The Best Diesel SUV Options in 2020
While diesel SUVs are less common than their gas-powered counterparts, there are quite a few advantages to buying one of these vehicles. First and foremost is the efficiency advantage, which helps offset some of the poor gas mileage that some traditional SUVs can have. Some also see better performance from diesel engines.
Despite an emissions scandal including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and other manufacturers, the Environmental Protection Agency notes that diesels are cleaner than they’ve ever been, thanks to fuel and exhaust system advances. However, their bad reputation over the past few years may give you pause. In addition, there are generally fewer new diesel vehicles today than in years past. However, that leaves room for newcomers, as well as solid used options. With only one manufacturer releasing 2020 diesels so far, our list of seven notable diesel SUVs for sale also includes 2019 models plus two 2018 models.
The best diesel SUVs in 2020
- 2019 Chevrolet Equinox
- 2019 GMC Terrain
- 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature
- 2019 Jaguar F-Pace 20d AWD
- 2020 Land Rover Discovery
The best used diesel SUVs in 2020
- 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
- 2018 BMW X5 35d XDrive
32 combined, 28 city/39 highway MPG
4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.2 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (42 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA
As one of the most affordable diesels on this list (though significantly more than the gasoline-powered version at a base $23,800), the Equinox is an alluring option for those looking for a new diesel SUV. Yes, there’s a 2020 model, but it doesn’t have a diesel option. The Equinox is one of two Chevys offered as a diesel, along with the Cruze sedan. The SUV is roomier and is an ideal option for those who do lots of highway driving, as it gets 39 miles per gallon on the highway. The diesel powertrain is available on both the LT and Premier trim levels and is available with all-wheel drive.
32 combined, 28 city/39 highway MPG
4.1 out of 5 by KBB experts; 3.0 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (32 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA
It’s not surprising that this vehicle gets equally good gas mileage, as its General Motors sister Equinox above. And like the Equinox, the 2020 GMC Terrain also lacks a diesel option. However, the higher price tag might be a deterrent for budget-conscious buyers. GMC vehicles are considered to be one step above the Chevrolet option in terms of luxury, hence the extra charge.
28 combined, 27 city/30 highway MPG
Not yet rated by KBB experts or consumers on Edmunds
Despite the fact that it’s a 2019 — with 2020 models available on car lots — there’s relatively little information about the long-awaited diesel on the Mazda website. You may request a test drive and search nearby inventory, but there’s not a way to “build” a CX-5 with Skyactiv-D diesel engine online. Here’s what we do know: available in the top Signature trim only, it’s significantly more expensive than the base CX-5 starting at $24,350. But you get all-wheel drive and all of the bells and whistles of the premium trim level: leather seats and advanced safety features, for example. It also offers a zero-cost maintenance program for two years or 30,000 miles.
29 combined, 26 city/33 highway MPG
4.1 out of 5 by KBB experts; 3.4 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (9 reviews)
For those looking for something just a little bit more than the German luxury SUVs have to offer, there’s the Jaguar F-Pace. The diesel version is not all that far from the F-Pace’s $44,600 starting price. You’ll also like the fact that a rearview camera, sunroof and forward collision mitigation are all standard in 2019, and several driver assistance features are now available even on lower trim levels. Like others on this list, the 2020 Jaguar F-Pace doesn’t have a diesel option.
2020 Land Rover Discovery
23 combined, 21 city/26 highway MPG
3.9 out of 5 by KBB experts; not yet rated by consumers on Edmunds
Land Rover is the only manufacturer to introduce 2020 diesel SUVs so far, the Discovery and the Range Rover. But even the least expensive of the latter are close to $70,000, which is why we’re focusing on the Discovery. In addition to offering a diesel engine, the 2020 Discovery also boasts a third-row seat, making this vehicle a little bit more friendly for family adventures. A wi-fi hotspot is also available, as are a panoramic sunroof and a power-gestured tailgate. Despite the luxury interior, it might be worth noting that the diesel engine’s gas mileage isn’t much to be excited about, though it does have a slight advantage over the Discovery’s 16 city and 21 highway gas alternative. It’s worth noting that the smaller Discovery Sport doesn’t offer a diesel option, only the full-size Discovery.
Best used diesel SUVs
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
25 combined, 22 city/30 highway MPG
4.3 out of 5 by KBB experts; 3.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (59 reviews)
While a diesel option doesn’t appear to be an option for 2019 or 2020, you may be able to find a used 2018 model in your area. The five-seat SUV only offers a diesel option for the Limited trim and above, hence, a relatively hefty price tag, even used. We found a handful of models, all around $40,000, within 200 miles of LendingTree’s Charlotte, N.C. headquarters. One of Jeep’s biggest advantages is its off-road capability as a 4×4, though we focused on the less-expensive 4×2. It can confidently handle snow, dirt and rocks. It also boasts an impressive tow rating that’s a bit above 6,000 pounds (except for the Sterling trim), so if that’s something you need, the Jeep Grand Cherokee might be a great option.
2018 BMW X5 xDrive35d
25 combined, 23 city/29 highway
4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.2 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (19 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA
Though the diesel version was discontinued after 2018, it’s still possible to find a diesel-powered 2018 X5 out there. BMW also produced its 3 Series wagon and sedan with a diesel variant in 2018, so the brand is no stranger to giving options. We found available models around $44,000, but remember, this price does include all-wheel drive. The X5 is a bit larger than others on this list, as it’s available with three rows of seating.
Financing your diesel SUV
When you’ve found the right diesel SUV for your needs, it’s time to finance. You can find financing offers through a dealership, bank, credit union or online lender, but it’s always best to shop around. Getting pre-approved might be a great way to do this. That way, you’ll know that you’re getting the best rate possible on your auto loan.
To select these SUVs, we considered available models with an MSRP or value of $80,000 or less. We also considered ratings, choosing diesel vehicles with ratings of 3 or higher from Kelley Blue Book experts or consumers on Edmunds when available. Safety ratings were also considered when available from the IIHS and NHTSA. All prices listed are for the base price of the diesel model indicated.
MSRPs in the article are accurate as of the date of publishing.