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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This response from Jan-Wilem Vester of Saab USA was gleaned from another well-known Saab forum, in response to why Saab isn't in a huge hurry to bring diesel engines into North America, in particular the US.

SaabKen

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Re: not from GM
Posted by J,W. Vester - Saab USA (more from J,W. Vester - Saab USA) on Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:26:21
In Reply to: Re: not from GM, No.9, Sun, 29 Apr 2007 09:32:16

Trust us: Saab has looked at the possibilities of bringing a diesel to the United States several times. Unfortunately, the cost of federalizing one of our excellent European diesel engines is so high, that this would translate into a rather unattractive purchase price in dollars. Combine this with the higher price for diesel fuel in the United States compared to gasoline (quite the opposite from the situation in Europe) and you'll understand that there's no plausible business case to be made. The good news: for 2007, Saab offers no less than 7 models (basicaly all bodystyles of the 9-3 and 9-5) with gas engines hat deliver 30 mpg EPA Highway. Sometimes, the answer to the question is closer than many think...
 

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I don't want to get on Mr. Vester's or SAAB USA's bad side, but this seems like a little "spin" to me.

Let me point out that the wording seems a bit skewed. SAAB only has two models for sale in North America (9³ and 9⁵) which get exactly 30 mpg highway (a rather unrealistic scenario). They have five body style variations (not seven) of these two models which get 30 highway mpg:

* 9³ Convertible in 2.0T spec only with automatic transmission and using premium unleaded gasoline (manual transmission or Aero spec has worse fuel economy)

* 9³ Sport Sedan in 2.0T spec with either automatic or manual transmission using premium unleaded gasoline (Aero spec has worse fuel economy)

* 9³ Sport Combi in 2.0T spec with either automatic or manual transmission using premium unleaded gasoline (Aero spec has worse fuel economy)

* 9⁵ Sedan with manual transmission and using premium unleaded gasoline (automatic transmission gets worse fuel economy)

* 9⁵ Sport Combi with manual transmission and using premium unleaded gasoline (automatic transmission gets worse fuel economy)

Seems to me that's only five model variations that get 30 highway miles-per-gallon depending on transmission type and model spec according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Maybe they're counting the 9³ SS and 9³ SC with the manual transmission and automatic transmission as two separate "models"?

Also, for 2008 the way the EPA tests fuel economy is changing and all vehicles are expected to have worse mileage results than in 2007 under the new testing rules.

I'm sure SAAB USA would rather not bring it up in this conversation, but the other model they sell in N.A., the 9⁷X, gets only 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway for a combined mpg of only 17 mpg on regular unleaded gasoline. :cry:

So the absolute MAXIMUM fuel economy you can expect in any SAAB model in North America is 30 U.S. mpg highway average. Most people get closer to the "city" economy the EPA quotes. So if you split the difference between city and highway miles most SAABs get around 25 miles-per-gallon combined (with Aero-spec 9-3s getting 21 mpg combined). The average fuel economy of a mid-size car in North America is 21 U.S. mpg "city" and 27 U.S. mpg "highway" (making the combined a little more than SAABs').

When the BioPower SAABs are introduced to the U.S. the're going to have an even harder time as the fuel economy running E85 is around 25% worse than straight gasoline (dropping the mpg to around 19 mpg combined) and I'm sure they'll have to report that on the window sticker at the dealer.

Compare that to the 1.9-liter diesel powerplant SAAB offers in Europe, which gets around 33 U.S. mpg city, 53 U.S. mpg highway, and 44 U.S. mpg "combined".

To put that into perspective, that's better combined fuel economy than a Honda Accord Hybrid, Lexus GS 450h (hybrid), Nissan Altima Hybrid, or Toyota Camry Hybrid.

If the NOx emissions of diesels can be knocked down to acceptable levels through such innovations as BLUETEC and other urea-injection systems, I see diesels as being "cleaner" than gasoline-powered hybrids. Plus you can run them on biodiesel (preferably B100).

Also available in Europe but not N.A. is the 1.8i model 9³, which gets 22 U.S. mpg city, 40 U.S. mpg highway, and 31 U.S. mpg combined. Why is this model not for offer in N.A.?

Where's SAAB's hybrid in the production schedule? It must be after 2011 because we pretty much know what's coming out before then with possibly a surprise or two, but after the Stockholm Auto Show last year where the BioPower 9-3 Plug-in Hybrid Convertible debuted we never heard another peep about the hybrid's future with SAAB. Hopefully they dumped the idea in favor of getting a version of GM's E-Flex platform.

