As tough (by U.S. standards, anyway) new fuel-emissions regulations begin to take effect—minimum mileage per gallon will double over the next decade—diesel has come to be seen as a viable stopgap, a bridge on the road to a zero-emissions destination. This year, oil-burning engines that have long been European fixtures are finally chugging across the Atlantic in the kinds of bodies that will make you want to choose a different pump.
Audi A8 TDI (pictured top)
This leather-decked, LED-lit four-door goes from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds while returning an econobox-like 36 mpg. Or put another way: You'll drive nearly 800 miles between fill-ups. There are even 10-inch monitors mounted on the headrests to entertain backseat passengers.
Starting at $83,000; audiusa.com
Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured bottom left)
Until now, the easiest place to find a diesel-powered Grand Cherokee was in a European mountain range. But Jeep's new EcoDiesel V6 engine—available in the Limited, Overland, and Summit models—gets 30 mpg while generating more torque than the Hemi V8 version of the same car.
Starting at $41,300; jeep.com
BMW 328D (pictured bottom right)
The best compact sport sedan in the world just got better. As of this summer, the ubiquitous 3 Series has a turbodiesel engine that gets 43 mpg—more than European favorites like the diesel-powered Volkswagen Golf and 7 miles more than the gasoline version of the 320i.
Starting at $40,600; bmwusa.com
+ Coming Soon: The Diesel Hybrid
After years of marrying outstanding off-road capability and sumptuous luxury with less-than-laudable gas mileage, the Range Rover now comes in a hybrid diesel-electric version that builds on its four-wheel-drive reputation (courtesy of a custom-built turbocharged V6) while getting a Ford Fiesta–like 36 miles per gallon. The catch? It's available only in the U.K. (with a months-long wait list). But patience, mudhoppers: It's rumored to be landing on our shores later this year.