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2018 Diesel Car and SUV Buyer’s Guide

New Diesels You Can Buy Here in the U.S.

Austin Lott
Oct 12, 2017
Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers
The market for new diesel cars and SUVs for 2018 mirrors the larger market in general, with lots of SUVs and less action for cars. There’s never been a better time to be looking at a new SUV or crossover. This year, there are 16 new vehicles that will take you further, with better driveability than their gas-burning stablemates. We’ve put all the changes, specifications, details, and updates for the new models here in one place for you. Enjoy the shiny new paint and snazzy photography, but don’t take our word for it: Get behind the wheel and take a testdrive. Whether you’re looking for an efficient people mover, fine luxury auto, or something that meets both criteria, the vehicles on the pages of this guide should get you off to a good start.

BMW

Photo 2/35   |   Sedans equipped with the LED headlights in the lighting package in 2017 (standard for 2018) and the front crash-prevention options earned the coveted 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, which places the BMW 3 Series among the safest cars on the road today.
Photo 3/35   |   2016 Bmw 3 Series Wagon Front Driver Side Motion
3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon
The ’18 BMW 3 Series, in sedan and wagon form, gets minor revisions to standard equipment and now offers a few more options. The latest iDrive 6.0 infotainment system with a touchscreen is now available, and LED headlights are standard across the line. If you like the blacked-out look that’s now somewhat common throughout the aftermarket, then some options this year should excite you: the Shadow Sport Edition package, a high-gloss-black kidney frame, LED headlights with black inserts and darker taillights, a black insert for the air dam, and an Aluminum Dark Carbon trim package with a pearl-gloss-chrome highlight. Other additions include an improved sport leather steering wheel and a new exterior color: Sunset Orange Metallic. Those who are looking for the superior driveability and fuel economy of a diesel engine can pair the 180hp 2.0L I-4 that makes 280 lb-ft of torque with rear- or all-wheel drive in the sedan, limited to all-wheel drive in the wagon. Pricing starts at $41,750 for the 328d, $43,750 for the 328d xDrive, and $45,950 328d xDrive Sports Wagon.
Photo 4/35   |   Just like it has for years, the best technology from the 7 Series trickles its way down the BMW model lineup. The display key, which sports a tiny touchscreen, made its way to the new 5 Series. Owners of the new 5 Series can use the Display Key to pull their car out of a tight parking spot without getting in, as long as it’s in a straight line. No more crawling through the trunk on account of unfortunately sized parking spaces.
5 Series
The talk of the luxury-sedan town is the all-new BMW 5 Series, which carries the proverbial torch when it comes to lavish midsize German diesel sedans. Just because the playing field has gotten leaner doesn’t mean BMW hasn’t brought its A-game with the new generation, though. Active safety features are heaped on generously, the exterior is more aggressive while staying recognizable, and a fresh diesel engine is being brought in. Rumored to be plucked from the European 530d, which produces 262 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, the powerplant should make even more when it lands on U.S. shores. Since the outgoing 535d got a combined 30 mpg from the EPA, we’re betting on mid-30s from the new model. Pricing for the ’18 540d is anticipated to start near $58,000.
Photo 5/35   |   If you want a German luxury SUV with a diesel engine, your choices include the BMW X5, the BMW X5, and the BMW X5.
Photo 6/35   |   2016 Bmw X5 Rear Passenger Side Static
X5
For 2018, BMW’s X5 only gets a handful of minor changes to standard equipment and the options list. The X5 xDrive35d now wears trapezoidal tailpipes, and a sport automatic replaces the previous Steptronic automatic transmission. If big wheels are your thing, then the new 21-inch M-style wheels available in the M Sport Package for $1,550 might interest you. The 3.0L I-6 in the X5 makes 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, which arrives at just 1,500 rpm, making it the perfect match for effortless acceleration. More than 400 lb-ft of torque just off idle and 29 mpg on the highway? The X5 makes a compelling case for the diesel-powered SUV. Pricing for the ’18 X5 xDrive35d starts at $60,750.

