Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Jimmie asks: Hi Eric; do you plan a review of the Chevy Equinox diesel?
My reply: I hope to wrangle some seat time, but it’s become much harder to access GM vehicles due to my falling afoul of GM – which has been punishing me for my politically incorrect attitudes regarding the Diversity (see here) Climate Change and EV shibboleths.
I do, however, have some thoughts on the Equinox diesel and diesels generally.
The summary is that the cost to buy vs. what you save on fuel probably negates any economic advantages in a vehicle such as the Equinox – which is a crossover SUV and so considerations about heavy-duty work/towing don’t apply, as they would if we were discussing trucks or truck-based SUVs (e.g., models like the Tahoe and Suburban).
The price of the diesel-powered version of the Equinox is $29,500 to start – vs. $23,800 for the base trim with the 1.5 liter turbo engine.
The gas engined version rates 26 city, 32 highway (with FWD). The diesel rates 28 city, 39 highway.
So, you’d be paying $5,700 more to get into the diesel – to save about 2 MPG in city driving and 7 on the highway; on average, about 5 MPG overall. It is unlikely you will ever recoup that $5,700 in higher up front costs in fuel savings, especially given that diesel costs significantly more than unleaded regular.
The 1.6 liter turbodiesel will probably give you more driving enjoyment because of its higher torque output (240 ft.-lbs. vs. 203 ft.-lbs. for the gas 1.5 liter engine). In everyday stop-and-got driving, the diesel will feel more powerful and also feel more relaxed as it’s hardly ever necessary to give it more than half pedal to get plenty of acceleration.
Also, there is longevity to consider. The diesel should have a longer service life; however, even that is less true than it used to be because of the complexity (to appease Uncle) of modern diesels. They used to be simpler engines, with fewer parts to wear out. That is no longer true, unfortunately.
So, it comes down more to your personal preferences.
Objectively, the diesel’s high cost and not-high fuel efficiency relative to the gas engine make it a dubious value. But you may value the way it drives more than the gas-engine – in which case, the higher cost might just be worth it… to you!
And in the final analysis, that’s the most important consideration of all.
. . .
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