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The Diesels Are Coming!

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On: Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 10:10AM | By: Teddy Field

The Diesels Are Coming!

Paul Revere made his Midnight Ride through the Massachusetts countryside in 1775, to warn American colonists of the approaching British army, but we bring much better news from the other side of the pond. Instead of a herd of Red Coats, intent on burning your farm to the ground, we’re heralding the arrival of that European institution called ‘Diesel’.

Overseas, the fuel tax situation favors diesel, which makes gasoline (or Petrol as they like to say) the more expensive fuel. In the America, it’s the exact opposite: Gasoline is cheaper than diesel. And since diesel is primarily used for commercial vehicles, John Q. Public has never warmed up to the idea of spending an extra $0.30-$0.50 for a gallon of diesel.

From an environmental standpoint, modern emission control technology has made it possible to reduce tailpipe emissions to unprecedented levels. A 2000 Ford Focus for example, spit out 355 grams of CO2 per mile. A 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI on the other hand, emits just 297 grams per mile. It can also achieve over 42 mpg on the highway; whereas Ford’s old economy car could only manage 31 mpg on the open road.

By necessity, diesel engines are made from much sturdier materials than a gas engine. This allows them to last 100,000-300,000 miles longer than a gas engine. They also get far better fuel economy, and they make significantly more torque than a conventional gasser. The additional wheel-turning power (torque) makes most turbo diesel motors feel like a surging freight train off-the-line. But the additional cost of the heavy-duty construction does get passed along to the consumer.

Flying straight into the face of the cost factor, many automakers have chosen to export oil-burning vehicles to the United States. A majority of those diesels have come in the form of expensive luxury vehicles from the likes of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. However on the more reasonable end of the price scale, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI / Volkswagen Golf TDI are priced below $30k. But if John Public wanted a little more affordable variety, he was out of luck. Until now that is...

Let’s take a look at the All-New 2014 Diesel Vehicles…

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has always been hugely capable off road, but you would have never convinced a Mercedes ML, or BMW X5 driver to take a second glance. Its interpretation of luxury was always a bit...plastic-y. So the top Jeep always landed at the bottom of the LuxUV sales charts.

When Fiat took over, they immediately sent a bunch of their tailors to the Jeep factory to fit the Grand Cherokee with a proper Italian suit. The resulting 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee was a dramatic improvement over the old Fisher Price model. And they’ve upped the ante even further, by adding a torque-tastic diesel engine to help it compete in European LuxUV segment.

Called the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, this oil-burner pumps out 240-hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Ram truck’s obnoxiously loud Cummins diesel, the 3.0L turbo diesel in the GC is surprisingly quiet, and refined. In 2wd form, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel can manage 30 mpg on the highway, for a total claimed cruising range of 730 mi on a single tank—adding one of the 4wd systems only cuts that impressive 30 mpg figure by 2 mpg, making the new Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel a true competitor to the diesel drinking LuxUVs from Germany.

2014 Mazda6 SkyActiv-D

The 2014 Mazda6 is undoubtedly one of the best looking cars that Mazda has made in years. And come summertime 2013, it’ll become the first Japanese diesel sedan ever to be sold in the United States.

Powered by their new 2.2L SkyActiv diesel, the 2014 Mazda6 SkyActiv-D should produce around 147-hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, while averaging roughly 49 mpg. Thanks to the SkyActiv mantra of reduced weight and improved efficiency, this big-looking diesel family sedan should weigh about 3,100 lbs., making that mpg number look realistic. Mazda will release concrete specs as the 2014 Mazda6 diesel as it gets closer to launch. Until then, we’ll have to hope these European specs make it across the pond.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel

The Chevrolet Cruze is one of the best small cars to come from GM in many, many years. It’s well made, easy to look at, and quite economical. The new 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel promises to be all that, and a whole lot more.

Powered by a German-made 2.0L turbo diesel, this GM mill puts out 148-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It also has an overboost function, which allows for a 10 second shot of 280 lb-ft. Add in a 42 mpg economy rating, and you’ve got a thrifty Chevy that should last for a very long time.

One - if by land. Two - if by sea. An army of affordable diesels are coming, and America will never be the same.

**Note: No tea bags were harmed in the making of this article

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