10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs for 2021

Following a previous article where we covered some of the high-mpg SUVs worth waiting for in 2021 from the small, mid-size and full-size categories, in this section we list 10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs for the 2021 model year.

The SUVs are great vehicles for hauling people and their cargo and these days they are available in various styles and equipment levels. Buyers have various priorities in mind when shopping for this kind of vehicle and knowing that the brands have a wide range of options in the offer. While some prioritize the high-performance models, majority balancing between price, performance, efficiency and equipment levels. Still, many customers don’t hesitate to buy premium-equipped, high-price, luxury models.

10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs

Some of the most-efficient Diesel-powered SUVs for 2021

While diesel-powered models were the synonyms for the efficiency before the introduction of the hybrid, PHEV and battery powertrains, these days a number of diesel SUVs is on the declining curve. A diesel scandal with German brands contributed to that and since than German-made models come to the US with no diesel option in the equipment list. However, we witnessed also discontinuation of several recently added diesel options for the 2020 model year including Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain and Jaguar F- Pace. Still, the diesel power, efficiency and low-rev torque have got a second chance in the large SUVs and General Motors brings several all-new versions with the diesel mills. Mazda added recently a diesel unit to the SUV range as well as Jeep while Land Rover continue to have this choice on the offer.

2021 Mazda CX-5

2021 Mazda CX-5

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is a rare compact SUV that should return with a diesel option in the equipment list to the US after the discontinuation of this option by several brands due to slow sales.

A diesel-powered Mazda CX-5 relies on the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D inline-4 unit with a sequential bi-turbo setup. This unit promises fast, liner and smooth response with high-mpg ratings. The peak power is 168 hp with the max torque of 290 lb-ft available at just 2, 000 rpm.

When it comes to efficiency, a diesel-motivated Mazda CX-5 should return 27 mpg city, 30 highway or 28 mpg combined and that with the four-wheel drive.

Cost, Availability:

The next 2021 Mazda CX-5 should reach dealers late this year with similar pricing. Mazda hasn’t confirmed yet what trim options will offer the diesel option. The previous version started form $41, 000.

2021 Land Rover Discovery

2021 Land Rover Discovery

The next 2021 Land Rover Discovery comes to the market in the refreshed form and the focus should be on the hybrid technology. However, the Disco should also repeat the diesel option.

The updated Land Rover Discovery should appear with the 48-Volt mild-hybrid technology to augment efficiency and keep emissions under the check. While the European versions should combine the mild-hybrid setup with diesel burners, the brand will likely have a different approach in the US. Anyway, the Disco should again be available with the turbo-diesel power the stateside.

A 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 unit coupled with the 8-speed automatic transmission makes 254 hp and torque of 443 lb-ft. With the diesel unit under the hood the Disco should manage 21 mpg city, 26 highway or 23 combined.

Cost, Availability:

The updated 2021 Land Rover Discovery with the mild-hybrid technology should debut by the year-end. The diesel-powered version should be available from about $54, 000.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Among the declining number of diesel-powered SUVs, the new-generation 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee should also have an oil burner in its inventory.

The redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee should come larger, with evolutionary staying updates and based on the Alfa Romeo-sourced platform. Like other recently upgraded Jeeps, the Grand Cherokee should also benefit from the mild-hybrid technology with the plug-in hybrid version expected in the latter phase. However, the diesel unit should be on the offer as well.

A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 should produce around 260 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy should be slightly better than the current 21 mpg city and 28 highways.

Cost, Availability:

The redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee should debut around the mid-2020 with a more premium price than the current version.

2021 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban

2021 Chevy Tahoe/Suburban

GM’s large, truck-based SUVs, Tahoe and Suburban are all-new for the 2021 model year and among various upgrades the turbodiesel engine is available to help them take palce of our lsit of 10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs

Two full-size models share the platform with recently reworked Silverado 1500 and both switched to the independent rear suspension. Both models are also larger with significant gains in the cargo and passenger capacity. The new-generation Tahoe/Suburban are also more refined inside the cabin and equipped with the new infotainment and safety tech.

The full-size SUVs return with the upgraded V-8 engines but a new 3.0-liter Duramax inline-6 mixed with the 10-speed automatic transmission will be the most-efficient option providing also low-rev torque. The engine makes 277 hp and torque of 460 lb-ft. The fuel economy is up to 33 mpg highway in the case of the Silverado truck. The Tahoe and Suburban should achieve around 30 and 25 mpg highway respectively.

Cost, Availability:

The new-gen Tahoe and Suburban will go on sale in mid-2020. The price range will start from $50, 000 for the Tahoe and from $51, 000 for larger Suburban.

2021 GMC Yukon

2021 GMC Yukon

In a similar manner as the previous Chevy models, the 2021 GMC Yukon gets a place on our list of 10 most-efficiency diesel and luxury SUVs thanks to the new Duramax turbodiesel engine.

The Yukon transitioned also to GM’s new truck platform and has grown in size in the process. The rear independent suspension brings benefits in ride and interior comfort. The redesigned cabin is equipped with multiple large screens and premium materials.

