New Diesels Are More Cost Effective and Cleaner than Gasoline Engines

Todays diesel engines are nothing like the oil burners of the past, at least thats what luxury SUV maker Land Rover hopes to bring to light by bringing four of its sport utilities across the Atlantic for demonstration and testing purposes.

According to Land Rover test fleet spokesperson Bill Baker, two entry-level luxury Freelanders and two top-line Range Rovers will be arriving in the U.S. this fall for journalists, politicians and Ford Motor employees to test.

Does this mean Land Rover retailers will have diesel models for consumer purchase anytime soon? Thats hard to say. The official word is no, but its obvious the company is testing the waters. Rival 4×4 legend Jeep is bringing their Liberty to the market with a common-rail turbodiesel for 2004, which should help to open the market up for other brands such as Land Rover if they decide to do likewise.

A common belief among North American drivers is that diesels are slower, noisier, smellier and more polluting than their gasoline powered alternatives. Thats a reasonable deduction considering most peoples experience with the engine type dates back to the early 1980s and before, when old-tech diesel engines belched smoke, stunk up the parking garage, rattled and pinged annoyingly before clogging up the roadways due to poor acceleration.

New common-rail diesels, however, are much improved. In fact modern common-rail diesel engines often outperform their gasoline counterparts due to a higher torque output, while offering nominal noise difference and improved toxic emissions through better fuel economy – the final calculations after comparing increased distance traveled on the same quantity of fuel against slightly higher particulate emissions shows a benefit over gasoline engines of about 17% on average.

According to Baker the Range Rover diesel, for instance, uses 22 mpg on the highway, compared to 14 mpg for the gasoline-powered version of the same vehicle. The much lighter and more compact Freelander diesel delivers almost 30 mpg at highway speeds compared to approximately 20 mpg for the gasoline model.

Also beneficial, diesels require less maintenance than gasoline engines. They dont need to be tuned up as often and last much longer, often running beyond 300,000 miles or more before a rebuild is necessary.

Diesels are an excellent solution for European based automakers, like Land Rover, to improve their North American emissions and offer more cost effective transportation to their customers.