According to the EPA, diesel engines typically return up to 35 percent better fuel economy than comparably sized gasoline fueled engines. The introduction of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuels to the U.S. market in 2007 finally paved the way for American drivers to take advantage of the benefits of a fuel European drivers had enjoyed for decades.
The high price of petroleum products over there is what led to the recognition of the advantages of diesel fuel. Paying between six and ten dollars MORE per gallon than we do, fuel-efficiency has been an issue in Europe for a very long time. Perhaps for this reason, you’ll find every vehicle on this list of 2014 diesel SUVs hail from European manufacturers.
There’s more good news here. In addition to the fuel economy advantages of diesel, the fuel now burns cleaner than ever before. Ultra-low sulfur content in diesel fuel enables the usage of advanced emission control technologies on diesel vehicles. The combination of ULSD with these advanced emission control technologies is sometimes called "clean diesel." A recently developed process—which involves injecting a chemical called Urea into the catalytic converter—makes ULSD fuels burn cleaner than gasoline.
So now, you can drive farther for less money, and feel good about your impact on the environment as well—with any of the vehicles on this list of 2014 diesel SUVs.
A deft blending of a luxurious interior treatment, handsome exterior styling, the go anywhere nature of a SUV, and the deft handling of a sporty sedan, the Audi Q5 has a lot to offer. And now, with the addition of a diesel powertrain for the 2014 model year, the Audi Q5 can add exceptional fuel economy to its list of attributes.
Just as in its A6 and A7 applications, the diesel-powered Q5’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 delivers 240 horsepower and 428 ft-lbs of torque. This renders the all-wheel drive Audi crossover suv capable of clocking a zero to 60 of just under seven seconds, or conversely, 24 miles per gallon in the city, 31 on the highway, and 27 combined.
Standard equipment includes a set of eighteen-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, and automatic windshield wipers. Also included are a pair of roof rails, two eight-way adjustable power-operated heated front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment and leather upholstery; a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and a tri-zone automatic climate control system. The package also includes a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split rear seat.
On the electronics front, the Q5 TDI comes with Bluetooth audio and telephone connectivity, Audi's Multi Media Interface, and a 10-speaker sound system supporting a CD player, an iPod/USB input port, an auxiliary audio jack, and satellite radio.
The diesel-powered Audi Q5 is also fitted with a power liftgate, a set of auto-dimming and power-folding exterior rearview mirrors, an auto-dimming interior mirror, and keyless entry and start. Pricing starts at $47,395.
One of the oldest models on this list, the Audi Q7 has been around—fundamentally unchanged—since 2007. This is not to say the vehicle is outdated per se, as Audi has made it a point of constantly updating the model as new technologies applicable to its mission have emerged.
That said, some of the Q7’s newer competitors do offer some advantages, but none of them can top its combination of a luxurious and well-crafted interior treatment, strong standard feature-set, smooth and comfortable ride; and its exceptional fuel economy—thanks to its diesel engine.
Like its Audi A8L TDI stablemate, the 2014 Audi Q7 TDI uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine rated at 240 horsepower and 406 ft-lbs of torque. The EPA says to expect 24 miles per gallon in the city, 36 on the highway, and 29 combined from the all-wheel drive powertrain—which includes an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The standard feature set is comprised of nineteen-inch alloy wheels, smart xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and turn signals, a rear parking sensor array, a set of roof rails, a power liftgate with an adjustable opening angle function, a set of heated exterior mirrors, automatic windshield wipers, and a dual-zone automatic climate control system.
The Q7 TDI also comes with leather upholstery, eight-way power adjustable heated front seats, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat, and an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror.
The Q7’s techno-kit includes Bluetooth telephone and audio connectivity, along with an eleven-speaker sound system supporting a CD player, satellite radio, and an iPod interface. Cargo capacity is 72.5 cubic feet with both the second and third rows folded. Pricing starts at $53,795.
On the occasion of the introduction of the new 2014 BMW X5, we were reminded of the genesis of its predecessor. When it was introduced fifteen years ago back in 1999, the X5 represented a number of firsts for BMW. It was the company’s first foray into the SUV segment, it was the first BMW to be built in North America, and it became the world’s first “Sports Activity Vehicle”.
Reluctant to file a formal admission the BMW X5 was a SUV, and reflective of the company’s decision to make it more capable on pavement than as an off road device, the BMW X5 marketing team coined the acronym SAV, so it didn’t have to go with SUV.
Thing is, that first BMW X5 was truly reflective of the chosen nomenclature. It went like stink on pavement, handling with adroitness previously unknown to the class. Today’s model solidly lives up to its predecessors and offers the advantages of diesel power to boot.
