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Chevy And GMC Say Americans Don't Want Diesel Engines

Engine / 13 Comments

Unless it's in a pickup truck.

The Chevrolet Equinox and its corporate cousin, the GMC Terrain, are unique in the compact SUV segment because they each offer a 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder producing 137 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. We previously tested an Equinox with this engine and found that it easily matched its EPA highway fuel economy rating of 39 mpg.

That helped make it seem like the diesel-powered Equinox and Terrain were excellent alternatives to hybrid SUVs, like the Toyota RAV4 and upcoming Ford Escape, but some bad news emerged when GM announced the diesel engine would be offered in front-wheel drive configuration only for the 2020 model year. The news wasn't completely devastating, but now Chevrolet spokesman Kevin Kelly told The Car Connection that the diesel engine would be killed off entirely for 2020.

"We did discontinue the diesel engine option in the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox due to low demand," Kelly confirmed in a statement. GMC spokesperson, Stuart Fowle, confirmed with CarBuzz thatthe diesel-powered Terrain would also be discontinued for 2020. "We decided to eliminate the diesel option for 2020. It was about a 2% take-rate, so nearly all customers were opting for a gasoline engine. Unless you want the torque and the towing capacity, the price is a hard sell," Fowle explained. Since the diesel engine was a $2,400 upgrade, it's easy to see how few buyers opted for it.

Fowle did, however, reiterate that GMC is still committed to diesel engines in other applications. GM's heavy-duty trucks will continue to offer diesel engines for the foreseeable future while the mid-size Colorado and Canyon still offer an oil burner. And then there's the full-size Silverado and Sierra 1500, which are slated to receive a new 3.0-liter inline-six turbo-diesel any day now.

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Given how Ford recently announced that it would cancel plans for a diesel engine in the Transit Connect, it seems like automakers are jumping off the diesel bandwagon (at least on smaller vehicles) entirely. Mazda is getting ready to introduce a diesel engine in its CX-5, which will go uncontested since the Equinox and Terrain will no longer offer the diesel option.

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