Over the years, with Consumer Reports' extensive testing, we've found that diesel engines provide a significant fuel economy advantage, typically reducing consumption by 30 percent over a conventional engine in an equivalent model. We're encouraged, since at the New York International Auto Show last week, a few automakers promised more diesel variants.
These are set to reach showrooms in just a few months:
• Chevrolet will begin selling a diesel version of its Cruze small sedan this summer, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel powertrain, putting out 148-hp and 258 lbs.-ft. of torque. • This summer, Jeep will roll out a freshened Grand Cherokee with a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel producing 240 hp and 420 lbs.-ft. of torque. It is rated to tow 7,200 pounds and get 24 mpg overall. • Ram will offer the same engine in a light-duty, half-ton pickup, which it estimates will be EPA-rated at 25 mpg. • In the fall, Mazda will sell a 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine in the new Mazda6 sedan. Company representatives alluded to two other vehicles that may get the same engine concurrently. One is likely to be the CX-5 small SUV. The company hasn't yet released engine specs. • Traditional diesel brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are also expanding their lineups with new diesel versions of the 328i sedan and wagon, GLK small SUV, and Beetle convertible, respectively. • A few months earlier, Audi announced at the LA Auto Show that diesel versions of the A6, A7, and Q5 are coming.
Even with these imminent offerings, diesel cars still represent a small portion of the U.S. market. Perhaps, as gasoline prices rise further and diesel choices proliferate, car shoppers may be drawn to torquey, efficient diesels.