If you haven’t noticed, automakers these days are caught up with a CAFE-induced mpg craze. To avoid heavy tax fines for a lineup that fails to meet the 2025 54.5-mpg standard, many manufacturers are turning to small and efficient engines, or alternative electric and hybrid technologies, to boost fuel mileage.
But the answer to the debate on which technology is best differs slightly in Europe, where long-established diesel technology squares off against newer hybrids.
Then you have the new Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4, a 200-hp all-wheel-drive compact SUV that bridges the gap in the one-or-the-other debate, combining both electric and diesel to form one badass, fuel-sipping hybrid. The Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 features four drive modes and gets up to 74 mpg highway. Best of all, it isn’t limited to a pithy, electric-only range-factor like the Nissan Leaf.
It sounds great, but unfortunately, that car and other clever European fuel economy solutions, won’t be coming to America. European consumers have long benefited from diesel technology, so why hasn’t America?
It could be American stubbornness and its love for powerful V-8′s. It could be the weird or unfamiliar noise coming from the hood. It could even be the remembrance of pitiful, broken down Oldsmobile diesel cars of the 1980′s littering America’s highways with oil and smoke. So, while the Jetta TDI continues to run laps around American competition for the mpg crown, Volkswagen is the outlier in the perception that “Americans just don’t want diesel.”
But there are signs that rising fuel prices are changing many Americans’ minds about car-buying (why else would anyone buy a Smart?), and not all is lost in the diesel battle. Chevrolet will be introducing a diesel engine option with the Cruze in 2013 that should see close to 50 mpg highway. Best of all, the small 2.0 liter four-cylinder will crank out 163 horsepower and 265 lb-ft torque, making it the most powerful Cruze available. In an enthusiast’s numbers game, that engine option could be more appealing to American consumers than the diesel-hybrid powering the Peugot. And if the diesel Cruze gains favor in America, then perhaps the hybrid application could become a viable alternative for the 2025 CAFE crunch, while giving Americans the power they crave.
If your favorite car company offered a diesel-hybrid option, would you consider buying one? Let us know in the comments below!