Don’t count diesels out just yet!

Ford and GM are the latest automakers to expand their diesel engine offerings

Published: January 17, 2017, 1:40 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:20 PM

GMC Terrain Diesel - Diesel-powered

Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal and related misadventures have soured many customers’ perceptions of diesels, as well as delayed or stymied some automakers’ may have done something similar haven’t helped the situation.

But diesels are not dead yet. Far from it, in fact.

Both General Motors and Ford recently announced availability of diesel engines in vehicles where they have not been offered previously. GMC Terrain buyers will be able to opt for a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder turbo-diesel in the just-revealed 2018 model, while 2018 Ford F-150 pickup customers can choose a turbocharged 3.0-litre V-6 Power Stroke diesel.

In addition, BMW has now started production of diesel versions of its latest 3 Series passenger cars and X3 and X5 SUVs for the North American market after delaying doing so for several months.

Ford’s diesel F-150 is a direct counterpoint to FCA’s diesel-powered Ram 1500, which has proven to be highly successful, while GM’s diesel power play seems aimed at attracting former VW devotees who can no longer get their diesel fix from their usual source. 

Once addicted by diesels’ torque and fuel economy, the habit is a hard one to break so if one source dries up the natural response is to seek out another.

GM already offers the same diesel engine in the Chevrolet Cruze and the Terrain’s Chevrolet Equinox sibling so adding it to the Terrain as well is a logical step. Plus, there’s a diesel available in the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups.

But those American manufacturers’ showrooms aren’t the only new places to find diesel power. Mazda will finally bring its much-awaited Skyactiv D diesel to North America in its new CX-5 crossover and JLR is now offering diesels in its Jaguar XE and XF sedans and F-Pace SUVs as well as Range Rover and Range Rover Sport SUVs.

There has be some irony in the fact that more diesels than ever are coming to market when their major booster over the years has withdrawn.