The 2014 BMW xDrive35d uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six running on diesel fuel. Output is 255 horsepower and 423 ft-lbs of torque. All-wheel drive is standard equipment and the only transmission choice is an eight-speed automatic. The model is so new, official EPA ratings aren’t available as this is written, but BMW estimates 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway.
Standard equipment includes a set of 18-inch wheels, smart xenon headlights, foglights, a panoramic sunroof, a power rear liftgate, front and rear parking sensor arrays, an automatic dual-zone climate control system, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leatherette (aka premium vinyl) upholstery in the base model, along with ten-way power adjustable front seats with driver memory settings and heat.
The tech quotient is comprised of BMW Assist telematics, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming, voice activated navigation, and a nine-speaker sound system supporting a CD player with a USB interface and HD radio. Pricing starts at $57,525.
For the 2014 model year, Jeep is offering its Grand Cherokee model with a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 capable of generating 240 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission routes the output of the new diesel engine to either the rear- or all four wheels. Boasting a towing capacity of 7,200 pounds, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel is said to return 22 miles per gallon in the city (21 with 4WD), 30 on the highway (28 with 4WD), and 26 combined (24 with 4WD).
Universally hailed as the nicest, most luxurious Grand Cherokee in the history of the model, this is one plush Jeep. The interior treatment features a first class choice of materials, along with a degree of craftsmanship heretofore unknown in the GC. The standard feature set is pretty strong too. While the Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered in four states of trim; Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit; the diesel engine can be had with the latter three.
Thus, the base standard equipment list for the diesel powered Jeep Grand Cherokee is comprised of the following; eighteen-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, cruise control, foglamps, keyless entry and start, a full complement of power accessories, and a dual-zone air-conditioning system.
It also includes a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for audio and cruise functions, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming connectivity, and a nine-speaker premium audio system supporting satellite radio, a CD player, a USB port, and an auxiliary audio input jack.
There’s also a power liftgate, remote engine start, a 115-volt AC power outlet, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. Rounding out the package is Jeep's new 8.4-inch touchscreen display with voice command, power-adjustable front seats with driver’s memory settings, and heated rear seats. Pricing starts at $41,690.
While many people have a tendency to refer to the S Class Mercedes as “the big Benz” the true big Benz is the GL Class Mercedes—the largest Mercedes-Benz mainstream passenger model sold in the USA. A true three-row, seven-passenger SUV, the GL Class Mercedes-Benz is considered among the best you can buy of the genre.
Redesigned for the 2013 model year, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL is one of the few three-row SUVs capable of comfortably accommodating adults in all three rows. What’s more, it’s a Benz, so you know it’s hooked up on the equipment front.
Standard fare includes nineteen-inch wheels, a set of roof rails, and a self-leveling air suspension system. The biggie-sized Benz also features automatic headlights with LED running lights and taillights, rear privacy glass, a power-actuated liftgate, a sunroof, power opening rear quarter windows, a rearview camera monitoring system, cruise control, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
MB-Tex “premium” vinyl upholstery covers the heated eight-way power front seats on the base model. There’s also a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with controls for audio and cruise. The base price also nets wood interior trim and a power-folding third-row seat.
Electrons flow through the M-B COMAND interface, and its seven-inch central display. The GL rocks Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming connectivity, as well as the Mercedes mbrace2 telematics system, which includes smartphone app integration. The base sound system supports HD radio, an auxiliary audio input jack, and a USB port.
Power comes from a 240-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel-fired V6. Torque output is a stump-pulling 455 ft-lbs. All-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission complete the powertrain. Fuel economy is rated at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 26 on the highway and 22 combined. Pricing starts at $63,925.
The Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC is the baby Benz of diesel-powered SUVs in the MBZ family of fine automobiles. As its nomenclature suggests (more or less) this model is powered by a 2.1-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder diesel engine producing 200 horsepower and an almost incredible 369 ft-lbs of torque.
That’s more than most gasoline-fired V8 engines can muster.
The diesel GLK is offered exclusively with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 33 on the highway, and 28 combined.
Ruggedly handsome, but with an air of playfulness, the GLK Mercedes has wormed its way into the hearts of many with its agile handling and comfortable ride, along with its solid build quality and relatively affordable price point at which the model is offered. Over the years, Mercedes has also gussied the GLK up a touch, so the current model is the most luxurious version of the vehicle the company has offered to date.
Its standard features list includes nineteen-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, foglamps, rear privacy glass, roof rails, cruise control, and a dual-zone automatic climate control system. It also incorporates a pair of eight-way power adjustable front seats with memory and four-way lumbar adjustment for the driver. The MB-Tex “premium” vinyl upholstery does the honors here for the base model, along with a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and an integrated cargo cover.
