For years, Sports Utility Vehicles have been one of the most popular choices among U.S. consumers, mostly due to the inexpensive gasoline that we all took for granted. Shortly after the gas prices skyrocketed, a shift in the car buying mentality has occurred. All of a sudden, many U.S. buyers started to look at more fuel efficient methods for transportation.
These were the same times when luxury automakers were battling with the strict emission regulations in the U.S. and fuel efficient diesel engines have been delayed due to these rules.
In an attempt to win the consumer’s confidence in diesel powerplants, BMW, Mercedes and Audi launched diesel powered vehicles of their most popular SUVs or SAV in BMW’s case. The new X5d, Mercedes GL and Audi Q7 TDI have been battling ever since to win the supremacy in this segment and several test reviews or comparisons have been printed.
Today, Wall Street Journal makes another attempt to put these three vehicles head-to-head. Let’s find out what their findings were.
As gasoline prices rose last year, and large, fuel-thirsty sport-utility vehicles fell from favor, car companies looked for ways to restore the SUV’s appeal.
Newer car-like models called crossovers are lighter and more efficient than earlier SUVs, but only slightly. And their fuel economy, while improved over older models, is poor in day-to-day use.
Now three European carmakers are selling large SUVs with diesel engines that promise the fuel economy of a midsize car, and the power and hauling capacity of a truck. The Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GL have been on the market for years with gasoline engines, but this year is the first time diesel versions of all three have been available in the U.S.
Driving them revealed the advantages of quiet, cleaner-burning modern diesels. But each vehicle also had frustrating qualities that left me wondering what might have been.
The BMW X5 35d was the sports car of the group, not only accelerating quickly but handling well enough to make me look forward to driving on twisting back roads. If you are considering buying a sporty luxury station wagon, the X5, which costs $51,200, would be a fitting choice.