SAAB used to be a leader in fuel efficiency by using turbocharging and smaller-displacement engines with fewer cylinders. Now cars with six-cylinders seem to get around the same fuel economy as SAABs. SAAB needs to somehow lead the pack again in this category, IMHO. Whether it be through variable compression (SVC) or EV w/ range extender or whatever. SAAB doesn't have as much of a leg-up on the competition as they used to.
 

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SaabKen said:
Trust us: Saab has looked at the possibilities of bringing a diesel to the United States several times. Unfortunately, the cost of federalizing one of our excellent European diesel engines is so high, that this would translate into a rather unattractive purchase price in dollars.


By "federalizing" I assume he's referring to allowing the model to be tested to certify that it meets the same clean-air requirements other diesels sold in the U.S. have to. That would require serious filtering and/or urea-injection technology. So it's fair to say with SAAB's miniscule market share in the U.S. it's not worth it financially. Pity, really.

Combine this with the higher price for diesel fuel in the United States compared to gasoline (quite the opposite from the situation in Europe)
It depends on where you live. Where I live regular unleaded gasoline is higher in price per gallon than diesel. You travel a lot further on that gallon of diesel as well.

The good news: for 2007, Saab offers no less than 7 models (basicaly all bodystyles of the 9-3 and 9-5) with gas engines hat deliver 30 mpg EPA Highway. Sometimes, the answer to the question is closer than many think...
I don't understand what the "answer to the question" was. Was it "what's the best fuel economy I can expect from SAAB in North America"?

While SAAB has two models which have seven different body style variants/transmission combinations capable of 30 mpg highway, let me point out (using the same criteria):

The BMW 328ci (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 328ci (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 328ci Convertible (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 328i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 328i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 328i Sport Wagon (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 525i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 525i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 530i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW 530i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW Z4 3.0i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW Z4 3.0i (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW Z4 3.0si (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW Z4 3.0si (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW Z4 Coupe (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The BMW Z4 Coupe (3.0-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The AUDI A3 (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The AUDI A3 (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The AUDI A4 (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The AUDI A4 (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 34 mpg highway

The AUDI A4 Avant Quattro (2.0-liter 4-cylinder AWD) with manual transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The AUDI A4 Avant Quattro (2.0-liter 4-cylinder AWD) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The AUDI A4 Cabriolet Quattro (2.0-liter 4-cylinder AWD) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The AUDI A4 Quattro (2.0-liter 4-cylinder AWD) with manual transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The AUDI A4 Quattro (2.0-liter 4-cylinder AWD) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Ovlov S40 FWD (2.4-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Ovlov S40 FWD (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Ovlov S40 FWD (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Ovlov S60 FWD (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Ovlov V50 FWD (2.4-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Ovlov V50 FWD (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Ovlov V50 FWD (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The VW Eos (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW Eos (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The VW GTI (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW GTI (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW Jetta (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW Jetta (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW Jetta (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The VW Jetta (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The VW New Beetle (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW New Beetle (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The VW New Beetle Convertible (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The VW New Beetle Convertible (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The VW Passat (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW Passat (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The VW Passat Wagon (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The VW Passat Wagon (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The VW Rabbit (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The VW Rabbit (2.5-liter 5-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Lexus IS250 (2.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Lexus ES350 (3.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Mercedes-Bens E320 BLUETEC (3.0-liter 6-cylinder diesel) with automatic transmission gets 35 mpg highway

The Acura TSX (2.4-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Acura TSX (2.4-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Chevrolet Malibu MAXX (3.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Chevrolet Malibu (2.2-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 34 mpg highway

The Chevrolet Malibu (3.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Chevrolet Monte Carlo (3.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Chevrolet Impala (3.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Pontiac G5/Pursuit (2.2-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 34 mpg highway

The Pontiac G5/Pursuit (2.4-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 34 mpg highway

The Pontiac G5/Pursuit (2.4-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Pontiac G5/Pursuit (2.2-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Pontiac G6 (2.4-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 33 mpg highway

The Pontiac G6 (3.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Pontiac Grand Prix (3.8-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Pontiac Solstice (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Pontiac Vibe (1.8-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 36 mpg highway

The Pontiac Vibe (1.8-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 34 mpg highway

