While they’re just starting to catch on en masse in the U.S., diesel-powered vehicles have long been in service around the world. Diesel cars offer a more miserly approach to fuel consumption but not to the detriment of performance, which consumer-grade hybrids tend to suffer from.
A new round of emissions standards punched a dent in diesel sales, but since then, their numbers have seen steady increases, and more manufacturers are developing cars and trucks that are readily compliant with America’s newer diesel standards. Even American companies are jumping on the bandwagon.
Here are six new diesel models slated for 2014, hand-picked by GreenCarReports, each offering some not-insignificant fuel consumption advantages over traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.
1. Audi A6
Audi has a whole slew of new diesel models bound for the U.S. next year, and the A6 is one of them. The midsize sedan achieves a combined 29 miles per gallon from a 3-liter V6 turbo diesel that puts out 240 horsepower and an impressive 406 pounds-feet of torque. Diesel variants of the A7, A8, and Q5 will be joining the A6 as well as the incumbent Q7.
2. BMW 328d
In BMW’s revival of the 328d, the new car will use a 2-liter, four-cylinder power plant, good for 180 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque. The new 328d is aimed at improved fuel efficiency, with 37 miles per gallon combined, whereas the previous generation was more power and performance oriented.
3. Chevrolet Cruze
As one of the more affordable options shown here, General Motors (NYSE:GM) has slid a diesel unit with 151 horsepower into its compact car, which is good for 33 miles per gallon combined — 27 in the city and 46 on the highway. The 2014 Cruze is Chevy’s first diesel passenger car in 28 years.
4. Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
Like the Chevy, the new Grand Cherokee with the EcoDiesel option is Jeep’s first foray into the oil-burning market in several years. The 3-liter V6 turbo diesel unit produces 240 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque, and is offered courtesy of Jeep’s parent, Fiat (FIATY.PK). It’s good for 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway when equipped with four-wheel drive.
5. Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The Ram represents the only diesel-powered light-duty pickup in the market, as its competition only uses the diesel units in its heavy-duty trucks. The Ram uses the same 3-liter V6 that’s fitted to the Jeep, presumably with similar consumption figures. Ram says owners can make back the higher purchase cost — $2,850 over the standard ICE model — in fuel savings within three years, depending on how many miles the truck covers and the local price of diesel fuel.
6. Volkswagen Golf TDI
The Golf TDI has long represented one of America’s top-selling diesel models, and Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) is throwing a redesigned version at the market next year as a 2015 model, though no 2014 model will be introduced. Currently, the car manages around 30 miles per gallon in the city and 42 on the highway, but it wouldn’t be outlandish to expect higher figures upon the car’s release.