Top 6 Diesel Powered Vehicles You Must Consider Buying!

So, even if you aren’t a car person you know the name AutoTrader. They have been around forever as the number one place to go for used car classifieds. Over the years, they have grown substantially and now they are a great resource for new and used cars, information, pricing and a whole lot more.

We, recently, got the opportunity to speak with Brian Moody, Site Editor for AutoTrader about AutoTrader and their top 6 diesel picks. “The Editorial and Data teams have a combined 60 years of experience in the automotive industry,” explained Moody. “The Data and Editorial team members have held a variety of positions in the automotive industry including automotive appraisals, auction purchasing agent, new and used car sales, mechanic, parts buyer, market research as well as that of both mainstream and automotive journalist,” Moody continued.

Their 6 top picks are the Mercedes-Benz E350, Ford F-250, Volkswagen Beetle TDI, BMW X5 xDrive35d, Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, and Mazda6 SkyActiv-D (more on the cars later).

So, we asked Moody just a couple quick questions about how they came up with the list.

Diesel Army: What did you guys take into account when you made this list?

Moody: We took a few things into consideration – 1) Variety, we wanted vehicles from a broad range of prices and vehicle types – the idea is that there’s a diesel for everyone from work-ready trucks to economy cars to luxury sedans. 2) Vehicles we’d actually want to own. 3) Reasonably efficient. These may not be the top MPG earners in their class, but 32 MPG for a car like the Benz E-Class is pretty good. 

Diesel Army: Who put together the list?

Moody: Both data editors and automotive editors. Lists are compiled using information from various sources. This includes test drives, auto shows, press events, automaker presentations and one-on-one interviews with automaker executives, engineers and designers.

Diesel Army: I’m assuming there was some debate over the vehicles. Where there any notable vehicles that didn’t make the list?

Moody: At first, the Mazda6 was not on the list – clearly we have’t driven the car since it’s still not available, but as the editor, I added it because I feel so strongly that it will be a really great diesel powered car based on 1) Mazda’s push for more efficiency and 2) how great the gas powered Mazda6 is – great interior, fun to drive etc. I, also, pushed for the VW Beetle based on driving a TDI manual. We think the RAM is very good, but picked the F-250 thinking it has broader appeal. We, also, opted to not include cars like the Jetta and Passat TDI b/c those cars are well-known as good diesels – one of the things we really try to do is show shoppers new or unexpected alternatives

Diesel Army: What experience do you have with these vehicles (i.e. test drove them, only saw at auto shows, based solely on photos, specs and mfg info)?

Moody: We did not drive the Jeep or the Mazda – the cars were not available when we made the list. Those selections are based on experience with the gasoline powered version and how good we expect the diesel to be. At least one person here at AutoTrader has driven all the other choices. 

The vehicles:

The Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec

 “Mercedes Benz E-Class Bluetec – shows what a diesel can be. Efficient, powerful, fun all without upsetting the luxury expectations shoppers have for Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” mentioned Moody.

The Mercedes-Benz has been around for quite a few years and has been an impressive offering since they decided to bring the diesel back to the US. This engine is nothing of the old smoky, loud and slow engines of the past. In fact, the E350 is quite peppy. On average, it will pretty consistently yield 30 plus mpg and achieve 600 miles per tank.

If you want to know more about this, check out the full review KBB did or to find one, check out AutoTrader’s website.

Ford F-250

Ford fans should be proud with the fact that 2015 Ford Power Stroke now holds the title for best in class torque and horsepower. For 2015 the 6.7 is getting a light refreshing. Moody mentioned, “If you really want heavy duty, this is the one to get. 800 lb-ft of torque? That’s impressive.” We couldn’t agree more and are patiently waiting to get our hands on one to test.

Volkswagen Beetle

Recently, we have run a few articles on the new diesel technology that Volkswagen is coming out with. They really are one of the few companies that have had a diesel offering for quite a long time. Even before diesel engines starting to be somewhat thought of as cool or non-truck engines here in the US, Volkswagen was importing them from Europe. They have never really been able to offer them in very large supply but if you look, finding a diesel Volkswagen is pretty easy. Unfortunately, they may come at somewhat of a premium. As far as Moody was concerned, “The Beetle gets a bad rap as being too soft or just not being taken seriously. In TDI form, the modern Beetle feels, in spirit, close the original beetle. 41 MPG and $24,000 seem like a good combination too.”

BMW X5 xDrive 35d

This is an SUV from a company that focuses more on performance than they do soft plushy rides. So, for them to offer a diesel, means the diesel cannot be a sloutch. The peppy 3.0 inline 6 makes 255 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. “The combination of practicality, fuel-efficiency and luxury make this a diesel the average person would love to own,” commented Moody.

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

This is a vehicle we here at the office have been hearing a lot about. Quite a few of our industry friends own these and they are quite pleased with them. This is the same EcoDiesel that the RAM 1500’s are coming out with. “Like the Grand Cherokee itself, the EcoDiesel will serve owners well both on and off-road, mentioned Moody.

Mazda6 SkyActive-D

This is a highly anticipated new vehicle that has, unfortunately, yet to show up to dealerships. “Similar to the Passat TDI, we think the Mazda will be a little more fun to drive and love the idea of a car that looks as good as the Mazda6 plus gets 40+ MPG,” Moody said enthusiastically. The SkyActive-D is an engine that we have been watching on the racing circuit for a little while now. This is the first diesel to win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Mazda is campaigning their Prototype LMP2 cars on the track. One of the more exciting aspects for us, is the amount of factory components that they are using in these vehicles. Their race engines actually use the factory aluminum block along with quite a few other components.

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, check out the AutoTrader top 6 or visit their site to find your next vehicle!

About the author

Chad Westfall

With diesel running through his veins from childhood, Chad has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry. From editorial work to wrenching, there isn’t much he hasn't conquered head-on. When he’s not writing and shooting trucks and tech, you’ll find him in the shop working on turning the ideas floating around in his head into reality.
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