Three Cars to Watch For
A. Chevrolet Cruze
On Sale: Spring 2013
MPG (CITY/HWY): 33/45 (est.)
Power: 161 hp (est.)
Torque: 266 lb-ft (est.)
The Scoop: Similar to the version currently sold in Europe, this is GM's first diesel car since the 1986 Chevette.
B. 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ecodiesel
On Sale: Mid-2013
MPG (CITY/HWY): 21/30 (RWD), 20/28 (AWD)
Power: 240 hp
Torque: 406 lb-ft
The Scoop: Costs more than either gas option, but that's the price of a 730-mile range.
C. 2014 Mazda6
On Sale: Fall 2013
MPG (CITY/HWY): 29/42 (est.)
Power: 173 hp (est.)
Torque: 310 lb-ft (est.)
The Scoop: The clean-burning, low-compression (14.0:1) diesel engine needs no exhaust treatment.
Diesel vs Hybrid
Price: Compared with gas vehicles, diesels and hybrids typically cost anywhere from $1500 to $5000 more.
Weight: Both usually weigh about 300 pounds more than their conventional counterparts.
Cargo: With no space-hogging batteries, diesels have the same-size trunk and cargo areas as the gas versions.
Fuel Price: Diesel is more expensive and will remain so. It's also taxed at 5.2 cents more per gallon on average.
City MPG: Able to run on battery power at low speeds and recapture braking energy, hybrids own the city.
Highway MPG: Some hybrids show higher EPA ratings, but we'd bet on most diesels in real-world driving numbers.