having interesting technology under the hood of my car, and I like saving gas more than I like saving money. So, the economics argument only goes so far for me. But I’m aware of this and willing to admit it. Saving money does sweeten the deal.

        OTOH, the 2ns-gen Prius that my wife and I drive has delivered on geeky fascination, low fuel consumption, low maintenance costs, and also just plain being a good small passenger transportation appliance. It’s a great car to own. In other words, I’m not about to talk anyone out of a Prius based on gas savings alone, since it’s such a good overall vehicle — at least for people want a dependable, efficient, and useful little transportation appliance that operates primarily on pavement.

      • 0 avatar
        pdog

        @DeadWeight:

        I agree that it rarely makes economic sense to ditch a perfectly running used car to make relatively minor gains in fuel efficiency.

        But if one is determined to have a new car and is considering the TDI vs. gas price difference, one must also consider the insanely high resale prices for the TDIs. For example, we just traded in a previous generation gas Jetta. I was shocked to discover that, had it been the exact same car, but with the TDI instead of the gas engine, it would have been worth exactly 50%/$5,000 more according to the book values. I don’t know what the difference in purchase price was between gas and diesel at the time, but I’m fairly certain it was less than $5K.

        Unless you drive the car into the ground (and most Americans don’t), you can’t just compare purchase price. You have to think about resale/trade value, and the opportunity cost of having that extra $2K-4K tied up in a car. Plus of course any difference in maintenance costs.

        At least in theory, maintenance schedules for the TDI didn’t look any scarier than for the gas engine – both seemed to require the same stuff at more or less the same intervals. I have no idea about the actual reliability on the TDIs though, but I assume it would be on par with the more recent VW gas reliability stats. I can say that the 2.5L gasser was dead reliable for us.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      My fathers 2009 Jetta tdi 6 speed MT, just went into the shop. The camshaft failed, and in doing so, sent the engine into a valve munching frenzy. He has had ALL of the recommended maintenance done, and performed a major service less than 20,000 miles ago costing more than $2500. I was the one who recommended he buy diesel powered car, and it is something I now regret. With all the money he has had to spend in repairs, in the long run, his car will never save him any money. In fact, it will have cost him more. With gdi gasoline engines, who needs diesels like this?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I’ve driven plenty of modern diesels, and honestly don’t like driving any of them. The same goes for light duty trucks. Too much and too laggy torque down low making smooth driving at crawl speed harder than in a gasser, and no power where you want it, up high. Heavy diesel engines also makes the whole car more nose heavy.

      Longer range and safer fuel storage are really the only good things as far as modern diesel engines go. Old school diesels (and marine ones like single cylinder Sabbs) also had/have great long term reliability and easy fixability, but I doubt that is the case with any of the newer ones designed not to spew soot wherever they go.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Diesels get great mileage but the problem is that they also carry a price premium much like hybrids do, and diesel fuel is more costly in the US than gasoline whereas in many other countries diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline. So financially speaking there’s really no good case for diesel in the US.
      For example if you wanted a super fuel efficient small car you’d be able to go buy a Prius C now for $19,000 and get 50mpg on regular gasoline (around $4 a gallon here). The Golf TDI starts at $24,000 ($25,000 for the four door) and even if you forego the hatch and get the stripped Jetta TDI it’s gonna run you almost $23,000.

      In the midsize sedan class you have the base Passat TDI coming in at $26,000, which is pretty much exactly what a Camry Hybrid LE costs. The Hybrid gets better mileage in the city whereas the Passat eeks out slightly better highway mileage. In the real world it probably gets a more noticeable highway advantage but it’s entirely negated by the extra cost for diesel and if you drive in the city half the time it makes no sense at all from a financial perspective.

      Diesel is great if you live somewhere where it’s priced cheaper than gasoline. In the US where it costs *more* than gasoline it just doesn’t make sense given the price premium for a diesel vehicle since you have gasoline hybrids that enjoy similar or better mileage for the same price or less.

      • 0 avatar
        pdog

        If all you care about is mileage and base price, Prius C is the clear winner. But, having recently test driven all variants of Prius and Jetta/Golf TDI, I can say that the C is significantly less car than the TDIs or the regular Prius. It was tiny, underpowered, and, at the lower levels, devoid of equipment. The Prius C price advantage diminishes when you start adding equipment that most buyers will want.

        For buyers who want a super fuel efficient, Yaris-sized hatchback with slow acceleration, the Prius C is worth looking at – but then, unless you do a ton of driving, why not just get a Yaris or Fit? And unless they bring over a Polo or Up or similar (or at least a stripped-down Jetta TDI), VW will never compete in this class.