Chevrolet

Photo 7/35   |   The Chevrolet Cruze sedan sports 13.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity, while the hatch boasts 22.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which grows to 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
Photo 8/35   |   Thinking about getting all-wheel drive but worried about the “worse” fuel economy associated with that drivetrain? The EPA rates the standard front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Equinox at 28/39 mpg city/highway and the all-wheel-drive at 28/38 mpg.
Photo 9/35   |   2018 Chevrolet Cruze Front Driver Side Motion
Cruze
Chevrolet’s ’18 Cruze adds a new hatchback body style, with no other drastic changes to the model. Cargo room in the new hatchback is naturally better, and a fold-flat set of rear seats promises to make it as practical as it is efficient. Both variants are powered by a 1.6L I-4, which is known as the “Whisper Diesel” for its quiet operation. Official figures are in: 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, an EPA-estimated 31/47 mpg city/highway with a nine-speed automatic transmission, and an impressive 30/52 mpg with a six-speed manual. Prices start at $24,670 for the sedan and $26,310 for the hatchback.
Photo 10/35   |   2018 Chevrolet Equinox Front Passenger Side Motion
Photo 11/35   |   2018 Chevrolet Equinox Rear Driver Side Static
Equinox
What do you get when you combine a quiet, efficient diesel engine with one of Chevrolet’s most popular SUVs? The all-new Equinox, which boasts a segment-leading 39 mpg on the highway, as verified by the EPA. The compact SUV shed 400 pounds in its redesign and now wears bodywork that ties it much closer to the updated Cruze, with which it shares the diesel. The same 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque promises excellent driveability, with none of the harshness diesels were knocked for in the past. To top it off, the Equinox diesel can also be paired with all-wheel drive, making it one of the most versatile smaller SUVs on the road today. Prices start at $31,435 for two-wheel drive and $33,185 for all-wheel drive.

GMC

Photo 12/35   |   With an EPA-estimated 28/39 mpg city/highway, the GMC Terrain is sure to play host to more than a few road trips.
Photo 13/35   |   2018 Gmc Terrain Front Driver Side Static
Photo 14/35   |   2018 Gmc Terrain Slt Interior
Terrain
The redesigned GMC Terrain sets the tone for the next generation of the truckmaker’s design language. We like that the GMC cuts such a different figure than the Chevrolet Equinox with which it shares a platform. The Terrain is powered by the same 1.6L I-4 found in the Chevy Cruze and Equinox diesels, which makes 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, but distinguishes itself by offering a more premium experience than the Chevrolets do: active noise cancellation is standard, aluminum and soft-touch materials are found throughout the cabin, and a number of GM’s new safety features are made available. Prices will start at $32,565 for front-wheel drive and $34,315 for all-wheel drive.

