2015 Diesel Car and SUV Buyer’s Guide

New diesels coming to dealer lots near you.

Oct 17, 2014
Photographers: Courtesy of the Manufacturer
If you’re shopping for a diesel car or SUV, you’ll have plenty of choices for model year 2015. There are all-new models, updates, and an all-new engine for the most popular diesel cars in the U.S. Here’s a look at what’s for sale in model year 2015 with pricing, engine specifications, and fuel economy numbers (where available) to help you find the best clean diesel ride.

Diesel MPG Masters

It’s no secret that diesel-powered cars and SUVs get great fuel mileage. This year, thanks to the new EA288 engine, the VW cars will have better EPA highway fuel economy ratings compared to 2014, with gains of up to 3 mpg. The 2015 BMW 328d still has the highest EPA city and combined ratings with 32 mpg and 37 mpg, respectively. The 2015 Chevy Cruze and 2015 VW Jetta will share the title of having the best nonhybrid EPA highway rating of 46 mpg.

Vehicle City Combined Highway MPG
Audi A3 31 36 43
Audi A6 24 29 38
Audi A7 24 29 38
Audi A8 L 24 28 36
Audi Q5 24 27 31
Audi Q7 19 22 28
BMW 328d 32 37 45
BMW 328d xDrive 31 35 43
BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon 31 35 43
BMW 535d 26 30 38
BMW 535d xDrive 26 30 37
BMW X3 xDrive28d 27 30 34
BMW X5 xDrive35d 24 27 31
BMW 740Ld xDrive 23 26 31
Chevrolet Cruze* 27 33 46
Jeep Grand Cherokee 2WD* 22 25 30
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD* 21 24 28
MBZ E250 BlueTEC* 28 33 42
MBZ E250 BlueTEC 4MATIC* 27 31 38
MBZ GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC 19 22 26
MBZ GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC* 24 28 33
MBZ ML250 BlueTEC 4MATIC** TBD TBD TBD
Porsche Cayenne 20 23 29
VW Beetle (manual) 31 34 41
VW Beetle (auto-manual) 31 34 41
VW Beetle Convertible (manual) 30 34 40
VW Beetle Convertible (auto-manual) 30 34 40
VW Golf (manual) 30 36 45
VW Golf (auto-manual) 31 36 43
VW Golf SportWagen (manual)** TBD TBD TBD
VW Golf SportWagen (auto-manual)** TBD TBD TBD
VW Jetta (manual) 31 36 46
VW Jetta (auto-manual) 31 36 45
VW Passat (manual) 30 35 44
VW Passat (auto-manual) 30 34 42
VW Touareg* 20 23 29
*2014 mpg ratings; 2015 ratings may be higher.
**New model; 2015 mpg ratings not yet published.
Check fueleconomy.gov for the latest updates.
Photo 5/42   |   The Audi Q7 fullsize SUV has a 3.0L V-6 with 240 hp and 406 lb-ft and gets 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The Q5 small SUV comes with a 3.0L that’s rated at 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque and gets 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

Audi

For the 2015, the Audi A3 debuted as an all-new sedan, which replaced the hatchback body style of the previous generation. The new A3 TDI pricing starts at $32,000 and includes standard features such as leather seats, a power panoramic sunroof, and HID headlamps. It’s powered by a 2.0L inline four-cylinder diesel that makes 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque.
The rest of the Audi TDI lineup gets diesel power from a 3.0L V-6 engine that makes 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque (406 lb-ft in the A8 L and Q7). For the 2015, the A6 sedan and A7 Sportback now come with Audi Side Assist and Pre Sense Rear standard on all TDI models. A head-up display and full LED headlamps are standard on the TDI Prestige trim levels. Pricing for the A6 TDI Prestige starts at $58,700, and the MSRP for the A7 TDI Prestige starts at $68,300.
The Audi A8 L fullsize sedan has a new look with new front and rear fascias, a new hood, a new grille, and redesigned LED headlamps. There are also lots of new options, including a head-up display that now has animal detection along with pedestrian detection and Active Lane Assist that can steer the car back into a lane automatically when drifting is detected. Pricing for the diesel-powered A8 L starts at $85,100.
The diesel trims of the Audi Q5 small SUV now start with the Premium Plus at $47,000, which comes with Audi Connect in-vehicle WiFi, Google Earth mapping, Audi Side Assist, and Pre Sense Rear as standard features. The Q5 TDI Premium Plus gets those features along with standard four-zone automatic climate control. The Audi Q7 fullsize SUV will come with a new “full paint” finish and chrome accents as standard equipment, and it has two new optional exterior styling packages: the Offroad Style Plus and Sport Style Plus. Pricing for the diesel Audi Q7 starts at $52,900 for the TDI Prestige trim, which now comes standard with a Corner View camera system; Audi Side Assist is now standard for the TDI Prestige Plus models.