        The real competitor for the Jetta/Golf in terms of size, utility and equipment would be the regular Prius, which, similarly equipped, was thousands more than the VWs.

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        “The real competitor for the Jetta/Golf in terms of size, utility and equipment would be the regular Prius, which, similarly equipped, was thousands more than the VWs.”

        Not really. A very well equipped “base” Prius 2 has an MSRP of about $24K, while the base price of a Golf TDI is about $25K. To make the Golf more similarly equipped to the Prius, you add auto trans for about $1100. The Golf still wouldn’t have “smart key” and automatic temp control which are standard on the Prius, though there would be a few things on the Golf that a base Prius lacks.

      • 0 avatar
        pdog

        @kokomokid

        Good point about the transmission option. We were looking for manual, so that didn’t enter the equation for us. Also, I didn’t think about the soft-touch premium price on the Golf, as we were looking at the Jetta.

        Still, the dealer here would sell the loaded automatic Jetta with nav/sunroof for $27K (and was willing to part with a similar manual car for just over $25K), while the Prius 4 was just over $28K, without the crazy expensive solar sunroof option. The lower Prius models had unheated cloth seats, and this was, for us, a dealbreaker. I’m sure other people feel the same way about the Prius’s climate control vs. VW’s manual set-up.

        Subjectively, I think we still might have liked the Prius more, had we not driven the two cars back to back. Maybe we should have tried a Prius with the $3K handling upgrade option, but the regular Prius didn’t feel as solid/stable on the road as the Jetta, even if the latter has reverted to a torsion beam setup.

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        @pdog,

        My Prius is a 2, which has the cloth seats. I like them ok, except that they are very light colored, so I have to be careful not to get them dirty. My base MINI has more VW-like vinyl seats.

        I haven’t driven a new Jetta, but a Golf certainly is a “sportier” drive than a Prius. When I get energetic sometime, I’ll put some 16 inch wheels on my Prius that I have sitting unused, and see how it affects the handling. The tires are 205-50/16, which should be close enough to the same radius to do this experiment.

        If I were buying a VW TDI, I’d probably get a manual, because the DSG has frequent maintenance requirements, 60K miles as I remember. The DSG worked really well, though, on a GTi I drove, and I suspect it works well on the TDI cars too.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I took the MSRP on the five cylinder JSW six MT, and the average between the city and highway mileage. Then I did the same for the same TDI JSW 6MT using the average between city and highway. Then using the price of regular and diesel for my area with GasBuddy I ran the numbers and it looks like the TDI doesn’t begin pay for itself until about 175K miles in mixed driving.

        That doesn’t take into account maintenance schedules or driving the car mostly in town or mostly on the road.

        I still plan to buy a JSW TDI 6MT b/c I want a JSW TDI 6MT but it won’t solely be about saving money on fuel.

        Long term IF we still need a second car (my wife and I carpool 99.9% of the time), we’ll either keep driving our current 230K mile grocery getter, buy a newer (interesting to us) used car or an EV b/c we like the EV ownership concept and our commute fits the EV abilities. Then we’d park the JSW in the garage except for out of town trips.

        Again it would not be solely about saving money b/c who buys a new car to save money? And who buys a $35K EV to save money?

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    I like diesel in concept, but in execution, it’s very, very hard to justify the upfront and lifecycle costs, and this is more true in the US, where diesel is taxed higer than gas and is priced in commodity fashion with heating oil (diesel is more expensive in winter) and can be as expensive as premium gas, or more. Couple this with the fact that diesel engines add (onthe average) between $1300 and $5000 to the cost of a car, and you may never see any cash savings unless you own the car for 10 years or more. And spare me the saving the resources angle, you get about 10 gallons of fuel out of a barrel of oil, and about 20 gallons of gas.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Yup. Around here, diesel fuel costs more than premium gasoline. Diesel autos cost more than their gas counterparts, and require more maintenance. When they require repair, the costs can be astronomical.

      I’ve looked into it, but it’s just not a very good deal.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “Diesel autos cost more than their gas counterparts, and require more maintenance. When they require repair, the costs can be astronomical.”

        That’s Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes’ fault. Not Herr Doctor Rudolf’s fault.

        A Cruze diesel would likely have much more Chevrolet-like maintenance costs.

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        Repair costs is the key here – the high-pressure pumps for example (20,000+ psi) are never going to be cheap, likewise injectors etc.

