When will we have Euro Diesels?

Posted By on April 28, 2006

BIODZL Rich's JettaAmericans really need to open their eyes to what the rest of the world already knows … new diesels are clean, quiet, powerful and fuel efficient. Hopefully its the ‘fuel efficient’ part that resonates as fuel prices top $3.00/gallon. As for the clean part, the the new Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and biodiesel being implemented this year will help solve that concern. Currently American diesel fuel (D2) containing 30 times more polluting sulfur than European fuels but that is about to change come October of this year. Matt Vella in the auto section of Businessweek does an outstanding job of writing a pro-diesel article and showcases several advanced diesels being sold in Europe. Hopefully more Americans will be open to learning what Europeans already know … diesel vehicles can be clean, powerful and efficient AND that gasoline/hybrids are not the only game in town.

I’ll start with my favorite vehicle since its a ‘relative’ to my Volkswagen TDI … the Audi A6. Its pricey but a well engineered automobile with a bunch of the creature comforts missing from my little car.

Audi A6
Audi A6 – Price: $44,492 – $58,730
Diesel Fuel Economy: 47 (US MPG)/56.5 (UK MPG)

And just because Ford and GM aren’t building diesel cars in the US, doesn’t mean that they don’t know what they are doing. Take a look at the Ford Mondeo and GM’s Opel divisions Vectra. Nice!

Ford Mondeo
Ford Mondeo – Price: $27,000 – $43,500
Diesel Fuel Economy: 51.1 (US MPG)/61.4 (UK MPG)

Opel Vectra
Opel Vectra – Price: $29,295 – $43,033
Diesel Fuel Economy: 50 (US MPG)/60.1 (UK MPG)

The French automobile designers aren’t sitting still either; Peugeot has a sexy looking diesel that would surely turn a few heads here in North America.

Peugeot 407
Peugeot 407 – Price: $26,695 – $39,464
Diesel Fuel Economy: 35.8 (US MPG)/43 (UK MPG)

Now the Citroen is a bit pricey for my taste, but offers luxury and performance that still gets and estimated 41MPG! Show me a hybrid of this size that can take on the Autobahn and can keep pace with even the biggest German BMW and Mercedes Benz diesels.

Citroen C6
Citroen C6 – Price: $52,500 – $67,628 [Est.]
Diesel Fuel Economy: 41 (US MPG)/49 (UK MPG)

And not to be left out, the Japanese who lead in quality have a midsized Toyota Avensis that could give Camry drivers the kind of economy ‘only’ possible with diesel power.

Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis – Price: $24,906 – $39,464
Diesel Fuel Economy: 39.2 (US MPG)/47.1 (UK MPG)

Let’s get some of these on the boat … “they’re not your father’s 1980 diesel Oldsmobile.”

EDIT: I sent a letter to the editor of Businessweek that published these MPG numbers in hopes of clarification. I hope that in time North American drivers will recognize that high tech diesels make even more sense in North America than in Europe. Hybrids vehicles perform well in urban settings and on short commutes, BUT are superior for longer distance and out on the open road. It doesn’t take a rocket sciencist to recognize than North America is connected by interstate highways and that we drive far more highway miles a year than they do in Europe. That’s a significant point … evaluate the kind of driving you do and recognize where gasoline powered cars and hybrids fall short. On the highway diesels are fuel sippers … especialy when running clean, renewable, domestically grown and produced BIODIESEL.

4/29/2006 – Corrections made to the above post (Thanks Eric)

Thanks very much for your sharp eyes and kind words. You are indeed right—the author used Imperial gallons. We have now changed the story to reflect both US and UK measurements.
It’s great to have readers like you!

Charles S. Dubow, Director – Businessweek.com
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020


  • First, those MPG numbers… are those imperial? They look too high to be US. 😉

    Second… here’s what each model that you mentioned is in the US…

    Audi A6 = Audi A6
    Ford Mondeo = Ford Contour, but that’s the Mk2 Mondeo, which wasn’t released in the US.
    Opel Vectra = Saturn Aura (not out yet)/Chevy Malibu/Pontiac G6
    Peugeot 407 not available
    Citroen C6 not available
    Toyota Avensis = Scion tC, believe it or not. (Well, OK, there’s no Avensis coupe, but the only thing on the Avensis platform in the US is the tC.)

