The 2015 SUV lineup features nine models with a diesel engine offering, including one American brand. Diesels are known for their fuel efficiency, with about 20% superior fuel economy than gas models. They also produce substantial torque and their low-end power makes towing with many diesel SUV models a breeze.
Here’s our overview of the diesel SUV models for 2015.
Audi Q5 TDI
The Q5 is offered with a 3.0-liter 240 horsepower V6 turbodiesel engine, which produces a prodigious 428 pound-feet of torque. The Q5 TDI, which has a fuel economy rating of 24-mpg city and 31-mpg highway with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Q5 TDI has a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price of nearly $53,000.
BMW X3 xDrive28d
The X3, which is refreshed for the 2015 model year, is offered for the first time with a diesel engine in the U.S. The X3 offers a 2.0-liter 181 horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, which produces 280 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 27-mpg city and 34-mpgh highway with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
The X3 placed second on our list of the most fuel-efficient luxury SUVs. With the diesel engine, the X3 has an (MSRP) of $46,050.
BMW X5 xDrive 35d
If you want a larger BMW SUV, the X5 is offered with a more powerful 3.0-liter 255 horsepower six-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which produces 413 pound-feet of torque. The X5 diesel’s fuel economy rating is 23-mpg city and 31-mpg highway. The X5 XDrive 35d comes with a hefty MSRP of $62,450. The X6, the fastback version of the X5, is not offered with a diesel engine.
Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
The Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel is the lone diesel SUV offering from an American brand. It is offered with a 3.0-liter 240 horsepower V6 turbodiesel, which produces 420 pound-feet of torque.
The diesel engine is offered in Limited, Summit, and Overland trim lines. The Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel has a starting MSRP of just over $40,000 making it the most affordable new diesel SUV but giving it a $5,000 price premium over gas models.
The Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel is offered in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. With AWD, the model is rated at 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway The diesel engine is sourced from VM Motori and built in Ferrara, Italy. Jeep’s parent company, Fiat, owns a 50% stake in VM Motori, which helps keep costs down.
Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTec
Mercedes-Benz’s GL-Class is a three-row luxury crossover. The GL comes standard with a 3.0-liter 240 horsepower turbodiesel engine that produces 455 pound-feet of torque. With the diesel engine, the GL-Class’ fuel economy is rated at 19-mpg city and 26-mpg highway, which is sub-par for s diesel SUVs but still excellent for a three-row crossover. The Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTec has a base price of $64,000.
Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic
The GLK is Mercedes-Benz’ compact luxury SUV model that offers a diesel engine. With the diesel it’s known as the GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic and it comes standard with all-wheel drive. It’s powered by a 2.1-liter 200 horsepower four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine that produces 369 pound-feet of torque.
The GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic’s fuel economy is rated at 24-mpg city and 33-mpg highway with 28-mpg combined. The 2015 model has an MSRP of $43,355.
Mercedes-Benz ML250 BlueTec
The Mercedes-Benz M-Class offers a ML250 BlueTec line and it uses the same diesel engine seen in the GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic. The larger ML250 BlueTec has a fuel economy rating of 21-mpg city and 29-mpg highway and an MSRP of $56,950.
The Cayenne, the model that popularized the high-performance SUV segment, has undergone a major refresh for the 2015 model year. It comes standard with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The model comes standard with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission has a base price of $62,695.
The Cayenne’s fuel economy is rated at 20-mpg city and 29-mpg highway. The smaller Porsche Macan SUV debuts for the 2015 model year but opts for power over efficiency with a 3.0-liter 340 horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine. In comparison, the Macan’s fuel economy is rated at 17-mpg city and 23-mpg highway.
Volkswagen Touareg TDI
The Touareg receives a major refresh for the 2015 model year but the powertrains carryover. The TDI model is offered with an available 3.0-liter 240 horsepower turbo diesel engine which produces 406 pound-feet of torque, the same engine seen in the Porsche Cayenne. Volkswagen owns Porsche. The Touareg TDI’s fuel economy is rated at 20-mpg city and 29-mpg highway.
The State of Diesel SUV Models
While turbodiesel engines with their greater fuel efficiency and torque are popular in foreign markets and are common in heavy-duty American trucks, they have not gained a substantial foothold in the U.S. SUV marketplace.
One barrier to diesel SUV models is price. All of the above models having an MSRP above $40,000 and another is from hybrid SUV models, as they are more common in the U.S. Fuel-efficient turbocharged gas engines are also becoming more prevalent.
No Asian automakers offer SUV models with a diesel engine offer but that may change as Mazda offers a 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine in their CX-5 in foreign markets. It will be interesting to see how the diesel SUV marketplace shakes out in the coming years as new gas turbos, hybrids, and all-electric models debut.