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The diesel market has always been booming in Europe, but now it’s finally catching on in the U.S.
10. Full of torque
When it comes to alternative fuel vehicles, hybrid and electric cars are all the rage these days. However, diesel still has its selling points and a diesel-powered car may be the right ride for you.
Some may say that horsepower is what matters, but anyone with a basic understanding of an internal combustion engine can tell you that it’s simply a byproduct of torque. Besides, torque plays an important part in the sensation of speed.
The feeling of a turbo-diesel pushing you back in your seat is hard to beat, and something that few hybrids (if any) can imitate. In the case of Volkswagen’s diesel Jetta and Golf, with 236 lb-ft of twist, there’s more torque available than in even the performance models: the GLI and GTI, which have just 207 lb-ft.
Yes, diesel vehicles have a lot of torque and while that’s a lot of fun for the everyday driver, it’s a necessity for trucks. Towing heavy loads requires plenty of grunt, which is why all heavy-duty trucks come with an available diesel power plant.
It also means that a V6 diesel can do the work of many V8 gasoline engines, which is why Mercedes equips its BlueTec V6 diesel in many of its SUVs.
According to a recent study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, diesel owners save about $2,000 to $6,000 over three to five years compared to owners of corresponding gas vehicles.
For decades, diesel-powered vehicles have been popular in Europe, but never garnered the same attention in America.
Diesel sales are on the up in America, with a 25.6 percent increase in 2012 thanks to favorable diesel fuel prices and more options for consumers.
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
10. Lincoln Navigator Ultimate $109.76
Gas prices might not have hit the budget-busting $5/gallon yet, but drivers are already feeling the pinch. Consumer Reports has exposed a list of the top 10 most expensive vehicles to fill up. All prices are based on the average fuel price in the United States.
First on our top 10 is the Lincoln Navigator Ultimate. The massive V8 in this thing gets a combined 15mpg according to fueleconomy.gov. That gives it a range of around 504 miles on a tank. Filling up this SUV costs almost $110, which surprisingly is far from the costliest fill up on this list.