Jaguar

Photo 15/35   |   The Jaguar XE can be equipped with the Ingenium 20d turbodiesel I-4 engine, which makes 180 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is stellar, with the EPA estimating 32/42 mpg city/highway and 533 miles of range on a single tank of diesel.
Photo 16/35   |   2018 Jaguar Xe Rear Driver Side Motion
Photo 17/35   |   2018 Jaguar Xe Rear Driver Side Static
XE
Jaguar’s newest sports sedan, which was introduced in 2017, gets improvements in its safety and convenience features. The sport sedan gains Blind Spot Assist, Forward Vehicle Guidance, and Forward Traffic Detection, helping keep drivers out of trouble in the parking lot and on the highway. New convenience additions include Dual View, which lets the driver view navigation while the passenger views USB or TV outputs, and a trunk-lid “gesture” feature that allows customers to open the trunk by waving a foot beneath the rear bumper. Prices for a 2018 Jaguar XE with the 2.0L I-4 turbodiesel start at $38,220 for rear-wheel drive and $40,720 for all-wheel drive.
Photo 18/35   |   If you’re looking for a stylish midsize with a diesel engine and more than 600 miles of range on a single tank, the Jaguar XF is the only game in town until BMW gets its 5 Series to market.
Photo 19/35   |   2018 Jaguar Xf Rear Driver Side Motion
XF
The ’18 Jaguar XF receives some minor changes, but it stays largely the same, which is a good thing in our book. Two new features, Forward Traffic Detection and Forward Vehicle Guidance, are added to the suite of active safety technology on the XF. (See F-Pace entry for more details). The infotainment system is the recipient of a couple of updates: Dual View allows passengers to view something else while the driver keeps the navigation on, and a new Shell app allows drivers to pay via the in-car screen when filling at Shell stations (first in the UK, then everywhere else). The ’18 XF also gets that trick power trunk lid that opens when you wave a limb under the rear bumper. The Ingenium 20d turbodiesel I-4 engine, which makes 180 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque, is rated by the EPA to get 31/42 mpg city/highway. That kind of fuel economy translates to a hair more than 600 miles between fill-ups. The ’18 Jaguar XF starts at $50,270.
Photo 20/35   |   Unlike some other SUVs with aggressive styling and lackluster handling, Jag’s F-Pace handles as well as its looks suggest.
Photo 21/35   |   2018 Jaguar F Pace Rear Driver Side Static
F-Pace
The Jaguar F-Pace was introduced in 2017 and accordingly only gets minor changes for 2018. Two new safety features are added: Forward Traffic Detection provides a visual alert when an object crosses the path of the vehicle in limited-visibility situations, and Forward Vehicle Guidance works together with the surround camera system to display the alignment of the steering and the parking distance on the center screen. Parking lot safety should be greatly improved. Drivers who want to minimize their time at the pump can now pre-pay for their fuel at Shell stations via an app on the Jaguar’s infotainment system. The 2.0L Ingenium I-4 engine produces 180 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque and is estimated by the EPA to attain 26/33 mpg city/highway. Pricing for the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace diesel starts at $47,270.

Jeep

Photo 22/35   |   2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Front Passenger Side Motion
Photo 23/35   |   Its 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm make the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine an excellent companion for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Photo 24/35   |   A new Premium Metal package equips the interior with, you guessed it, metal accents. It looks cool and lends a premium feel to the interior.
Photo 25/35   |   2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior Detail
Grand Cherokee
For 2018, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is available with a 3.0L turbodiesel V-6 engine in four models: Limited, Overland, Summit, and Trailhawk. Several special trims are available, including a High Altitude Edition for Overland models and a Sterling Edition for Limited models, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee. Inside all models, the standard infotainment screen is upgraded to a higher-resolution 7-inch model, and the latest version of Uconnect is paired with an 8.4-inch screen. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a vehicle that balances mainstream and luxury, offering capable transportation and upscale comfort without the “look at me” badges. Pricing for the ’18 Grand Cherokee will start at around $45,000 for a four-wheel-drive Limited.