Audi Engine Specifications

Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 150 hp at 3,500 to 4,000 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft at 1,750 to 3,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Fixed turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.19 x 3.76 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmissions: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto-manual
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6 90-degree
Power: 240 hp at 3,500 to 3,750 rpm (A6/A7/Q5/A8 L)
Torque: 428 lb-ft at 1,750 to 2,250 rpm (A6/A7/Q5/A8 L)
Power: 240 hp at 3,500 to 4,000 rpm (Q7/Cayenne/Touareg)
Torque: 406 lb-ft at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm (Q7/Cayenne/Touareg)
Turbocharging: Variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.60 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic

Photo 9/42   |   2014 BMW X5 XDrive30d Profile Front Passengers

BMW

There are two all-new diesel BMWs for model year 2015: the 740Ld xDrive fullsize luxury sedan and the X3 xDrive28d small SUV. The 740Ld xDrive is the first diesel 7-Series to ever be offered for sale in the U.S. and has a starting price of $82,500. It’s powered by BMW’s N57 TU 3.0L inline-six engine that makes 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, which moves the large car from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds while returning 31 mpg on the highway. The X3 xDrive28d is part of a refreshed X3 lineup and starts at $41,900. It comes with the four-cylinder BMW 2.0L diesel engine that makes 180 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and gets 34 mpg on the highway.
The 328d sedan is also powered by the 2.0L turbodiesel engine and has the best non-highway EPA numbers of all diesels sold in the U.S., with ratings of 32 mpg city and 37 mpg combined. The diesel 3-Series is also available with all-wheel drive in the 328d xDrive sedan that starts at $40,900 or the 328d xDrive Sports Wagon that starts at $43,250. There are minor changes to the 3-Series that include a different location for the clock display, deletion of the storage net in the glovebox, and M Sport Brakes no longer being available as an option for the 328d xDrive.
The diesel model of the BMW 5-Series fullsize sedan also receives minor changes, which include a Sport Leather steering wheel that’s now standard, LED fog lamps, and standard Bluetooth and USB smartphone integration. Pricing starts at $56,850 for the 535d and $59,150 for the 535d xDrive; both come equipped with the 3.0L diesel engine.
The X5 xDrive35d fullsize SUV has the same engine and has been made more efficient and quicker for the 2015 model (thanks to an update to the eight-speed automatic transmission), with an extra 1 mpg city and a lower 0-to-60-mph time of 6.5 seconds compared to 6.7 seconds for the previous model. The 2015 X5 xDrive35d also gets additional stitching on the seats, standard Bluetooth audio, and a standard Sport Leather steering wheel, and it starts at $57,000.

BMW Engine Specifications

Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 180 hp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft at 1,750 to 2,750 rpm
Turbocharging: Variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.30 x 3.50 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Aluminum
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: Inline six-cylinder
Power: 255 hp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 413 lb-ft at 1,500 to 3,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.30 x 3.50 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Aluminum
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic

Photo 16/42   |   The Chevy Cruze Diesel continues to get up to 46 mpg, which is the best EPA highway fuel economy of any nonhybrid car (although it now must share that honor with the updated VW Jetta). The Cruze Diesel is powered by a 2.0L inline four-cylinder diesel that makes 151 hp and up to 280 lb-ft of torque when the turbo is in overboost mode.

