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RIP Diesel-powered cars, 2018?

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Slide 1 of 1: William Clavey

 

All that for nothing? Diesel engines were supposed to help us transition to an all-electric transportation system, but it turns out it was too little, too late.

 

The Volkswagen debacle badly hurt diesel technology during, these past few years. The German carmaker has gone full-reverse and has become one of the industry’s largest investors in batteries and other electric powertrain technologies.

 

There is not a lot of choice left when it comes down to buying a diesel-powered vehicle—on the consumer side, that is. Jeep, Hyundai and Kia will add diesel engine options before 2019 in the SUV segment, and we wish them luck.

 

Another diesel promoter is General Motors that offers—among other models—the 2018 GMC Terrain, which comes in two diesel-powered flavours, both using the same 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine.

 

The 2018 Terrain’s retail price is $32,445, freight and delivery charges included. The Terrain SLE Diesel comes next, at $36,445. That’s a $4,000 difference for a technology that, at least according to the numbers published by Volkswagen for its TDI engines, promised a 30-percent fuel economy improvement. Today, it’s much less than that.

Crunching the numbers

The modern turbo-diesel is a rather hi-tech engine. It includes an automatic start-stop system that also improves overall fuel economy by a fraction. This is, in other words, the most optimal diesel-powered SUV GMC could come up with.

On paper, it works. According to Natural Resources Canada’s numbers, the Terrain’s average fuel economy is rated at 8.6 L/100 km. The diesel version announces 7.4 L/100 km. Driving 25,000 kilometres per year, considering the difference in gas and diesel fuel prices, we should save about $375 per year, taking an average price of $1.25 per litre of fuel into account.

The extra cost of going diesel will be absorbed within 10 years. Hopefully less if we drive more than 25,000 km a year, which is probably the reason why we’d buy a diesel vehicle.

IRL

In real life, the difference is still quite small between the Terrain’s base gas and diesel engines. Our tests in a suburban area (which means mostly highway cruising) reduces the diesel fuel economy gain to about 2 L/100 km. At this pace, the annual savings come down to $500. During that period, add the extra cost of filling up twice on the special urea-based solution needed to ensure the vehicle adheres to the environmental pollution standards, which will cost an additional $150-200, and those savings are significantly reduced.

That means it could take up to 12 years to get the full return on buying a diesel-powered Terrain. GMC also offers a SLT version with the choice of either gasoline or diesel engines. The price difference in that case is reduced to $500 ($39,945 vs. $40,445), but that means we have to invest in a better-equipped, but higher-priced vehicle.

That’s about the same time it takes to get our money back if we buy a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car, which, considering Canada’s strong promotion of clean-emission vehicles, seem like a better option.

Obviously, there are some instances where opting for a diesel-powered vehicle actually makes sense. But those cases are few, which tends to explain why most manufacturers are looking into plug-in hybrids and fully-electric vehicles as the better alternative, proving that diesel in Canada is agonizing, if not already dead, in 2018.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/autos/research/rip-diesel-powered-cars-2018/ar-AAw2bTI?li=AA8hc8&ocid=spartandhp

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Good post 

 

For the F350 the diesel is $10,000 more expensive and it WILL need $20,000 repairs in the first 10 years. The gas version gets the same fuel economy, Practically the same power, and is much more reliable, when it does need repairs its alot cheaper to fix too. Before anyone says it the towing is the exact same if you select the right gearing. After my diesel f350 i said i would never buy a diesel again. The smart is an exception but im still cautious of it

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After buying a Fiesta for the kids to drive I will never buy another Ford again.  Hah!

 

The tech in Diesels has been teased too much, they're too complex.  I thought for a short while about buying a new Mercedes E 250 a couple of years back but the incredibly complex technology is a major turnoff, so decided against it.  They probably cheated on emissions too.  This is not the W123 of old, good for 600,000 km of relatively trouble-free driving.

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So much diesel technology has been adapted to gasoline engines – mainly high compression ratios and forced induction – which is how they've been improving in torque and efficiency to near-diesel levels, without the particulate emissions or nitrogen oxides. 

 

I loved diesels when they had tremendous power and efficiency benefits, but gas and hybrid powertrains have eclipsed diesels, without the pesky emissions issues.

