Diesel powered cars offer better fuel economy and performance than petrol cars, however they also add reliability to the equation which is something that goes a long way. In the States diesel cars have experienced a bad name for themselves. This is because in 1980 General Motors made their 350ci V8 engine run on diesel. This sounds brilliant however the results were shocking all it did was increase fuel economy and very little else. When the V8 ran on petrol it was exceptionally quick but when they did the conversion to diesel it was desperately slow.
However Mercedes Benz decided to try their luck and in the 1980s they had a nice sized range of diesel cars. Mercedes really knew what they were doing with the diesel engine because these cars offered great reliability and power although they sounded very noisy and smoked a lot. When Volkswagen produced a diesel car they did it pretty good job also but they soon grew a reputation for blowing blue smoke out of the exhaust.
Mercedes and Volkswagen produced diesel cars throughout the 1990s and these guys dominated the United States market. However although they were becoming a lot cleaner and sounding a lot smoother but still they were a hard car to sell. This is because they still could not produce an acceptable amount of horsepower that the majority of people were after.
Today almost every car manufacturer throughout the world is producing a good powerful reliable diesel cars. So if you are in the United States just forget everything you know about diesel cars! They are definitely a hell of a lot better than when you probably remember.
One of the biggest problems with diesel cars in the past was that they were sluggish and slow however with technology always advancing and car manufacturers producing better cars there are now several diesel cars available that out perform their petrol versions. The BMW 120d does 0 - 60 in less than 8 seconds and has 163 bhp and yet it can do almost 50 miles to the gallon this is phenomenal.
The Mercedes C320 CDI SE produces 224bhp and can do 0 - 60 in less than 7 seconds and will still do 48 miles per gallon on the motorway. There are very few cars that will do this especially keeping a good fuel economy and producing the performance on that scale.
In North America diesels are not that popular because the diesel they get over there is a lot lower quality than here in the United Kingdom this is because in North America their diesel has a higher sulfur content and this plays havoc with modern day diesel engines.
However the North Americans will have some hope soon as oil refineries are starting to produce ultra low sulfur diesel fuel which will reduce the sulfur content from 500ppm to 15ppm which can only be good news!