New Diesel Car Lineup for 2013: Preview and Report

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2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Chrysler, under Italian Fiat’s ownership since 2009, is returning to the U.S. diesel market after a short hiatus. There is clearly a good deal of transatlantic cooperation between Detroit and Turin, and Fiat’s hands-on ownership has already brought the Mexican-built Fiat 500 to the U.S. in 2011. Chrysler’s Jeep brand offered the diesel-powered Liberty CRD in 2005, as well as a diesel Grand Cherokee until the recent redesign of the model. The latter used the Mercedes-sourced 3.0-liter CDI diesel engine currently offered in multiple Mercedes-Benz models.

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will be available starting in early 2013, will come with the 3.0-liter Fiat-developed 237 horsepower turbo diesel and a new ZF-sourced 8 speed automatic transmission. This potent combination puts down 405 pound-feet of torque and is rated at 27 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway (8.71/6.03 l/100km) by the EU.

The Detroit-built Grand Cherokee already offers a 188 hp diesel in export models, but the combination of the new power plant and gearbox sounds promising.

Chrysler’s recent application with the Patent and Trademark Office of “EcoDiesel 3.0l” suggests that Fiat-run Chrysler isn’t stopping with the Grand Cherokee. With the announcement of the Fiat 500E electric city vehicle, the automaker’s commitment to fuel-sipping products is clear, and a diesel-powered Chrysler 300 is rumored to be coming sometime in 2013, also as a 2014 model year offering.

Fiat currently offers several diesel engines under the MultiJet badge in Europe, which it developed with General Motors Europe and Suzuki.


2013 Mazda CX-5

Mazda gave the world the rotary engine in the 1960s, and more recently introduced the Skyactiv-D 2.2L diesel engine in Japan, where it was the first diesel engine on the market to meet that country’s stringent new emissions standards without requiring expensive urea after-treatment technology to reduce nitrogen oxide.

Mazda, which  reiterated plans to offer a diesel passenger car in the U.S. at the 2012 NAIAS in Detroit, offers the Skyactive-D engine in the new CX-5 crossover in Japan and other markets, and it is likely that this model will be the automaker’s first U.S. diesel as well. The 2.2-liter I-4 develops 310 pound-feet of torque, and it used 5.34 l/100 km (44 mpg) in the Japanese JC08 fuel economy testing cycle.

Although details are scarce, the automaker said that it will use its new Skyactiv-D 2.2L diesel engine in that model, mated to the Sky-Drive transmission.

Regardless of which model Mazda decides to endow with the 173 horsepower unit for the U.S., the automaker expects a 30% improvement in fuel economy over its gas-powered Skyactiv cousins.  We will most likely see a diesel Mazda in showrooms at the end of 2013 as a 2014 model, and sooner than that on racetracks.

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