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Food for thought:

 

Our smart cdi's can just about produce enough engine heat to heat the cabin in winter. If we increase thermal efficiencies of engines more than they are now, then presumably a high thermal efficiency small engine wont be able to produce enough heat to heat the cabin in winter. This means it will have to rely on electric heating and that will put more load on the engine. Burning the fuel to produce heat is more efficient than converting it to work, then converting that to electricity, then converting that to heat.

 

As safety, and emission standards get higher; i dont think we will see a better fuel efficiency car than the 450 smart cdi's.(*In winter *that can produce a comfortable temp in cabin)

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Yes, and one can only wonder at the complexity of this new technology and how it will work at age 20 and 350K km.

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Time to stock up on diesel cars so when you wear one out you can just pull another one out of the cupboard and keep driving it.

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3 hours ago, booneylander said:

Time to stock up on diesel cars so when you wear one out you can just pull another one out of the cupboard and keep driving it.

 

Yes, please send me a bunch of cdis for my collection! :D

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Our next car should be a - fixed- Golf TDI, when the lease on the Jetta is up at the end of the year (that 2.0 L engine has a terrible city mileage...)

 

This will probably be the last Diesel I will ever own before turning to a hybrid vehicle (maybe a used Audi A3 e-tron, when it becomes more affordable) <_<

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I wonder IRL how the diesel Mazda CX-5 is going to do?

 

My gas pot 6 speed manual 4 cylinder 2.0 L with FWD only will do better than 6.0 L on the highway if I try. On regular. Cheaper to operate than the 451 was, and better than the 2012 Subaru Impreza 5 speed 2.0 L I had

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Jenn's Fit 6 speed can easily get in the low 5s on the highway, and it has 130 HP.  A hypermiler could get it down into the 4s, all on regular gas.

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I think I will own a Fit one day perhaps.... They were my favourite of all the small cars of Asian persuasion when I tried a bunch.

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I do like the Honda Fit as well...especially how the rear seats can be folded flat below the floor. But why sacrifice the space and power for a daily driver? My current MK6 GLI with the 2.0t engine does 5.4L/100km on the highway, and with 210hp when I need it. I am disappointed in VW's quality control for the MK6 platform...only 4yrs old with 85k, I have ripped seats, a lot of paint chips, and a small oil leak that the dealership was not able to fix 3 times under warranty - still leaking which I will deal with myself this summer.

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Oh dear, yeah VW and its related upmarket brands is not one I would even look at these days.  The Fit's plenty quick, without the complication of turbocharging or the misery of Bosch electronics.

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I think after many years of VW/Audi ownership, my GLI will be my last...I don't mind the complicated electronics/mechanical setups, but I can't handle how cheap they've made everything - they've lost their European heritage in my opinion (not just in quality).

 

But back to the OP, I dare to say that my 2.0t gas engine is comparable to the diesel on highway mileage. My MK4 TDI got around 5.5L/100km, but that's going slower than the speed limit (105km/hr). The 5.4L/100km on the GLI was achieved going 115km/hr. In the city, both did similar mileage around 8-9L/100km. Given the choice again, I think I'll go with the gasser.

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I've driven the Fit numerous times with local car-sharing, and I love it, other than the CVT. I'd totally buy one with a manual.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The gearing is short with the 6 speed manual, super close ratio 'box.  Very nice for spirited driving.  Fairly high revs on the highway but it doesn't trouble the fuel consumption.

Edited by MikeT

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If Dot's '96 Honda Civic (Dimples) ever dies, it will be replaced by a Honda Fit.  No sign of that happening anytime soon though.  Hondas have been good to me and my family from our earliest one which was similar to the one pictured below, but blue.

1974 Honda Civic.jpg

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My mom had a 1980 Civic hatch and a 1989 or 1990 Civic DX hatch in black. I never got to drive the 1980 one more than once or twice (two-speed Hondamatic!), but absolutely loved driving that 1990 Civic. Low, lots of glass, smooth and handled like it was on rails. A little underpowered (merging on the highway was sometimes a little hairy), but that gave me a good primer for driving a smart cdi! ;) 

 

My older brother drove the 1980 Civic into the ground, finally retiring it when he got a 1993 GTI. My sister got rear-ended in the 1990, and it was a write-off. Come to think of it, I think my sister has been rear-ended in nearly every car she's owned. Some more than once. I'm not sure how she's managed that, but there ya go.

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