The basic tech setup includes Bluetooth telephony, the MBZ COMAND electronics interface monitored by way of a 5.8-inch video display, the mbrace2 emergency communications system telematics system, and a six-speaker audio package supporting a CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack. While this may sound somewhat spartan, bear in mind the options list at Mercedes-Benz is always there waiting to dress the GLK as regally as your finances can bear. For 2014, GLK250 BlueTEC pricing starts at $39,905.
The Mercedes-Benz M Class is in many ways the first Mercedes SUV most people think of. The truth of the matter is, while it was the first mainstream Mercedes SUV offered here, it was preceded by the G Class, which was then known as the Gelandewagen, a grey-market import unofficially offered here until 2001. Meanwhile, the M Class was officially offered in the U.S. in 1997, as a 1998 model.
Today’s M Class still enjoys a great deal of cachet, and the diesel powered version of the model boasts 455 ft-lbs of torque from a 240-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. Fuel economy is rated at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 28 on the highway and 23 combined. A seven-speed automatic transmission conducts power to all four wheels.
On the comfort and convenience side of the ledger, the M Class Mercedes offers, as standard equipment; nineteen-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, a sunroof, roof rails for additional cargo capacity, a power actuated rear liftgate, a set of foglamps, and a dual-zone automatic climate control system.
To up the luxury quotient, genuine wood is used for interior trim, while a manually operated tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel is mated to a pair of eight-way power-adjustable heated front seats and reclining rear seats. MB-Tex premium vinyl provides the upholstery for the base model.
The MBZ COMAND system is fitted, along with Mercedes' mbrace2 telematics and smartphone app integration system. Completing the tech package are Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming connectivity, along with an eight-speaker sound system supporting HD radio, a six-disc CD changer, USB/auxiliary input ports, and an SD card reader. Pricing starts at $52,715.
Eternally stretching the boundaries of what constitutes a “real” Porsche, for the 2013 model year, the wizards of Stuttgart introduced the first diesel powered Porsche automobile to North America—the 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel. (And yes, we are aware Porsche did a diesel tractor back in the 1950s.)
Developed by Volkswagen, the Cayenne Diesel’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine produces 240 horsepower and 406 ft-lbs of torque. Yes, we know 240 horsepower mated to a 4,800-pound vehicle is usually a recipe for slow—but don’t overlook those 400+ ft-lbs of torque. Torque is what sets the vehicle into motion and the vast majority of the Porsche Cayenne Diesel’s torque is available at 1,750 RPM.
Standard equipment for the $57,575 Cayenne Diesel model includes; a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights with LED taillights, front and rear foglamps, and rear privacy glass.
The Porsche also features a power liftgate with programmable opening height and a separately opening rear window, automatic windshield wipers with heated washer nozzles, and heated exterior rearview mirrors. Remote central locking and an antitheft system with passenger compartment monitoring, accompanies cruise control and a dual-zone automatic climate control system with charcoal filtering and pollen filtering. You’ll find five 12-volt power outlets, a set of eight-way power front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment and driver memory functions, and a leather trimmed tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
There is also leather upholstery, driver and passenger illuminated vanity mirrors, floor mats, a 40/20/40 split folding rear seat, which slides and reclines, and an extendable cargo cover hiding four chrome-plated cargo tie down eyelets. Naturally, there’s Bluetooth handsfree phone connectivity and audio streaming, as well as a ten-speaker sound system with a touchscreen display supporting a CD player, an auxiliary audio input jack, and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Developed by Volkswagen in conjunction with Porsche (the aforementioned Cayenne), the 2004 Volkswagen Touareg was VW’s first entry into the burgeoning sport utility vehicle segment. While the two were developed on the same basic platform, they have quite different outward personalities. The Volkswagen is more mainstream—yet quite upscale, while the Porsche works very diligently to live up to the performance potential associated with its name.
Interestingly however, while the Porsche had to live up to its brand name, the Touareg has served to expand the reputation of its brand name. Where Volkswagen was previously known for good affordable cars (yes, like the attributes of the VW Beetle and it’s successor, the VW Golf) the Touareg has managed to take the Volkswagen name into the realm of premium automobiles with strong results.
Comprehensively equipped, standard features include smart bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, Bluetooth for phones and audio, and eight-way power adjustable front seats.
Power for the diesel-powered Touareg TDI comes from a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, capable of generating 240 horsepower and 406 ft-lbs of torque (also shared with the Porsche Cayenne). All-wheel drive and an eight speed automatic transmission are standard equipment. Fuel economy is rated at 20 miles per gallon in the cty, 29 on the highway and 23 combined. Pricing starts at $52,520.