        On the other hand, I suppose the direct injection gas may go the same way too.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I looked up that VW TDI fuel pump – it’s $350. Not so bad…

    • 0 avatar
      K5ING

      You can add about 5 more gallons of diesel to the “per barrel” numbers in the form of kerosene, heating oil and jet fuel (both are basically diesel fuel) and that brings it closer to gasoline. Renewable biofuels add to the supply chain too. I’ll agree with the higher cost in initial purchase (using the lower of your figures) and higher fuel costs, however considering that you can get 50% better mileage and the diesel engine will last twice as long, keeping the car the additional time makes sense unless you’re the type who can’t live with the same car for more than 3 years or so. People who could come out ahead with diesels would be buying the small economy cars with diesel engines, not the BMW or MB buyers with lots of disposable income.

      I also disagree with the higher maintenance costs you spoke of. Mine has cost me less than a comparable gas Golf and has never broken down. The HPFP issues you mentioned have only happened on a very small percentage of VW diesels (less than 5%) and sometimes can be traced to putting gas into the tank, or letting it run dry while trying to get maximum range. That happens in gas cars too, my GM car for example.

      • 0 avatar
        Sundowner

        your assumptions of longer life and lower service are based on diesel engines of yore, which were stoutly built and bedrock simple. This is no longer the case in a modern diesel. They are some of the most complex engies on the road right now.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Sundowner: He’s basing it on his Volskwagen Golf TDI.

        As an owner of a similar vehicle, I can assure you that the Volkswagen TDI platform is neither stoutly built nor bedrock simple. And, yet, it’s working well for him.

        Look for http://www.tdiclub.com for more information about Volkswagen diesels.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      It takes about 10% more crude to make a gallon of diesel than a gallon of gas, if you optimize the refineries for the right amount of both, but a VW TDI gets about 30% better mpg than the comparable gassers. You save both money, and resources with the TDI. The E-Class and 3 Series do less well compared to their gas counterparts, because, while they perform very well, the diesels they use are too big for the vehicles, from a fuel economy standpoint.

      As far as ownership costs, yeah, the oil burners have more required routine maintenance, but a Golf or Jetta TDI depreciates much more slowly than the gas versions.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    From eia.gov: “One barrel of crude oil, when refined, produces about 19 gallons of finished motor gasoline, and 10 gallons of diesel, as well as other petroleum products.”

    It’s not an either-or situation. It all comes from the same barrel, on average.

    • 0 avatar
      Sundowner

      agreed, but expand the argument to say that a fairly reasonable car may get 30 mpg on the road where a fairly reasonable diesel may get 45 mpg. you’re austomatically using less barrels of oil by using gas based on those numbers. Can the refineries addust that ratio? maybe. But right now, the best bang for the barrel is gas.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “you’re austomatically using less barrels of oil by using gas based on those numbers”

        No, you aren’t. A gallon of diesel contains more oil than does a gallon of gasoline. It’s apples to oranges. If you were to change the refining mix to produce an additional gallon of diesel, you would lose more than one gallon of gasoline in the process.

        To put it another way, if you were take equal amounts of energy, it will consume less space when it is contained in diesel than in gasoline. It isn’t better or worse, it’s just more tightly packed when contained in diesel.

        A barrel of oil has both gasoline and diesel, among other things. The US already uses plenty of diesel, it just tends to focus its use of it in a industrial capacity.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Althought it wouldn’t be the Holy Grail “AWD, manual transmission, station wagon for $20,000″ :P I would be interested in at the least test driving a diesel Chevy Cruze to gauge its overall performance. If I had a long commute I would certainly be interested and even if I didn’t looking at the specs on the overseas diesel Cruze engine that GM uses it might end up being the “performace” version.

    • 0 avatar
      GeeDashOff

      Subaru sells this Holy Grail, just not in the US. Its the 2.0D drive-train, check out the Impreza 2.0D: http://www.subaru-global.com/special/impreza_20d/index.html

      AWD, hatchback, manual, diesel, might be more than $20,000 if they sold it here, but probably not by much since the its still basically an economy car. But they don’t sell it in the US and won’t for the foreseeable future.

      Americans just don’t buy diesels in big numbers, so its probably not worth the hassle for automakers to bring them here.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “Americans just don’t buy diesels in big numbers, so its probably not worth the hassle for automakers to bring them here.”

        Chicken, meet egg. Egg, meet chicken.

