Another model year passed and it’s plain to see that German engineering still has a very strong foothold on diesel technology. In any case, if you’re looking for the best diesel car available you’re going to want to start in Europe. That’s been the theme of the diesel section for quite some time now, mostly due to the fact that diesels are more popular on the European continent than in America, but the lead is lengthening every year. If you’re interested in experiencing some of the best fuel-efficient clean technology available today, you’ll want to check out the best diesel cars for 2012 according to experts at Consumer Reports, Edmunds, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, and J.D. Power & Associates.
1. 2012Sportwagen New Model MSRP: $25,540
Of all the great features on the Jetta Sportwagen, reviewers seem to love the efficiency and overall performance of the available diesel engine most. The 2.0L turbodiesel four-cylinder is good for 140 horses and 236 lb-ft. of torque; all at an impressive 30/42 mpg (city/highway) with the manual transmission and 29/39 mpg with the six-speed automatic. Factor in some responsive steering and some well-planned interior functionality and you’ve got the Sportwagen at its best yet.
Volkswagen has long been a leader in diesel technology, and they prove it again this year by taking the top two spots on the list. The Golf isn’t as large or as practical as its cousin the Jetta, but it offers every bit the driving experience and functionality. The only other compact that comes close to offering what the Golf offers is the, and that is not offered with a fuel-efficient turbodiesel. The diesel does make it a tad noisier, but the Golf already started off as one of the quietest models available, so the additional sound should be negligible.
3. 2012New Model MSRP: $30,250
The only bad part about opting for the diesel A3 is that you have to sacrifice the Audi Quattro AWD system. If you can make it past that one point you’ll have yourself one gem of a clean diesel automobile. The interior is upscale and practical, as is the case with most Audis, but the optional sport suspension is what makes the Audi driving experience worth the price. Even though it is a small sedan, it is still one of the safest vehicles available, earning top marks from both the government and the IIHS in crash testing.
The Benz tops the list in MSRP, which doesn’t seem to be a hindrance to too many shoppers since it is one of the best-selling luxury diesels in the world. Bluetec is Benz’s clean diesel technology, and it comes equipped on the 3.0L V6 of the E350. It offers an impressive 400 lb-ft. of torque and still manages to garner 22/33 mpg. “Overall, the 2012remains a top choice against a plethora of competitors.” It possesses the classic look and feel that many Mercedes owners have come to love over the decades.
The BMW 3 Series comes equipped with the 3.0L inline-6 twin-turbocharged diesel. It puts out 265 horsepower and an extraordinary amount of torque at 425 lb-ft. Fuel economy is impressive, even for a diesel, at 23/36 mpg. The six-speed automatic transmission comes standard, as does a very refined and classy interior. “Don’t mess with a good thing. You can imagine these words hanging above the engineers and designers who created the redesigned 2012 BMW 3 Series.”