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  • Rumor Mill: The Diesels Are Coming

Rumor Mill: The Diesels Are Coming

New Diesel Vehicles

Mike McGlothlin
May 1, 2012
It seems there is a considerable amount of disappointment in the lack of diesel options offered in North America. What seems to work so well (and be the norm) in Europe has somehow been neglected or left off the drawing board in the States. Well, the coming months (and year) could help alleviate some of this frustration.
Photo 2/2   |   rumor Mill chevy Cruze
This time, the hype and speculation seems to be real. Finally, the prospect of seeing more North American diesel options is getting brighter—and it includes passenger cars, SUVs, and ½-ton trucks. Why the sudden onslaught of additional diesel offerings? Two possible explanations point to manufacturers either being financially better off now than in years past, or that they’ve figured out how to meet or exceed North America’s stringent emissions standards.
Passenger Cars
It’s funny how the diesel option instantly attracts us to vehicles we normally wouldn’t look at. Case in point: I’m a truck guy through and through—but when the rumor mill spit out the ’13 Chevy Cruze diesel option (Dec. ’11), I was all ears and even pictured myself behind the wheel of one. We’re still hopeful the Cruze receives the twin-turbo’d 1.9L Opel CDTI, but we’d settle for the single-turbo, 2.0L common-rail if we had to. Regardless of which engine it comes with, we’re satisfied to know production has been confirmed.
On the heels of the Cruze is another four-door sedan: the Mazda6. The rev-happy, 2.0L common-rail diesel, called the Skyactiv-D (Nov. ’11), will come with compound turbos, 170 hp, 310 lb-ft, and be available for the ’14 model. It’s also expected to see at least 40 mpg and meet emissions without the use of selective catalytic reduction (urea). Finally, the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat TDIs will have some competition.
SUVs
During January’s Detroit Auto Show, Chrysler announced the return of the diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee for 2013. Once again, buyers will have a 3.0L V-6 common-rail diesel option. However, this time the engine will come from VM Motori—not Mercedes-Benz. The 60-degree V-6 is rated at 237 hp and 406 lb-ft (vs. the Mercedes’ 215 hp and 376 lb-ft) and utilizes a compacted-graphite-iron block with an incorporated bedplate. With a five-speed automatic backing it up, the ’13 Cherokee is rumored to see a 15 percent fuel economy increase over the previous, Mercedes-powered version.
Another SUV on our radar is the all-wheel-drive Porsche Cayenne. That’s right, for the first time, Porsche will offer a diesel option in North America this year. It too will be powered by a 3.0L V-6, but its powerplant is sourced from Audi (the same engine found in the Audi Q7, Oct. ’11). At 245 hp, it receives a 20hp bump over the Q7 but also uses the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. For us, the icing on the cake is how much the diesel Cayenne outshines its hybrid-electric counterpart within the same lineup. The diesel will see as much as 40 mpg, while the gas-electric will only achieve 21 mpg. Oh yeah, the diesel Cayenne will sell for roughly $10,000 less than the hybrid model…
Trucks
Now for our favorite form of competition: Ford vs. Chevy vs. Ram. As you read last month, the diesel-powered ½-ton rumors are stirring again. We have reason to believe that GM will be the first to market. With a remodeling scheduled for ’13 models, what could be better than slipping in the diesel option at this time? We’ll soon see, but our sources tell us a ½-ton diesel Silverado could be unveiled as early as July, and you will indeed find a compact V-8 under the hood. Look for Ram to follow suit, and then Ford.
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