Top 10 MPG Diesel Cars in the U.S.

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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Rising gas prices normally mean rising diesel prices, but we understand that some folks prefer the high levels of torque diesels engines normally provide. Not everyone is looking for a car that burns gasoline, and just because you’ve decided to go diesel doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fuel economy.

Modern diesel engines also provide significant environmental benefits with lower greenhouse gas emissions, too. Clean diesel technology, once considered a myth, has now arrived in automobiles.

You’ll have to be satisfied with German automakers and their offerings, as all ten cars on the list share that trait. Here are the top 10 MPG diesel cars currently being sold in the United States:

10. Volkswagen Touareg

2011 Volkswagen Touareg

2011 Volkswagen Touareg (image by VW.com)

Volkswagen provides the Touareg with a multitude of engine choices, including gasoline only, hybrid and turbo-diesel. The turbocharged diesel generates 221 hp and a massive 407 lb-ft of torque. The Touareg has an EPA estimated city mileage of 19 MPG, 28 MPG on the highway, for an EPA combined estimate of 22 MPG.

MSRP of VW’s mid-sized SUV starts at $48,770.

9. Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec

Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec

Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec (image by mbusa.com)

Mercedes’ E350 offers a 50-state emissions compliant diesel that while producing only 210 horsepower, generates a whopping 400 pound-feet of torque. EPA ratings are 22 MPG in the city, 33 MPG on the highway with a combined estimate of 26 MPG.

MSRP on the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec starts at $50,900.

8. BMW 335d

2011 BMW 335d

2011 BMW 335d (image by BMWUSA.com)

BMW’s first entry on the top 10 list is another torque monster. The twin-turbo diesel engine produces 265 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque, and does so elegantly in a luxurious package. EPA city mileage is rated at 23 MPG, while highway driving sees a much higher 36 MPG. This leads to an EPA estimated combined average of 27 MPG.

The base MSRP on the BMW 335d starts at $44,150.

7. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (automatic transmission)

2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (image by VW.com)

We realize station wagons haven’t really had much of a showing since their peak in the 1970s, but they do still make (and sell) them. A bit of an economy letdown with the automatic transmission, as it gets an EPA estimated of 29 MPG in the city, 39 MPG on the highway for a combined EPA average of 33 MPG.

The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen has a starting MSRP of $26,095.

6. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (manual transmission)

2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (image by VW.com)

While station wagons may not be cool, you can feel cool piloting one with a slick six-speed manual transmission. Expect an EPA estimated of 30 MPG in the city, 42 MPG on the highway for a combined EPA average of 34MPG.

The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen has a starting MSRP of $24,995.

5. Audi A3

2011 Audi A3

2011 Audi A3 (image by AudiUSA.com)

As the fourth German automaker to appear on this list, Audi offers an entry level luxury experience with their impressive A3. The A3 offers an EPA estimated city mileage of 30 MPG, highway estimate of 42 MPG, for an EPA estimated average of 34 MPG, just like the rest of the cars that follow.

The Audi A3 has a starting MSRP of $30,250.

4. Volkswagen Jetta (manual transmission)

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

2011 Volkswagen Jetta (image by vw.com)

We may love six-speed manual transmissions, but the majority of the public does not, so this car will make up a minority of the Jettas being sold in 2011. The Jetta offers an EPA estimated city mileage of 30 MPG, highway estimate of 42 MPG, for an EPA estimated average of 34 MPG.

The 2011 Jetta with the six-speed manual transmission has a starting MSRP of $22,995.

3. Volkswagen Golf (manual transmission)

2011 Volkswagen Golf

2011 Volkswagen Golf (image by vw.com)

We’ll admit, we’re big fans of the Volkswagen Golf, even with the TDI engine. And we also prefer the slick snick-snick of the smooth shifting six-speed manual transmission to the automatic version, and it also offers the exact same fuel efficiency. We understand that the automatic version will have more mainstream fans, though. It offers EPA estimated city mileage of 30 MPG, highway estimate of 42 MPG, for an EPA estimated average of 34 MPG.

The 2011 Volkswagen Golf with manual transmissions has a starting MSRP of $23,225 for the two door model and $23,885 for the four door sedan.

2. Volkswagen Jetta (automatic transmission)

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

2011 Volkswagen Jetta (image by vw.com)

The Jetta or the Golf is an interesting proposition, and it comes down the reality that most Americans will avoid hatchbacks, just as they will the six-speed transmission both cars are available with. The Jetta offers EPA estimated city mileage of 30 MPG, highway estimate of 42 MPG, for an EPA estimated average of 34 MPG.

The Jetta with an automatic transmission has a starting MSRP of $24,095.

1. Volkswagen Golf (automatic transmission)

2011 Volkswagen Golf

2011 Volkswagen Golf (image by vw.com)

Volkswagen caps off their impressive performance in high MPG diesels with the first place spot added to their huge haul. It offers EPA estimated city mileage of 30 MPG, highway estimate of 42 MPG, for an EPA estimated average of 34 MPG.

The 2011 Volkswagen Golf with an automatic transmission has a starting MSRP of $24,325 for the two door model and $24,985 for the four door sedan.

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