Autobytel’s recommended list of 2012 diesel cars is (nearly) an all-German affair, but that’s just because Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are the only brands now offering diesel cars in the U.S.A. for 2012. And technically, the folks at Bayerische Motoren Werke don’t actually sell a diesel-powered “car” in this country: There are a few BMW 335d sedans still lurking around dealerships, but a diesel engine hasn’t shown up in the next-gen 3 Series that is currently in production for American drivers, leaving only the BMW X5 xDrive35d—the diesel-powered version of the X5 crossover—in the lineup.
It’s too bad, too, since today’s clean-diesel technology can deliver more power, better fuel efficiency and even fewer emissions than found in comparable gasoline-motivated vehicles. Further, customers have clearly noticed those advantages, since sales of diesel vehicles were up 28.2 percent in April and have climbed 33 percent in the first four months of the year.
Of course, the domestic brands do supply some robust diesel power for their full-size pickups, and the Chevrolet Cruze will welcome a diesel engine next year, but that won’t help car shoppers satisfy their increasing demand for diesels right now—however, what will help is the following roster of some of the best new diesel cars in America for 2012. (Which includes a few very car-like non-cars for added variety.)