Diesel engines have been around for quite some time, and we mostly saw them in pickups. But as the demand for SUVs increased diesel engines slowly started becoming an optional feature.
Which automakers are offering diesel SUVs for 2020?
Chevy has two SUVs that offer the option to upgrade to a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-six engine. GMC is also offering the same diesel engine options, but these diesel SUVs are for the upcoming 2021 model. The Suburban comes in at a base price of approximately $53,000, while the Tahoe goes for $49,000 for the base. GMC’s Yukon/Yukon XL is also offered at $49,000 base.
The Land Rover has a few different SUV models that will offer diesel engines for upgraded packages. The Discovery has a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine as an alternative to the base gas-powered motor and can get you 28 mpg. The gas engine is only rated for 21 mpg.
The Range Rover gets 26 mpg and puts out 443 lbs-ft of torque, which helps it tow up to 7,700 lbs. The Range Rover Sport is also in on the diesel option game. It offers the same diesel engine as the other two, but it gets 254 hp and can get up to 28 mpg on the highway.
The diesel SUVs that surprised consumers
The Jeep Wrangler surprised a few people by finally stepping up to the plate and offering a diesel motor for the 2020 model year. The 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine has 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, which is enough power to tow up to 3,500 lbs.
However, to get this engine, you need to pay $4,000 along with the required $2,000 for an eight-speed transmission. But, it would be worth it for the estimated 28 highway mpg it’s rated for. That’s pretty good for a diesel SUV.
Finally, the Mazda CX-5 is another SUV that made more than a few people do a double-take. After talking about it for a few years, they finally delivered, which is surprising, since other automakers cut their diesel options from the lineup.
The Mazda CX-5 offers a SkyActiv-D, which is a 2.2-liter Inline-four diesel motor. There’s only one trim, however, that you can get the diesel with and that’s the signature model, which is the top tier offered.
Why diesels aren’t as popular in SUVs
GMC Terrain and the Chevy Equinox are crossover SUVs that once offered a diesel engine. However, that only lasted for one model year. According to Car and Driver, a GM representative reported there wasn’t enough interest. Only a small percentage went to the diesel-powered options. Even makers of the Land Rover SUVs, said, in a TruckTrend article, that only 5-10% of their sales were diesel engines.
There could be a few reasons for the lack of popularity. While diesels last longer and offer better fuel efficiency than gas-powered engines, they’re not as easy to fuel. You can get gasoline at every gas station you come across, but diesel can only be found at certain ones.
Maintenance costs are another possible reason. Diesel engines have more expensive parts and need more specialized repair techs to work on them.
It’s unlikely that diesels will go away anytime soon, but they’ll probably be reserved for a select few SUVs and pickups. So if a diesel engine is a must-have for your next SUV, your options might be limited.