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Depending on how successful the sales are for the Grand Cherokee diesel, Jeep may bring a Wrangler diesel to market.
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.
For what seems like forever, North America has been left behind when it comes to diesel cars. Sure there are a few options, but nowhere near as many as our friends in Europe. In fact, according to the Automotive Industry Data Newsletter, 52% of all new car sales last year in Western Europe were diesel powered.
Diesel engines offer unique advantages, with plenty of torque making tiny power plants more useable in small cars, while making modest size engines a functional alternative to much larger gasoline ones in SUVs. Towing, after all, is not something hybrids are known for. Additionally, diesel engines can provide fuel economy closer to that of a hybrid, without any of the worries surrounding new technology; plus, there’s no battery pack compromising passenger or storage space.
With those advantages, not to mention a push by automakers to meet increasingly strict corporate average fuel economy standards, a slew of diesel models are set to arrive on our shores in the near future. If you’re considering the switch to diesel power, here are a few options you’ll soon be able to consider.
It’s official: The Chrysler Group has announced that a diesel variant of the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be offered in the North American markets and will be manufactured at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.
The press release didn’t focus on just the Grand Cherokee Diesel announcement, as Chrysler also mentioned that it would be adding a third crew of workers and about 1,100 new jobs at the same plant next year. Unfortunately no actual details on the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel have been released but it’s likely to be the same as the European version of the Grand Cherokee Diesel.
In Europe, the Grand Cherokee Diesel is powered by a 3.0L V6 CRD turbo diesel, one with 190-hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and another with 241-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Both are combined with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Look for more news on the diesel Jeep from the Detroit Auto Show next week.
GALLERY: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Is it OK to love one of your kids more than the others? If you work for Jeep the answer is a resounding yes. After the launch of the Grand Cherokee SRT8, brand enthusiasts might like to see other SRT-badge models, but they won’t. The same goes for the upcoming diesel version, which only recently was confirmed for a return to our shores.
In a recent interview Jeep head Mike Manley confirmed that both diesel and high-performance versions will remain the exclusive territory of the Grand Cherokee. And while that’s certainly not the new diesel fanatics were looking for, at least the performance guys can count on the possibility of R/T trim levels.
Hybrids are also out of the question confirms Manley. Instead, look for Fiat’s MultiAir valve-lift technology to be used in future models (think Liberty and the Compass/Patriot replacement) to help deliver added power and fuel economy.
Diesel fans need not despair just yet, however, with a recent report that Chrysler is looking to offer an oil burner is most of it’s large vehicles. Chrysler 300 D anyone?
The Jeep Grand Cherokee will once again be offered with a diesel powerplant says Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. Jeep cut the diesel option from its flagship SUV when it introduced the current generation model and Jeep has been officially quiet on its return – until Marchionne’s comments now. An exact date for the new diesel model’s introduction was not revealed, but Marchionne did say it would arrive before 2013.
The new diesel powerplant will be the same 3.0-liter turbo V6 offered in Europe, with 237-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Compared to the old diesel, fuel economy is up 19 percent while the total tow rating would lead the Grand Cherokee pack at 7,700 lbs.
Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review here.
The diesel will be a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, sourced from the Fiat mothership and built by VM Motori. It’ll come in two forms: one with 188 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque, and the other with 237 horsepower and 406 lb-ft, which also gets around 28 miles per gallon.
Meanwhile at Geneva, Jeep will introduce 70th Anniversary Editions of all its models, including the Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited, Patriot, and Compass. The package includes exterior trim packages, brushed-aluminum door sills, 18-inch wheels, and some nifty badges; the interior will get Dark Olive perforated leather seats, shiny trim, and Berber floor mats.
Utility vehicles and small compact cars are about the only places in the U.S. market where diesel vehicles have had any success and yet Jeep has cut the Mercedes-sourced 3.0-liter V6 that it offered on the previous-gen Grand Cherokee. “The business case has to make sense,” said Grand Cherokee chief engineer Phil Jansen at a recent press event, commenting that the urea aftertreatment system required to make the engine pass emissions must comply with emissions standards in all 50 states. More difficult than making the system meet emission standards, however, is getting customers to pay for it, with the cost of such an aftertreatment system certain to drive diesel Grand Cherokee pricing to a point where it would no longer be considered by buyers.
Buyers for the diesel option were already scarce, making up just 8 percent of all Grand Cherokee models last year.
As to whether Jeep would consider bringing the diesel back, Jansen said it would be something they would look at once diesel luxury SUV sales made up 15 to 20 percent of the market. In other words… not any time soon.
[Source: Automotive News via 4WheelsNews]