        *stares at shoes*

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The TTAC holy grail used to be small-ish/midsize-ish station wagon with a European inspired exterior, with a 5 speed manual transmission, robustly built diesel motor (that can last 350k to 400k miles w/out a rebuild) that averages 48 mpg on the highway and 36 mpg in the city, AWD with rear wheel drive bias, that can comfortably seat six adults while hauling a baby grand piano (legs disassembled), that handles well enough to be tracked on weekends, but is practical enough to be a quasi-pickup truck when need be, with whale penis foreskin leather seat trim, for less than $17,228 dollars.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        I agree about the TTAC Holy Grail. Perfect DeadWeight.

        That being said, I am waiting for a brand to pick up the glove and actually market the hell out of a Sporty Wagon. Make sure the 1st year does not have a stripper model. All Sporty/OffRoad Wagons must look good to deliver the point. Hub Caps on Jetta Wagon yes. 15″ Hub cabs wheels on Hyundai Elantra Touring – NO.

        When the public can hum your song and remember the funny/sexy/witty ad they might listen and understand that when gas is $5 p/gallon it is time to park the SUV, look and see what else can carry cargo & family and look good while getting things done.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      some talk the Cruze may come with a 1.7L diesel.. GM needs to get that engine certified for US duty and also use it on a Delta II based compact pickup.. with a stick of course :)

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Seems as though a diesel-electric hybrid would be a doubly economical power plant, albeit quite complicated. Plus you could pretend you were driving a railroad locomotive.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’m still waiting for a Dakota sized pickup with a small diesel engine. The torque and mileage advantage you gain while towing makes up for the slightly more expensive fuel costs… or so I’ve been told by those that tow often.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I hear that Mahindra is sending trucks to the USA soon? With a small diesel?

      Yeah, I’d consider a small Hi-Lux style truck if I could get it witha 35 mpg diesel. I don’t need 6 sec 0-60 times. My old CR-V is plenty fast enough for the places we go and the 1500 lb towing we do.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    What are the odds of the CX-5 getting a diesel in the USA? That little SUV is looking very appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Mazda said they will bring the diesel to the US (probably next year). It will go in either the CX-5 or the new 6, but IMO, if it only goes in one, the CX-5 makes more sense. I’d say there’s about a 70% chance that we’ll see a diesel in the CX-5.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Diesel prices in India is an interesting topic.

    The Indian government has decontrolled gasoline price in June 2010, diesel and domestic LPG are sold at highly subsidised prices. This has created a large gap in gasoline versus diesel prices.

    Under the current subsidy mechanism, 37.9 per cent “under-recoveries” (loss in relative to international price of fuel) of diesel is shouldered by the government-controlled upstream oil and gas producing companies (Oil India, ONGC, GAIL) in the form of discounts on their sales to oil marketing companies.

    What this has meant is that gasoline prices in India have shot up to better reflect international fuel prices, diesel however is still subsidized.

    But this is unsustainable as crude oil prices have crept higher (diesel requires more crude oil than gasoline to process). This has been a topic of discussion recently as the Indian government has seen larger than expected deficit. There has been talk of reducing or even eliminating this subsidy.

    But the question is when. For automakers, it means doubling down on small diesels.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Ten years ago, I bought a very used (exceeds mechanical limits) 1982 MB 300 Turbodiesel for comuting to work. The diesel engine was pure mechanical and bullet proof. I would achieve near the sticker claim of 33 mpg highway. Aside from a valve adjustment and water pump preplacement, I did vey little work on the engine over the next 50k miles in a little less than two years. In fact, one day the alernator failed on my way to work. Since the diesel fuel pump was powered by the engine, the car ran fine without any input from the electrical system. I didn’t notice the problem until the radio started to die when I was close to work. So I charged the battery at work and drove 70 miles back home with a dead alternator. Since it was light, I dint’ need lights and turned off the radio and blower. When I got back, I stopped the engine and went into the house for a half hour, I then started the engine without any difficulty – that’s how little the battery was discharged.
    As I understand, the new diesels have glow plugs that are constantly on as well as electronic injectors and controls that require constant power. So you couldn’t drive very far without a functioning alternator.
    Sometimes, I miss that noisy heap.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I drove about 170 miles on a non-functioning alternator in a gas car with an ECU and spark-ignition once. I expect a modern diesel would be comparable.

      I did drive in the daytime, with all of the same load shedding you mentioned.

      The drive was a triumph. The old Tempo was POS, though. I started on a long-overdue car purchase when I got back from that trip, and replaced it with a Ranger that I traded in for a family car over the winter.

