The North American automotive market has never really bonded with the diesel engine. The strained relationship is especially evident when it comes to passenger vehicles. The fuel’s long-held negative connotations have never really shifted, with many still viewing it as a dirty and polluting option. Combined with high prices at the pump, it is easy to see why gas has remained king. Arguably, the final nail in the coffin was Volkswagen’s 2015 “diesel gate” scandal, with consumer interest now at an all-time low.
In stark contrast, the diesel engine has traditionally been far more popular in the European market. In many markets, sales have been split 50/50 between the two fossil fuels. While it is true to say “diesel gate” has also dented demand in Europe, it remains a popular choice. Today, there are a number of truly excellent diesel cars on sale. Here are 10 new European cars that show diesel is still a fuel source worth considering.
10/10 Volkswagen Golf GTD
The Volkswagen Golf GTD is a sibling of the renowned GTI hot hatch. The difference between the two cars is their choice of fuel. Under the hood of the GTD, Volkswagen has fitted a 2.0-liter engine, which puts out a decent 200 hp.
The sprint from 0-60 mph is completed in just over 7 seconds, justifying the car’s status as a hot hatch. The car comes with striking GTD exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels, and a gray tartan interior cloth.
9/10 BMW M440D
The BMW M440D successfully combines a sleek coupe-style body with a powerful yet efficient powertrain. Under the hood, lies a capable 3.0-liter inline six, which outputs 345 hp.
The power generated, is enough to propel the M440D from 0-60 mph in a truly rapid 4.6 seconds. The car tops out at an electronically limited 155 mph. Perhaps most impressively, despite the enviable performance credentials, the car still returns up to 41 MPG.
8/10 Audi Q7 50 TDI
Audi’s flagship Q7 SUV can be selected with the excellent “50 TDI” engine. The 3.0-liter V6 generates 290 hp, which is enough to propel the vast Q7 from 0-60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. The car will eventually top out at 150 mph, making it more than fast enough for most buyers.
As you might expect from Audi, the interior is seriously well-appointed. Features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless smartphone charging help keep the driver and their passengers connected.
7/10 Volvo XC90 B5
The Volvo XC90 is a spacious and luxurious Swedish SUV that requires no introduction. Despite sporting a design stretching back to 2015, the car remains fresh looking. This is true of both the exterior, which was facelifted in 2019, and the comfortable interior.
Opt for the “B5” diesel engine, and you are treated to a great all-rounder. While it is not the most powerful option in the line-up, generating 235 hp, the car can still go from 0-60 mph in a respectable 7.6 seconds.
6/10 Mercedes C 220D
In many ways, the latest generation of Mercedes C-Class is the closest thing to a shrunken S-Class there has ever been. The car is packed full of the latest technology, with an updated Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system controlling all the comfort, climate, and entertainment systems.
The car’s 2.0-liter diesel engine produces just under 200 hp, and with 324 lb-ft of torque on offer, feels pretty rapid. In order to improve the car’s agility, an all-wheel steering system is available.
5/10 Skoda Octavia VRS TDI
The Octavia VRS will likely be unfamiliar to buyers in North America. Produced by Czech brand Skoda, the VRS is a high-performance model and shares underpinnings with the Volkswagen Golf.
The car is available in either a hatchback/sedan or wagon form, providing great versatility within the range. While a gas engine is also available, the 2.0-liter diesel engine generates 200 hp, enabling the VRS to blast from 0-60 mph in just 6.8 seconds. Another benefit of the diesel option is that it is the only fuel choice a four-wheel drive system can be specified with.
4/10 BMW 530D
If you are in the market for a premium feel, practical wagon, the BMW 5 Series touring could be just the ticket. The car has a vast cargo bay, allowing you to take all the gear you need with you.
Under the hood, the car is kitted out with a versatile 3.0-liter straight six. The 286-hp power output from the engine facilitates a 0-60 mph time of just 5.6 seconds.
3/10 Mercedes E300 de
The Mercedes-Benz E300 de is a fairly unique proposition within the automotive world. The car is powered by a diesel engined, plug-in hybrid powertrain. The battery element is rated at 13.5 kWh, giving the car an electric-only range of 34 miles.
In full hybrid mode, the battery and a 2.0-liter diesel engine generate an impressive 306 hp combined. The interior is technologically advanced, with the infotainment offering centered around two 10.25-inch screens. As an option, larger 12.3-inch screens are also available.
2/10 BMW X7 xDrive 40d
The BMW X7 is the largest SUV the brand has ever produced. The car intends to satisfy those buyers who desire a flagship 7 Series but want the SUV body form. The car will comfortably seat up to 7 passengers, making it a great choice for larger families.
The xDrive 40d comprises a twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight six. Thanks to an impressive 352-hp power output, it takes just 6 seconds for this huge car to go from 0-60 mph.
1/10 Range Rover D350
Diesel is not the most obvious fuel choice when it comes to specifying a luxury SUV in the US. Despite this, the Diesel Range Rover remains a very popular option in Europe, and it is easy to see why. The “D350” successfully combines power with efficiency. The turbocharged 3.0-liter straight six generates 350 hp while also managing to return an impressive 30 mpg.
The car consequently gets a great 530-mile range, making it very practical for long highway trips. The D350 Range Rover can go on to reach a 145-mph top speed, with 0-60 mph taking just six seconds.
Sources: BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Land Rover, Skoda, Volvo, Volkswagen.