Chevrolet

The 2015 Chevy Cruze Diesel continues to have the top EPA highway rating of all nonhybrid cars at 46 mpg (although it now has to share that title with the new VW Jetta). The Cruze Diesel continues to be powered by a 2.0L engine with 151 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque or 280 lb-ft for up to 10 seconds when the turbo is allowed to overboost. While the mechanicals are the same, the 2015 Cruze Diesel now comes standard with high-tech features such as OnStar 4G LTE, which can provide a WiFi Internet connection for up to seven devices. The new Cruze also gets Text Message Alerts that can read incoming texts through the speakers, and Siri Eyes Free, which allows you to control an iPhone using Siri from a button on the steering wheel. Pricing for the 2015 Cruze Diesel will be announced in late 2014.

Chevrolet Engine Specifications

Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 151 hp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 264 lb-ft at 2,600 rpm (operational)
Torque: 280 lb-ft at 2,600 rpm (maximum 10 seconds)
Turbocharging: Variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.38 x 3.38 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed shiftable automatic
Photo 17/42   |   2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Front View 2

Jeep

For the 2015 model, Jeep continues to offer the Grand Cherokee with a 3.0L V-6 engine by VM Motori that puts out 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The 2015 Grand Cherokee starts at $40,995 for the Limited two-wheel drive and $42,995 for the Limited four-wheel drive. The pricing is unchanged from model year 2014, so even though updates have not yet been announced, changes will likely be minor. To get our impressions from living with a ’14 Grand Cherokee, be sure to check out our long-term review on page 58.
The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee continues offering a 3.0L V-6 engine by VM Motori and and an eight-speed 845RE automatic transmission. This combination is good for 28 mpg highway for the four-wheel-drive models and 30 mpg highway for the two-wheel-drive models.

Jeep Engine Specifications

Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6 60-degree
Power: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 420 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.60 inches
Valvetrain:DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic

Photo 21/42   |   2014 Mercedes Benz GL350 Front Passenger Offroad

Mercedes-Benz

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML250 BlueTEC 4MATIC fullsize SUV debuts with a 2.1L dual-turbo four-cylinder engine that makes 200 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and is hooked to a seven-speed shiftable automatic transmission. This setup replaces the 3.0L V-6 of the previous diesel ML-Class and lowers the starting price to $49,800, which is almost $2,000 less than the outgoing model. The GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC small SUV shares the same powertrain as the ML-Class and is unchanged from 2014, with pricing that starts at $38,980.
The 2015 E250 BlueTEC midsize sedan has a starting price of $51,400. It continues unchanged with the 2.1L dual-turbo engine that’s rated at 195 hp and 369 lb-ft. The all-wheel-drive version of the E-Class diesel, the E250 BlueTEC 4MATIC is also unchanged and starts at $53,900.
The 2015 GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC fullsize SUV is now the lone offering from Mercedes-Benz with the 3.0L diesel engine other than the Sprinter van. The V-6 puts out 362 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque and is connected to a seven-speed shiftable automatic transmission. The GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC starts at $63,600 and now comes with 19-inch twin five-spoke wheels.
Photo 28/42   |   The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC has a 2.1L dual-turbo engine and seven-speed automatic transmission that allow it to achieve 28 mpg city and 42 mpg highway. The all-wheel-drive E250 BlueTEC 4MATIC is able to get 27 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

Mercedes-Benz Engine Specifications

Displacement: 2.1L
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 200 hp at 3,800 rpm (GLK250/ML250)
Torque: 369 lb-ft at 1,600 to 1,800 rpm (GLK250/ML250)
Power: 195 hp at 3,800 rpm (E250)
Torque: 369 lb-ft at 1,600 to 1,800 rpm (E250)
Turbocharging: Two sequential turbochargers
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.90 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Aluminum
Transmission: Seven-speed shiftable automatic
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6 72-degree
Power: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 455 lb-ft at 1,600 to 2,400 rpm
Turbocharging: Variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.62 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Seven-speed shiftable automatic

Photo 29/42   |   2015 Porsche Cayenne Diesel Around Corner

Porsche

The Porsche Cayenne is redesigned for 2015 with front body panels, fenders, and a hood that are all new. Up front, there are also new air blades (fins used to guide air into the intercoolers), along with standard HID headlamps and LED running lamps. The tailgate and taillamps are new, and the lower fascia has been redesigned to integrate the exhaust pipes. Inside the cabin, a sport steering wheel with shift paddles is now standard, and the rear seats have been updated to be more comfortable and can now be ordered with a seat ventilation system. The Cayenne Diesel is now the entry-level trim in the Cayenne lineup with the lowest starting price of $61,700.

