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7 Best and 3 Worst Diesel SUVs on the Used Market

Audi-Q7_V12_TDI-2009-Feature

Diesel engines have always been a popular option in European markets. Until recently, they even accounted for about 50% of new car sales. This was partly due to tax systems that penalized CO2 emissions, diesel vehicles generally deliver higher mpg values ​​than their equivalent petrol counterparts, so they became a popular choice. In some countries, the cars were even sold to buyers as a “green” or “eco” option. Diesel sales even started to pick up in the US, with an increasing number of manufacturers offering the fuel choice.



However, the bubble burst pretty quickly when Volkswagen was exposed to falsifying their emissions test results by installing a “cheat” or “defeat” device. Other brands and many parts of the VW group were also involved in the scandal. Numerous would-be buyers were subsequently held off from the fuel source, and manufacturers, including Porsche, dropped diesel engines entirely. That said, over the years there have been some really excellent diesel powered cars that are now available on the used market. Likewise, there are some that you should avoid because they just don’t fit the bill.

Related: Why the Nissan Titan XD Cummins Diesel Floppy

10 Best: 2008 Audi Q7 V12 Diesel

The large and imposing Audi Q7 was first released in 2006 and marked the brand’s first foray into the SUV segment. The car had class-leading interior quality and became a sales success.

The most interesting engine in the lineup was undoubtedly the huge 6.0-litre V12 diesel. The unit was developed using technological innovation and knowledge gained while racing an Audi R10 TDI race car at Le Mans. The car could go from 0-60mph in just 5.5 seconds, and the fact that it even exists is enough to earn its place on this list.

Related: 10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying The 2022 Ram 2500 HD Crew Cab Diesel

9 Worst: 2014 Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi

Let’s face it, the Nissan Juke is pretty far from what most gearboxes would want to drive, even as a daily driver. The rather unique styling alone is enough to put many off.

But perhaps the final nail in the coffin for this car is its noisy and unrefined Renault-derived diesel engine. While performance was acceptable for this class, rated at 109 horsepower and going 0-60 mph in 10.6 seconds, we can’t help but feel that choosing a petrol model would have provided a much better experience .


8 Best: 2015 Porsche Macan 3.0-liter V6 diesel

Porsche is not a brand that you quickly associate with diesel. It’s actually not a brand that you traditionally associate with SUVs. However, at the time of the Macan’s launch, diesel made up a large part of the European market. This popularity was especially true within the SUV segment.

Installing a diesel engine turned out to be a good business from a business point of view. The sporty Macan S was equipped with a 257 hp 3.0-liter turbo diesel. The great unit offered an excellent blend of power and economy, with 0-60 mph taking 6.3 seconds and the car being able to reach a top speed of 143 mph.

Related: 10 Things to Know Before Buying the 2022 Porsche Macan GTS

7 Worst: 2007 Land Rover Discovery 3 2.7 TD V6

The third generation Land Rover Discovery was a highly anticipated model and featured an all-new design when launched in 2004. Land Rover was then owned by Ford and the car was new from the ground up.

There were three engine options at launch, a 4.4-litre V8 petrol, a US-exclusive 4.0-litre Cologne V6 petrol and the 2.7-litre TD V6. This engine was relatively bland and took about 11 seconds to reach 60 mph. Considering that the car was more marketable and more luxurious, the performance just wasn’t enough. Land Rover stated that the car could return 27 mpg in the UK, which is about 22.5 mpg in the US. Unfortunately the car was heavy and the engine had to be worked on quite hard, so the actual numbers were much lower. The similar-looking Discovery 4 was fitted with a much better 3.0-litre unit instead, so it’s worth considering this model if you’re in the market for a Discovery.


6 Best: 2013 Land Rover Range Rover 4.4 SDV8

A car as luxurious as the Range Rover deserves a powerful and refined engine. Fortunately, the 4.4 SDV8 is just that: it produces 339 horsepower and splits most of the available torque between just 1,750 rpm and 3000 rpm. The engine offers some seriously relaxed swinging power.

The unit is also a great option for those who enjoy land activities, thanks to a 3.5 ton towing capacity, ideal for horse trailers and boats.

5 Best: 2015 BMW X3 xDrive30d

One of the best options in the compact SUV segment, the BMW X3 is already a car that has a lot to offer. However, if you select it with the excellent 30d engine, it becomes one of the best all-rounders in all segments.

The car ticks some boxes, with four-wheel drive for challenging weather conditions, room for family accessories and sedan-like handling. The 30d is the icing on the cake, the 3.0-litre turbo diesel, inline-six produces 258 horsepower, allowing for a sports car rival of 0-60 mph in around 5.6 seconds.

4 Best: 2016 Bentley Bentayga 4.0 V8

Another brand that traditionally you would certainly not associate with diesel power is Bentley. However, market forces in the European markets in particular dictated that a diesel option had to be available. The launch car’s 6.0-litre W12 was a thirsty beast, and even Bentley owners shied away from the cost of topping up.

The 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine, now discontinued, produced 440 horsepower, had a massive top speed of 168 mph and accelerated this hefty Bentley from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds.

3 Worst: 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2.0 ED4 SE

Launched to much excitement in 2011, the strikingly designed Range Rover Evoque made a real impression on the compact SUV market. For the first time ever, the Range Rover brand was opened up to a whole new audience thanks to the car’s lower price.

The car was well received and excelled in many areas. Unfortunately, it was somewhat let down by its 2.2-litre SD4 engine. With a power of 190 hp, the Evoque could accelerate to 100 km/h in 9.5 seconds. While this would never set the world on fire, the performance is decent for the segment. Unfortunately, these early engines were rather unrefined and have since proved unreliable. Later models got a much better selection of engines so it’s worth paying a little more if you can.


2 Best: 2007 Volkswagen Touareg 5.0 V10 TDI

The 2007 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI, was part SUV, part airplane tug. The power of the car’s V10 diesel engine was so great that the Touareg could even tow a Boeing 747. At a VW press event, the car pulled the 155-ton plane with just one change, more weight. Over 15,000 lbs, in fact, to act as ballast and keep the car’s wheels from spinning.

In normal driving, the 312 horsepower unit enabled the car to sprint from 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds.

1 Best: 2019 Mercedes G350d

While most people immediately think of the AMG G63 and its growling 6.2-litre V8, the G-Wagen is actually available with a diesel option. The 2019 version was a 3.0-litre 286-hp inline 6-cylinder engine, and while performance was clearly not up to that of the G63, the G350d could still go from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds . In the real world, this is still a lot of achievements for such a big brute.

The G350d is also about £50,000, or the equivalent of $61,000 cheaper† With that savings you can buy a lot of diesel.