Diesel Car Lineup in the U.S. for 2013 and 2014: Preview and Report

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2014 Mazda6

2014 Mazda6

Mazda popularized the Wankel 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.

Just a few weeks ago, at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show, Mazda confirmed it will be entering the U.S. diesel-powered passenger car marketplace in late 2013, with the 2014 Mazda6 Skyactiv-D.

The Mazda will be the first Asian diesel to be sold in the U.S., and also the first diesel used in a passenger car that does not require a urea-treatment system to comply with nitrous-oxide emission standards. Mazda credits the unprecedentedly low 14:1 compression ratio with the low emissions.

Completely redesigned for 2014, the midsize sedan will be offered with the 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, a version of which is currently available in Mazdas sold in Europe and Asia.

Power and fuel economy figures for the U.S.-bound model have not yet been determined, nor have fuel economy estimates, but the 2.2-liter engine in other markets is rated at 173 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, with fuel economy of 44 mpg (5.3 l/100 km).  According to Mazda, the version slated to be sold here will be 10% lighter than its foreign counterparts, and will have a higher output with lower emissions.


2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic.

The big news at Mercedes-Benz, the company that introduced the first diesel passenger car in 1936 , comes in 2014 with the updated E-Class.  The new E250 BlueTec 4Matic is powered by a 190-horsepower 2.1-liter turbodiesel that develops 369 pound-feet of torque.  Unlike the current E350 Bluetec sedan, the E250 will come standard with Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system.  Expect to see the E250 BlueTec late next summer.

We’ve already seen (and reviewed) the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec, which provides a welcome refinement of the interior, along the lines of the smaller ML350 BlueTec, which carries over to 2013 unchanged. The GL350 BlueTec also gets an updated version of the automaker’s venerable diesel V-6. The engine’s output is increased from 210 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque to 240 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque.

The Mercedes SUV line-up will soon be joined by the 2013 GLK250 BlueTec 4Matic, which has the same engine as the 2014 E250 BlueTec. The EPA has not yet released fuel economy figures, but the GLK250 is rated at 36.1 mpg (6. 51 l/100 km) in the combined EU cycle (city and highway). It is only available with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and should start appearing at dealerships in the spring.  We won’t be surprised if Mercedes introduces other cars powered by the new 2.1-liter turbodiesel as well.

The E350 BlueTec, which is part of our long-term test fleet, and the S350 BlueTec will carry over without change into 2013. The R350 BlueTec is no longer being sold in the U.S.

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