Check Out These Fun Diesel Cars – High MPG / High MPH

Fun Diesel Cars – High MPG / High MPH

Did you know that the EPA has calculated that if only one-third of the vehicles on American roads ran on clean diesel, the U.S. would use 1.5 million fewer barrels of oil each day. Remember, that’s barrels, not gallons! Would we be subjected to lifetime of merging difficulties and other symptoms of dull, boring, and slow vehicles if we were driving to swap our gas powered cars, trucks, and SUVs for force-fed oil burners? Hardly!


Modern clean diesel power plants are not only fuel efficient, but they’re pretty darn fun too. That is because they have prodigious torque, delivered low in the power band, at least compared to a similar sized gas engine.
Here are some of the fun, new clean diesel powered vehicles you can buy right off your local dealer’s lot this very day.


The 2010 A3 TDi - A heck of a lot of fun and it sips fuel, too.

The 2010 A3 TDi – A heck of a lot of fun and it sips fuel, too.

2010 Audi A3 TDi

This new Audi is one really cool ride. It uses the same 2 liter turbo direct injection (Wait, aren’t most diesel engines direct injection?) diesel you can find under the hood of the new VW Jetta and Golf TDis. The compression ignition engine is coupled to Audi’s 6 speed automatic tranny, their acclaimed, dual-clutch DSG box. The 2010 A3 should be in showrooms about the time you’re done cleaning up your kid’s Halloween candy. One sad note to report; the A3 TDi is not yet available with Audi’s signature Quattro all wheel drive system.


Base MSRP $31,950 – Figure another $1,400 for the sport package, containing sport seats, 18″ five-tri-spoke wheels with 225/40 summer performance tires, and sport suspension, because really, why would you order this car any other way?
HP: 140 – Torque: 236 – Drive Wheels: front
EPA – 30mpg city, 42 mpg highway, 34 combined
0-60mph time = 9.0 seconds – That’s stock. The good news is that it is very easy to make these TDi powered cars much quicker, and sacrifice very little in terms of fuel economy. (Unless, of course, you just can’t seem to keep your foot out of it.)


The 2010 VW Jetta is easy on the wallet when you buy it and also when you feed it. (Just hope you don't have to take it to the doctor!)

The 2010 VW Jetta is easy on the wallet when you buy it and also when you feed it. (Just hope you don’t have to take it to the doctor!)

2010 VW Jetta TDi

Kind of like a larger A3 for people with a smaller auto budget. Same power train, except you can have your Jetta with a 6sp manual trans, or the DSG automatic box.
HP: 140 – Torque: 236 – Drive Wheels: front
Base MSRP $22,660 – add $1,000 for the DSG automatic transmission…..or don’t. There have been several recalls for the DSG. In addition, it costs about $500USD for a fluid change every 40,000 miles. Ouch! Although it is one of the best functioning transmissions on the road from any manufacturer, it just may not be worth it. Might want to stick with the slick, 6sp manual tranny. Take the extra grand and spend it an intake and ecu upgrade. You’ll have cash left over and an even funner ride to boot.
EPA – 30mpg city, 41 mpg highway, 34 combined
0-60mph time = 8.2 seconds – Again, that’s stock. A simple intake, exhaust, new injectors, and an ECU mod = way more hp and torque, but still spectacular fuel mileage. Owners of modified TDi powered cars regularly display dyno sheets with torque figures near 300 lb-ft.


Light up the tires, but still get 35+ mpg......Awesome. Welcome to the 21st century!

Light up the tires, but still get 35+ mpg……Awesome. Welcome to the 21st century!

2010 BMW 335d

Now we’re talkin’ fun’fuel mileage! This thing is really quick, courtesy of the 425 lb-ft of torque generated by the turbo diesel lurking under the standard 3 series skin. Not only can it scorch the 0-60 clock at 5.6 seconds, but it also returns 36 mpg on the highway. It’s a BMW 3 series, the same vehicle the car press fawns over every chance they get, so its driving dynamics are guaranteed to be superb. Add that to the BMW cachet, and you’ve got one heck of a great car. Keep your foot out of it though, or your rear tires will be going up in so much expensive smoke. The 335d is only offered with a 6-speed automatic trans, there’s no manual to be had here.

In Europe BMW offers other diesel power plants, such as 2.0 4 cylinder with 204 horsepower and 295 lb-ft  of torque. Fitted to the smaller BMW 1 series coupe, the engine returns 45mpg on the freeway, while still giving a 7.0 0-60 time. The extra 200lbs in the 3 series would doubtlessly slow that figure somewhat, but it would still be around 7.3 seconds, not half bad for a 3 series that would be on the far side of 40mpg.
HP: 265 – Torque: 425 – Drive Wheels: rear
Base MSRP $43,900 (2 Jettas) Be careful, like many premium German vehicles, you can quickly get a bad case of optionits (for many items you’d think would be standard on such expensive vehicles) and tack on another $5,000 – $10,000 before you realize what happened.
EPA – 23mpg city, 36 mpg highway, 27 combined
0-60mph time = 5.6 seconds

So, you can get a diesel powered vehicle that is a blast to drive, yet will let you go sailing by gas stations with impunity. If BMW would bring the 120d over here, we’d really have some frugal fun, to the tune of 50+ mpg. Australian road tests of the 5 door hatchback version of the 120d averaged over 57mpg, which is doubly impressive, in light of how hard auto journalists tend to drive their test vehicles. Driven like you stole it, the Australian 120d also rips off 7.4 second 0-60 times. 57 + 7.4, now that’s good math.
If BMW and other automakers would bring cars like the 120d to the U.S., we’d have some nice, fun to drive cars that would keep us from spending all our money on fuel.,/p>

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