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What Would It Take for YOU to buy a diesel car?

MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,626
edited March 9 in General
We're talking passenger cars and SUVs here, not pickups.

What criteria would be necessary for you to seriously consider buying a diesel car?

You might consider one or ALL of the list below:

price of the car
price of fuel
practicality (seating capacity, # of doors, etc)
performance (0-60, noise, ride, handling)

Or if NOTHING would convince you, please tell us why you came to that conclusion.


  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Most of the cars I would be interested in aren't offered in diesel.
  • Well okay then -- could you suggest to the manufacturer of the car you like, what type of diesel car from their factory you WOULD buy?
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    Diesels will have to get a lot better fuel mileage to get me to buy a diesel car. That didn't used to be the case but if I am now paying almost 20 percent more for diesel and I am only getting 12 to 15 percent better fuel mileage I would be going backwards by getting a diesel.

    When gas powered full sized SUVs got 12 MPG and Diesel SUVs got 19 or 20 that was different. But now a full sized Denali can get 17 and it would take just over 21 MPG for a Diesel Denali to break even. If I have to consider a compact car nothing much less than 60 MPG would offset the price difference or the fuel cost difference.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I would like to suggest to Toyota a diesel Sequoia or Land Cruiser. Not a fire breathing V8. Just a nice mild 6 cylinder CRD. I want one I can order without any of their substandard NAV Stereo systems. I want leather and all the niceties, and will put in my own NAV, CD, XM system.

    I doubt they get around to it before I end up with a new X5 diesel from BMW.

    I am confident the X5 will get 30 MPG on the highway. Not real concerned around town.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,885
    There are many cars I would like to see in diesel, that exist elsewhere in diesel, that we are not blessed with on these hallowed shores. I think something like a new style Honda Fit/Jazz diesel would be pretty cool, moreso if it could exist with AWD. I like diesel engines, but what we have at the moment in the NA market is pretty bland.

    I also wish MB diesel could be equipped with sport/AMG trim. They are only offered in boring base trim now. I don't understand this.
  • So what MPG on a full-size diesel SUV would tempt you?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    Diesel currently costs $.70 cents a gallon more than RUG in my area. I won't even buy a car that requires premium, so the fuel cost differential is a deal killer (unless you know of one that gets 100 mpg?).

    My wife also has mild asthma so exposure to diesel exhaust isn't a happy thought either - everything I've read indicates that while diesel can emit less CO and CO2 than gas, they can generate 100 times more particulates than gas engines. And those particles aren't healthy. I'm holding my breath on the new emissions standards.

    Then there's that whole business about the smell when you pump it, spill it on your hands or shoes, etc.
  • sounds like you're OUT, no matter what the automakers do?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    You're not supposed to spill it on your shoes. I think diesel smells much better than raw gas. At least in CA they seal the gas spouts so you don't get nauseated by gasoline fumes. According to BMW their new diesel engine is as clean as the cleanest gas cars in CA. That would give it a PZEV rating. No ratings yet on the EPA website for the 50 state legal diesels. Don't let your wife hang around the bus stop, those are pumping out lousy air.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    For a car - probably so. Unless the bang for buck is way higher than it seems to be now. I already keep my cars so long they tend to completely wear out around the engines before I hit 150,000 miles anyway, so the perceived extra longevity of a diesel engine doesn't hold much appeal.

    I could perhaps see myself cruising around in a diesel Sprinter conversion van on a road trip.

    My neighbor has a diesel pickup and a diesel VW pickup. Both older rigs admittedly, but I can hear him rattling to and from home with my windows closed, and his driveway is over 200 feet away. Half the time I don't hear people cruising up my long gravel driveway.

    Even leaving aside my old biases, the price differential on fuel costs is probably the biggest deterrent. And those of us who buy fuel efficiency by miles per gallon instead of gallons per mile won't get the price/mileage connection even if the 100 mpg diesels make it to market. We'll just see that big price difference at the pump.
  • Actually, current engine science seems to indicate that about 75 MPG is the conceivable limit for a 5 passenger vehicle. At least no one has ever proven otherwise so far.

    So I think we should come up with scenarios that are actually possible.

    Of course, everyone's goals are different. Some people don't need or expect 75 mpg. They are shopping based on comparisons to what they drive now.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    What criteria would be necessary for you to seriously consider buying a diesel car?

    Offering one for sale. My dad had an '85 Isuzu diesel pickup that I drove around some back in the '90s. That thing got close to 40 mpg even with a 4-speed manual, and all the whining about having no power, smelly fuel, etc. is a bunch of guff IMO. So, bring in a diesel subcompact hatchback and I'll be first in line.
  • So you're saying like a Yaris hatchback diesel getting 40 mpg and you'll write the check?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Yep. The only reason I got the gas smart is because there was no US diesel smart.
  • jkinzeljkinzel Posts: 735
    Most of the cars I would be interested in aren't offered in diesel.

    And that is the biggest problem, no one will offer them. :mad:

    How nice would my new Taurus be with a 2.5L diesel getting 40mpg or more. :shades: If it gets close to 28mpg with the 3.5L gas then 40 or more would not be out of line.
  • novanova Posts: 135
    Diesel would have to be the same price as regular gas or less the way it was for years.

    Paid today for regular $3.77 South east FL.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    all the whining

    Oh yeah, the diesels of your Isuzu vintage wouldn't start in the cold either.

    Diesel has a long litany of issues stuck in the minds of many people that they'll have to overcome to enjoy market penetration like they have in the EU.

    Good mechanics are hard enough to find for gas rigs too; now I have to hope the dealership pays to keep at least one person trained on the diesel rigs?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Oh yeah, the diesels of your Isuzu vintage wouldn't start in the cold either.

    Block heater, for the colder climes.

    I do remember starting it with snow on the ground (about 30F or so), just had to wait a minute or so for the glow plugs to do their thing.

    Also, I think some of the mileage expectations in this thread are unrealistic. 40 mpg is 42% higher than 28 mpg. Hybrids don't even come close to that kind of increase.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    My buddy in Anchorage regretted buying his (Chevy iirc) diesel pickup. It wouldn't crank when the temps dipped below 20°F. I wouldn't even plug my gassers in until it was zero to 10 below usually. That was probably an early to mid-90's model he had trouble with.

    I've scanned a lot of diesel talk around here, especially over in the Jeep Liberty CRD discussion. I don't remember cloud talk, but there's lots of additive talk about cetane boosters and the like. Trying to pin down the diesel cloud point is hard but 6°F seems common.

    Fuel Gelling Challenges

    I'll invite the CRD crowd over here. Better to hear it from actual owners than from the likes of me. :shades:
  • Use this handy widget to compare costs between Diesel and Gas versions. My real world mileage with my Diesel Jeep Liberty still compares favorably with the real world mileage of a gasser (I have a coworker with a 3.7L gas). Even comparing EPA estimates, I come out slightly ahead. Downsides are that my oil changes with synthetic oil, even at extended intervals, are an eye watering $80. The only thing worth noting is that resale on the diesel is much better compared with an identically equipped gas version. I think it's a matter of personal taste and believe eventually we will see diesel moderate. Then the economic argument will be clearer.

    Here's the widget URL...
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