The new generation Yukon benefits also in efficiency and low-end torque thanks to the inclusion of the same Duramax inline-6 engine as the Tahoe and Suburban. We will see what EPA rating the Yukon diesel will achieve but it will definability be the most-efficient version.

Cost, Availability:

The new GMC Yukon will reach dealers this summer with the starting price of around $55, 000.

Some of the most-efficient luxury SUVs:

Modern luxury SUVs are trying to do best on all fronts. They come with dramatic styling, premium cabins, loads of convenience features and high-performance powertrains. Many of them come also with the all-wheel drive by default. These models, however, balancing between the sporty ride and fuel efficiency. Still, the proliferation of the hybrid and PHEV versions help them to achieve better EPA scores. 

2021 Volvo XC60

2021 Volvo XC60

Volvo builds some of the most sophisticated models in the automobile industry and it deserves also to be on our list of 10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs. Every Volvo is now available with some form of the electrified powertrain.

The stylish and compact 2021 Volvo CX60 comes with excellent cabin and standard safety equipment but there is also the plug-in hybrid version with the recently improved pure-electric range. Still, the Volvo T8 balances between the power and efficiency providing up to 415 hp and torque of 494 lb-ft in the Polestar Engineered version. A supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with the electric motor and battery setup makes 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque in the lower-output version.

At the efficiency level, the XC60 PHEV manages 27 mpg combined. The pure-electric range is 19 miles. However, the T5 and T6 powertrains without the electric setup perform well with up to 25 and 23 mpg combined respectively.

Cost, Availability:

The updated 2021 Volvo XC60 should go on sale late in the year. The most-efficient version should start at about $54, 000.

2021 Volvo XC90

2021 Volvo XC90

The larger, three-row 2021 Volvo XC90 is similarly styled and equipped as the previous Volvo SUV and it is also among 10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs on our list.

The mid-size XC90 shares the power setup with the smaller XC60 model and a 2.0-liter turbo and supercharged four-cylinder engine mixed with the 87-kW electric motor and battery outputs 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. The electrified XC90 should travel 18 miles on the pure-battery propulsion while the combined range should be 26 mpg. The T5 and T6 versions should achieve 24 and 21 mpg combined respectively.

Cost, Availability:

The next Volvo XC90 should appear in the last quarter of the year with similar pricing with the starting point around $67, 000 for the PHEV version.

2021 Lexus UX

2021 Lexus UX

Lexus is one of the first brands with the hybrid powertrain in the SUV market and its models get also good scores on EPA testing.

A recently all-new Lexus UX gets attention with sharp styling coming also with a highly comfortable cabin and lots of standard tech features. The model can be had with a large 10.3-inch center display among other highlights.

The 2021 Lexus UX hybrid will also perform well when the efficiency is in the focus. A setup consisting of the 2.0-liter inline-four engine and dual-motor installation delivers 181 hp combined. While this mix isn’t impressive on acceleration, the fuel efficiency stands at an impressive 41 mpg city, 38 highway or 39 mpg combined.

Cost, Availability:

The 2021 Lexus UX will demand at least about $35, 000 with the release date by the year-end.

2021 Lexus NX

2021 Lexus NX

Another Lexus on our list of 10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs is the NX model which could switch to the new generation for the 2021 model year.

The next Lexus NX should again be a rugged-styled SUV with a premium-comfort cabin and tons of standard equipment. The sources indicate it should offer the plug-in hybrid version. While these statements are yet to be confirmed, surely, the next NX will again be in the group of the most frugal, compact SUVs available.

The current NX 300h combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors and battery pack. The NX hybrid is the all-wheel drive by default with the net output of 194 hp. The EPA scores are around 33 mpg for the city drive and highway at 30 mpg.

Cost, Availability:

The potentially, all-new 2021 Lexus NX should arrive by the end of the year. The price range should start around $39, 500.

2021 Range Rover Evoque

2021 Range Rover Evoque

The sleek and fresh Range Rover Evoque makes also on our list of 10 most-efficient diesel and luxury SUVs thanks to the brand’s recent electrification of the powertrain range.

The last year all-new Evoque embodies the brand’s newest design language mixed with sporty handling, above-average off-roading and high-level equipment availability.

The Range Rover Evoque gets 296 hp and torque of 295 lb-ft from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine assisted by the 48-Volt mild-hybrid setup. This system should manage up to 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

Cost, Availability:

The upcoming 2021 Evoque should reach dealers later in the year with the price tag starting from about 43, 000.

Conclusion:

While diesel engines are available in decreasing numbers with the smaller SUVs the large, truck-based models are perfect candidates for the oilers and more models are introducing this option to the equipment list. The diesel-sipping engines are a pricy option but they improve the poor fuel economy of large SUVs providing also the low-rev torque important for towing. The next model years will bring more full-size SUVs with the diesel power in the inventory.

The luxury SUVs will also benefit from the diesel power but they will mostly appear with the large size versions while brands will rely more on the electrified powertrains to improve their EPA scores.

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