Photo 32/42   |   The VW Golf is all-new for 2015 and is larger inside and out but lighter than the previous model. It also has the new EA288 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine and is rated to get up to 45 mpg highway. An all-new Golf SportWagen will be new for ’15 and replace the Jetta SportWagen.

Volkswagen

The 2015 VW Golf is the first U.S. market vehicle that uses the VW Modular Transverse Matrix (also known as MBQ) platform. It’s bigger, lighter, and more fuel-efficient than the previous generation and gets up to 45 mpg highway. The new Golf TDI S model is priced at $21,995, which is $3,000 lower than the previous entry-level Golf TDI. Automatic Post-Collision Braking and a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment center are now standard equipment, and every trim level has more features than the outgoing Golf models. The all-new Golf SportWagen debuts in early 2015 and replaces the Jetta SportWagen. It has 10 percent more storage room than the outgoing Jetta-named model, which was actually based on the old Golf chassis.
Like the rest of the 2015 VW TDI car lineup, the Beetle gets the new EA288 engine, which has 10 more horsepower and is more fuel-efficient than the previous engine. The Beetle and the rest of the VW car lineup can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission or a DSG dual-clutch six-speed automated-manual. With either transmission, the EPA city rating for the hardtop increases by 2 mpg to 34 mpg. The Beetle Convertible with the manual sees a rating increase of 2 mpg to 34 mpg city and actually loses 1 mpg highway. The Beetle Convertible with the automatic receives a city rating increase of 3 mpg to 34 mpg, and the highway rating increases by 3 mpg to 40 mpg.
The VW Jetta gets a new look, with changes to the front, rear, and interior styling. New available features include VW’s Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Warning, Park Distance Control, HID headlamps, and Adaptive Front Lighting. Pricing for the 2015 Jetta TDI S starts at $21,640.
The 2015 VW Passat is a carryover from 2014, except for the new EA288 diesel engine. The added efficiency means the EPA highway rating increases by 2 mpg to 42 mpg for the automatic and by 1 mpg to 44 mpg for the manual, which now has a range of 814 miles on a single tank of diesel. Pricing for the VW Passat TDI SE starts at $26,825.
A “refreshed” VW Touareg SUV will debut in early calendar year 2015 as a model year 2015 vehicle. It will be powered by the 3.0L V-6 that’s also found in the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. Full details have not yet been released, but upgrades will include new front and rear styling, a more refined interior, and new driver assistance features. The Tourareg TDI pricing has not yet been announced.
Photo 42/42   |   The 2015 VW Jetta gets some minor upgrades, such as a new grille and interior upgrades. Along with those changes, it gets the new EA288 2.0L TDI engine that improves fuel economy to 46 mpg highway, the same as the Chevy Cruze; but the six-speed manual Jetta bests the Chevy by 4 mpg around town with its rating of 31 mpg city.

Porsche/Volkswagen Engine Specifications

Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 150 hp at 3,500 to 4,000 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft at 1,750 to 3,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Fixed turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.19 x 3.76 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmissions: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto-manual
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6 90-degree
Power: 240 hp at 3,500 to 3,750 rpm (A6/A7/Q5/A8 L)
Torque: 428 lb-ft at 1,750 to 2,250 rpm (A6/A7/Q5/A8 L)
Power: 240 hp at 3,500 to 4,000 rpm (Q7/Cayenne/Touareg)
Torque: 406 lb-ft at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm (Q7/Cayenne/Touareg)
Turbocharging: Variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.60 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic

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