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        A friend of mine did similar (well the alternator went out during the night so once he diagnosed it he waited until morning to continue), the last 30 miles or so the battery was flat & nothing electrical was working including dash lights. We expect it was carbon deposits in the motor letting it run basically as a diesel.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I think the new breed of gasoline engines with direct injection and turbocharging could put the small diesels out of business.
    Just think- a Chevy Cruze with the 1.4 ecoboost gas engine, already gets close to 40mpg on the highway. How much better could the diesel Cruze do? Likewise the Elantra, Mazda3 and Focus- all these cars manage to get 40mpg with their direct injection technology.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The goal of those diesels would be 50+ mpg hwy. It may not be enough of an increase to justify a few additional grand at purchase, but it is cheaper to fuel even with diesel’s higher price.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      In Consumer Reports’ tests, a Cruze 1.4 turbo automatic got 26 mpg “overall” mpg, a Jetta TDI automatic got 30% better at 34 mpg, and a Golf TDI manual got 46% better, at 38 mpg. Where I am, diesel costs about 10% more than regular gas, so the TDI’s would clearly save money on fuel costs, but yeah, I’d rather have the maintenance costs of the Chevy.

      I’m hoping CR will test a manual transmission Cruze Eco soon. I’m curious about what they will get, compared to the EPA numbers. If the Cruze diesel does as well as the the VW TDI in mpg, it will be an attractive choice, but the manual 1.4 turbo might do very well in real world driving too. FWIW, CR got 49 mpg out of the manual Golf TDI in their highway test, which is a steady 65 mph.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I’m a Diesel Technician. I work on big trucks every day.

    One of my cars is a 06′ Liberty CRD. I use it for longer trips and pulling my 16ft camper. Thankfully mine is pre-07′ emissions, so it’s a lot “dirties” smell and emissions wise, but far more simpler mechanically. I’ve gotten 30-32mpg highway with it, and even around town, I can still manage 22-24mpg. Plus, with the Diesel in those Jeeps you also got the same 5spd automatic they put behind the Hemi in the bigger trucks and cars. When I tow my 3,600lb camper, I can still manage 15-16mpg.

    There is no SUV that compared to it then, and certainly nothing on the market that I could buy today to replace it. That engine pulls hard; I can climb the mountains in OD at 75mph all day long. Hell, I’ve dragged a old motorhome out of a barn with it, and then dragged it across town with a tow-bar. I’ve driven through a foot on snow. That Liberty was everything Jeep use to be about; a big truck in a small body. Where we need Diesels in the market place is for vehicles like that; light duty trucks and SUV’s. Cars sure, but mainly something that can tow.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      That is cool to hear. I almost bought a CRD Limited KJ back in 2005. Loved test driving it! But my wife already had a gas KJ, so I passed on it for my TJ.

      If I had bought that CRD, I’d tow with it too. It would have been fun to put a 2″ lift on it. Yeah, I’ve thought about it. (drool)

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Down here is getting BIG. Many of the Euro SUVs and cars sold here are diesel. The BOF utes market has shifted almost completely toward diesels

    IIRC the share was around 25% last year.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Diesels are the only sensible option in Sweden. Gasoline cars are ok if you drive a little. Hybrid cars like Prius is far too expensive to buy.
    My Hyundai diesel has had zero problems after 2,5 years/400 000 miles.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Diesels are great cars to own but in the US we cork them up so badly they cost significantly more. By corking them up diesels mpg gets lower in order to reduce particulate emissions – if we uncork them they get significantly better power requiring less diesel burnt (there for less carbon emissions – but higher particulate).

    Also add in the fact that diesel fuel is more expensive than premium petrol (lower supply of diesel as it doesn’t have the production capacity given to petrol).

    If we’d reduce the complicated and inefficient exhaust filter systems we’d have better diesels that get significantly better mileage than current EPA corked ones.

  • avatar
    AJ

    ^A truck stop near my house actually has diesel for less then the cost of unleaded at the moment. The stars must have aligned…

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I’ve done the math several times on several different diesels and it doesn’t make economic sense unless you drive a LOT of miles and keep the car a very long time.

    • 0 avatar
      mic

      I agree! The initial higher cost and maintenance (say what you will, most folks that drive a modern diesel have maintenance issues) can’t outweigh a cheaper gas powered car until 250-300k miles. From a purely financial position, at least in the US, gas trumps diesel.

  • avatar
    charlie986532

    Most people comment that diesel costs more than gasoline at the moment. True, gasoline is 10 to 15 percent cheaper currently. But since diesel engines are typically 20 to 40 percent more efficient, you are still ahead on operation of a diesel car. What am I missing?
    Next, yes per barrel of oil more gasoline is produced but this is because of demand. Gasoline is still takes more energy to produce and is more expensive but demand, production and lower tax brings down the price.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India