  • Ah, rereading the Wikipedia article, the Mk3 Mondeo is current.

    Anyway, the Mk4 Mondeo will be on the “EUCD” platform (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_EUCD_platform), which will be shared with the upcoming Volvo S60 and S80.

    (But, interestingly, the Mazda6 and the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan/Lincoln MKZ triplets will remain on the Mazda platform…)

  • MPGs posted on my blog seem high: That’s what I thought too, but considering that the numbers came from Businessweek, I assumed they were translated correctly although the writer is out of the Paris bureau. I think I’ll do some digging and edit as necessary but did write to the editor in hopes to get clarification. If you calculate anything let me know as the numbers I looked up from the UK are all over the board. (FYI: A quick mental calculation ‘IF’ these are Imperial gallon numbers is to subtract 2 mpg for every 10 to get US mpg. ie. 60mpg imperial = 50mpg US)

    Thanks for commenting,

  • This is why I always look for L/100km fuel economy ratings. There’s only one liter size, and only one kilometer size. No messing about with imperial gallons. 😉

    I can’t find fuel economy numbers on Audi’s UK site, and don’t feel like wading through German or the Babelfish version of Gerlish. 😛

    For the Mondeo TDCi, the 2.0L 90hp version gets 4.6L/100km (51.1 US MPG, or 61.4 imperial MPG, as I suspected) extra-urban (highway) or 7.7 L/100km (30.5 US MPG, or 36.7 imperial MPG) urban (city).

    For the Opel Vectra CTDi (well, I’m using the Vauxhall Vectra, the UK market version of the same car), the 1.9L 120hp version gets 4.7 L/100km (50 US MPG, or 60.1 imperial MPG) extra-urban or 7.4 L/100km (31.7 US MPG or 38.2 imperial MPG) urban.

    Peugeot’s UK website was not yielding fuel economy numbers.

    Ditto for Citroen’s.

    For the Toyota Avensis D-4D, they didn’t list different urban and extra-urban numbers. Rather, they listed a combined number of 5.8 L/100km, which comes out to 40.6 US MPG or 48.7 imperial MPG.

    On TDIClub, for a week, I was stating MPGs in nautical miles per US gallon due to the craziness. (I did mention that it was nMPuG, though…) So, a car getting 50 MPuG would get 43.4 nMPuG. 😀

  • Thanks for doing the leg work Eric — not that the correction negates the wisdom of accepting diesel vehicles here in the states. High tech diesels will yield excellent efficiency, good performance, clean emissions with the right fuel and longevity. (take a look at how many old diesel cars are still running … chances are that if you see a Mercedes older than 20 years that it will be a diesel) Thanks again Eric.

    BTW: Posted the corrected mileage and note from Businessweek above.

  • No, it absolutely doesn’t. 😉

    There’s a reason why the TDIClub site says “Economy – Longevity – Performance”. 😀

    And, there’s so many other things – especially flexibility in fueling. While modern diesels aren’t too tolerant of veggie oil, used motor oil, or tranny fluid, they can still be biofueled without conversion. Try that with a gasoline-powered car. 😉

    (Of course, that brings up a point… why no flex-fuel hybrids? It seems that the environmentalists would be all over that…)

  • Norman

    To all Ford Mondeo Estate (Yr Model: 2002) out there? I have only clocked 117,000km on the car. And all parts seems to fail. Now I have a major problem with my auto transmission. Apparently I need to fork out GBP2,400+ to repair! And my car is religiously serviced by Ford Agent for crying out loud. To all potential Ford Mondeo owners: Do seriously consider if you are contemplating to buy this car!

  • Thanks for the update Norman … sorry to hear of your woes. At least you have choices. 🙂

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.