Why no diesel SUVs in US?


To any of you auto industry experts out there - why can’t I buy a mid-size diesel SUV in this country? Now that the “new” Chrysler corp has discontinued the diesel Liberty (and don’t tell me about the diesel Grand Cherokee - 20 MPG - what a joke! And what about those off-shore manufacturers - MBenz and Isuzu - with broad diesel lines that they won’t bring over here - what’s with that? And how about GM - wouldn’t a Chevy Trailblazer/GMC Envoy be a sweet ride with a straight six Detroit Diesel getting 25-30 MPG? GM must be the world’s largest producer of diesel engines but they won’t put one in anything smaller than a one-ton pickup. I don’t get it - please help me understand. Then we can talk about CNG…


Is there honestly a Trailblazer-size SUV somewhere in the world with a diesel engine, getting 30 mpg? I really question if that’s a reasonable expectation.


The Mercedes diesel ML SUV is the right size and is available in 2008 with the diesel engine.
Mercedes claims 24 mpg. Their figures are at times conservative, you may get better by a few…
Quite an impressive vehicle actually.



I must admit, I don’t know how big the Trailblazer is these days, but the diesel versions of the 4-Runner that are sold all over the place I believe can get about that.

To answer the general question of no diesel SUV’s, it’s mostly the same reasons why you don’t see smaller diesel vehicles in this country-- see “where are the diesels?” thread. Also, unless they happen to be made by Mercedes or VW, smaller diesel engines tend to be pretty slow, which usually goes against the SUV as a luxury vehicle, which they mostly are these days.

 Look for additional diesels in 2008 and 2009.  The clean diesel fuel required for most modern diesel automotive engines (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) was not available in the US until the last few months.  The trucking and oil industry fought it for years. Now that it is here and those modern engines and the cars and trucks they are in can be imported.  There will be a slight delay as they will need to be tested and approved by the EPA a the manufacturers will need to plan for and produce US models.


Or the GL, if your looking for something a little bigger:



Complex emissions controls and high-priced fuel cancel out most of the diesel advantage now…While a few are being sold, NONE are 50 state legal. They don’t meet California emissions standards and 5 other states use those standards. These 5 states amount to a large percentage of the new vehicle market.


Toyota has a 6-cyl and 8-cyl engine available, and both are gas, not diesel.

As to the Benz trucks: Why would anyone looking at a typical midsize SUV consider even the ML320 diesel? It’s MSRP is over $45,000. If you are already looking at a luxury SUV, the extra $1000 doe the CDI is OK.