Putting together a list of diesel cars means rounding up the usual suspects - in this case, German automakers who have embraced turbodiesel technology far more readily than their American counterparts. 2014 brings a new U.S. entry into the world of diesel cars, as well as an expanded line-up of European contenders, greatly expanding the number of automobiles available with this type of fuel efficient drivetrain. Diesel's not just for trucks, anymore - it's the trademark of many a luxury brand aiming to marry comfort, performance, and frugality under the same roof.
Let's take a look at 10 diesel cars available in 2014 in the United States.
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI combines excellent practicality with surprising fuel efficiency. The compact Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI (still based on the same platform as the previous-generation Golf hatchback) offers 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind its second row of seating: fold those accommodations forward and interior storage blossoms to 67 cubic feet. The SportWagen TDI makes its mark at the fuel pump, as well, with a rating of 30-mpg city and 42-mpg highway associated with its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. This unit produces 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, and can be managed via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed, dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel is a brand-new offering from General Motors, and the compact sedan represents the first diesel-powered passenger car available from the domestic automaker in almost 30 years. The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine generates 151 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting duties for the model. In addition to a reasonably spry chassis, the Cruze Diesel also provides fuel efficiency figures of 27-mpg in stop and go driving and 46-mpg on the highway. This is competitive in its class, although not far off from what the turbocharged gas-powered edition of the car can achieve.
The 2014 BMW 328d introduces a four-cylinder, turbodiesel drivetrain to North American 3 Series sedan shoppers for the very first time. The BMW 328d's 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine offers 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, and while the car's performance isn’t exactly sporty, it does deliver good acceleration paired with fuel mileage of 32-mpg around town and 45-mpg on the highway. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with the BMW, but those who live in northern climates will be happy to hear that the diesel four-door can be ordered with the option of all-wheel drive.
The 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI provides hatchback convenience on top of inexpensive monthly fuel bills. The easy-to-park Volkswagen Golf TDI can transport as many as five passengers, and it also provides up to 46 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear row of seating out of the picture. Under the hood, the Golf TDI's 2.0-liter, turbodiesel four-cylinder engine pushes out 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, but more importantly it also delivers 30-mpg around town and 42-mpg on the highway. Transmission choices for the Volkswagen include a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC sedan is a mid-size luxury model that has stepped back from the brand's six-cylinder turbodiesel of old in order to introduce a more efficient four-cylinder unit. The Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC features a 2.1-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that is good for 195 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, and its seven-speed automatic transmission feeds that output to either the rear wheels or all four wheels if the brand's optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive is installed. Fuel economy for the E250 BlueTEC is listed at 28-mpg in stop and go driving and 45-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2014 Audi A7 TDI trades on more than just its universally-celebrated styling. The sleek Audi A7 TDI hatchback presents luxury shoppers with the chance to save substantial cash at the fuel pump via its efficiency rating of 24-mpg around town and 38-mpg on the highway. This is accomplished via its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, a motor that produces 420 horsepower and an exceptional 428 lb-ft of torque. Like all versions of the A7, the TDI comes standard with quattro all-wheel drive - making its frugality that much more impressive - and an eight-speed automatic is also included free of charge.
The 2014 BMW 740 Ld xDrive is an upcoming turbodiesel edition of the German luxury automaker's flagship full-size sedan. The BMW 740 Ld xDrive is scheduled to go on sale in the spring of 2014, and it represents the first diesel edition of the 7 Series (long wheelbase or not) to be made available in the United States. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder sits between the BMW's front fenders, and it grinds out a healthy 255 horsepower and 423 lb-ft of torque. As the xDrive in its name suggests, the diesel 7 Series features all-wheel drive, and it will also come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy figures have yet to be released, but BMW expects roughly 30-mpg in combined driving, which would be an improvement of 30 percent over the most-efficient gas-powered version of the 7 Series.
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI is a very roomy mid-size family sedan that also happens to be one of the few non-premium models out there to offer the option of a turbodiesel engine. Like all Volkswagen passenger cars sold in America, the Passat TDI makes use of a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel motor rated to produce 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission can be specified with the Passat TDI - an unusual option in its class - while a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual is also available. The Volkswagen's fuel mileage checks in at 31-mpg city and 43-mpg on the highway.
The 2014 Audi A8 L is the long-wheelbase version of the brand's top-tier full-size sedan. The Audi A8 L is available with a wide range of engine options, including a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 that produces 240 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque (similar to the unit found in the A7). Found exclusively with the long-wheelbase version of the car, this motor is matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission as well as quattro all-wheel drive. Gobs of torque allow the diesel A8 to hit 60-mph in 6.3 seconds, and fuel economy figures for the sedan are reported as 24-mpg around town and 36-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2014 BMW 535d keeps the six-cylinder turbodiesel faith alive in the mid-size luxury segment. Not yet downsized, the BMW 535d's 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder engine produces 255 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, numbers that are identical to those associated with the diesel 7 Series. No six-speed manual is offered with this particular motor, although a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission is standard (with all-wheel drive putting in an appearance on the options sheet). Fuel mileage for the 535d comes in at 26-mpg city and 38-mpg on the highway, which puts the car in good stead amongst similarly-powerful rivals.