Land Rover

Photo 26/35   |   Functions in Land Rover’s Range Rover Velar pull off a minimalistic look by fading to a gloss black when not in use and lighting up when the driver or passenger reaches to use them.
Photo 27/35   |   2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar Rear Driver Side Motion
Photo 28/35   |   2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar Interior
Range Rover Velar
The all-new Land Rover Range Rover Velar Td4 is an in-between model that fits—stylistically and dimensionally—between the smaller Evoque and Range Rover Sport. The Velar has several engine options, but most intriguing is the 2.0L Ingenium I-4 that’s pumping out 180 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy isn’t confirmed by the EPA, but we figure it will be close to the Jaguar F-Pace’s 26/33 mpg city/highway, since Velar shares both platform and powertrain with it. The Velar cuts a nice profile and sticks to a “minimalistic” take on the interior, with a paucity of knobs and buttons. The exterior even gets in on the smooth look with door handles that sit flush and deploy out when needed. Pricing starts at $57,195.
Photo 29/35   |   2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Front Driver Side Static
Photo 30/35   |   Perhaps the most recognizable of the current Range Rover lineup, the Sport is equally at home in the rough as it is on-road.
Photo 31/35   |   2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Passenger Side Motion
Photo 32/35   |   2018 Land Rover Range Rover Driver Side Static
Photo 33/35   |   2018 Land Rover Range Rover Driver Side Door Interior
Range Rover and Range Rover Sport
The ’18 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, two of the automaker’s most recognizable models, aren’t expected to undergo any drastic changes. If you want to live the dream of overlanding in absolute luxury, then the Range Rover Td6 might be a good choice. More of a fan of aggressive styling and roads with curves? The Sport will delight you. Both Td6 models are powered by a 3.0L V-6 engine that makes 254 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm. That wave of torque just off idle, paired with a range of more than 550 miles between fill-ups, seems like the perfect pairing for a luxury SUV. Prices are expected to stay in the same ballpark as 2017, with the Sport Td6 starting at $68,645 and the Range Rover Td6 at $88,645.
Photo 34/35   |   Who would have thought Land Rover would field a people mover in the diesel segment?
Photo 35/35   |   2018 Land Rover Discovery Rear Passenger Side Motion
Discovery
One thing rarely found in the diesel segment, this side of a big passenger van, is seating for more than five, except in the ’18 Land Rover Discovery. Seating for seven (actual adults, no less!) is available with the legendary capability on which Land Rover has built a brand. The 3.0L V-6 Td6 engine found in the Range Rover that provides a mountain of torque and a hair more than 500 miles of range on a single tank of diesel fuel is also available in the biggest Rover. Prices for the ’18 Discovery shouldn’t stray far from the ’17 model’s $59,945 starting figure.

The Shifting Landscape

The year 2017 was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for the diesel community. After the initial shock of the diesel-emissions scandal over at the Volkswagen Group in 2015, the EPA and California Air Resources Board moved in to sort out what needed to be done. In early 2017, VW and the two agencies developed an approved fix for the affected models. Software and hardware changes, which vary depending on year and model, bring the VW TDI models into compliance with emissions requirements. Owners who don’t sell their cars back can get the vehicle modified free of charge. The automaker is also approved to sell the vehicles it repairs, clearing out the back stock of ’15 VWs that couldn’t be sold once the scandal broke.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and specifically the 3.0L V-6 engine powering the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, was accused of cheating the system in the same way VW did. FCA holds that its emissions system only allowed the excess pollution under certain, extremely limited circumstances. A software-only fix brought the two vehicles into compliance, allowing Jeep and Ram to sell diesel models again.
With the manufacturers of diesel vehicles for the U.S. market, and indeed the world market, under increased scrutiny, we started to wonder: “Who’s in and who’s out?” As of the deadline for this report, Mercedes-Benz has decided not to pursue certification for any diesel models: out, for now. BMW renewed its commitment to diesel and plans to roll out successors for many of the company’s popular diesel models: in. Mazda continues to pursue certification for its diesel powerplant, which should make the CX-5 a solid contender in the segment: definitely in. What about General Motors and Jaguar Land Rover? They’re definitely in, too.

DIESEL ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS

BMW
Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: I-4
Power: 180 hp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft at 1,750 to 2,750 rpm
Induction: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.30 x 3.50 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Aluminum
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: I-6
Power: 255 hp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 413 lb-ft at 1,500 to 3,000 rpm
Induction: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.30 x 3.50 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Aluminum
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Jaguar/Land Rover
Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: I-4
Power: 180 hp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 318 lb-ft at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm
Induction: Singe turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.30 x 3.60 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Aluminum
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Jeep
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6
Power: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 420 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Induction: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.60 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Land Rover
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6
Power: 254 hp
Torque: 440 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm
Induction: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.31 x 3.54 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Sources

Chevrolet
Detroit, MI 48323
www.chevrolet.com
Jeep
877-426-5337
www.jeep.com
Land Rover North America
lanham, MD 20706
landroverusa.com
GMC
888-988-7267
http://www.gmc.com
BMW of North America
Woodcliff lake, NJ 07677
http://www.bmwusa.com
Jaguar USA
Mahwah, NJ 07430
http://www.jaguarusa.com

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