The Porsche Boxster (2.7-liter 6-cylinder) with (5-spd) manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Porsche Boxster (2.7-liter 6-cylinder) with (6-spd) manual transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Porsche Cayman (2.7-liter 6-cylinder) with (5-spd) manual transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Porsche Cayman (2.7-liter 6-cylinder) with (6-spd) manual transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Saturn Aura (3.5-liter 6-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Saturn Aura Hybrid (2.4-liter 4-cylinder hybrid) with automatic transmission gets 35 mpg highway

The Saturn Ion (2.2-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 35 mpg highway

The Saturn Ion (2.4-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 34 mpg highway

The Saturn Ion (2.4-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Saturn Ion (2.2-liter 4-cylinder) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Saturn Ion (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 30 mpg highway

The Saturn Sky (2.0-liter 4-cylinder) with manual transmission gets 31 mpg highway

The Saturn Vue Hybrid SUV (2.4-liter 4-cylinder hybrid) with automatic transmission gets 32 mpg highway

The Subaru Legacy AWD (2.5-liter 4-cylinder AWD) with automatic transmission gets 30 mpg highway


The fuel economy bar has been raised by SAAB's competitors and the marketplace as a whole. Have they noticed? Can SAAB catch-up?

Things are only going to get worse with BMW coming out with the 1-series in North America, utilizing such "mild hybrid" technologies as regenerative braking, stop-start, and de-loading the alternator from the engine during braking and AUDI coming out with the A1 in N.A. in '09 (before SAAB even has ANY of their next-gen models out yet and certainly before the 9¹ or 9² is produced).

You might be wondering why I'm wasting my time and acting like a jerk to go point-by-point on this, but I feel like someone has to push SAAB to keep-up technologically. 30 mpg is not really a benchmark SAAB hits that nobody else can though that doesn't stop them from touting this. I love SAAB but I see them falling behind or being a "me too" competitor in the marketplace. They need to work harder to differentiate themselves and be better than the competition in various areas, one of those being fuel economy, IMHO.
 

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I think offering diesel variants does much more for the image of the brand rather than offering a true advantage. At least you're giving consumers a choice in the matter, whether theyre right or not, they feel it, and thats what matters.
 

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"Combine this with the higher price for diesel fuel in the United States compared to gasoline (quite the opposite from the situation in Europe)..."


...and where is diesel more expensive than gas? Not in the Seattle area!! My last fillup (yesterday) had regular at $3.35/g, midgrade $3.45/g, premium at $3.55/g and diesel was down at $3.07 per gallon.

Also leaves out the fact that the diesel can likely go twice as far on the same amount of fuel, combines to create quite a substantial savings over a year!
 

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20Ted said:
...and where is diesel more expensive than gas? Not in the Seattle area!! My last fillup (yesterday) had regular at $3.35/g, midgrade $3.45/g, premium at $3.55/g and diesel was down at $3.07 per gallon.
Well, I'm writing this on the same day a new report came out stating the city I live in has the worst air quality in the nation. But they should notice at GM too as Detroit made the top-ten list.

You can see why I've been very leery about diesel in the past but I'm coming around with these new emissions mitigation technologies coming out.

Actually, I think the West Coast of the U.S. is the exception where diesel is less expensive per gallon than gasoline. The rest of the country has cheaper gasoline prices because they don't have the clean air laws that make them run certain "blends" like we do on the West Coast.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
From one of these ? :cool:




TheRedBaron said:
They should take a huge diesel that they use in their heavy duty trucks, slap a turbo on it, and shoehorn it into a 9-5. That would be 'teh fast'
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not sure if this would look good on the side of a SportCombi :cheesy:


TheRedBaron said:
That would be sweet if it could fit, but I was thinking more like this: :cheesy:


That's from a Chevy Silverado, I believe
 

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I think the problem with diesel is it always gets expience in the winter when people use it to heat their homes in the winter. During the summer it usually stays down, but come winter gas and diesel switch.
 

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Quickening said:
I think the problem with diesel is it always gets expience in the winter when people use it to heat their homes in the winter. During the summer it usually stays down, but come winter gas and diesel switch.
People use diesel fuel to heat their homes in winter?

Mile-for-mile diesel is almost always cheaper than gasoline. I know B100 biodiesel is quite a bit more expensive and gets fewer mpg than petrodiesel, but I'd personally be willing to pay that premium for the greater good. Even with the biodiesel fuel economy "hit" over petrodiesel, it's still much more economical than the gasoline (or technically "gasohol" (E10)) I'm using today.
 

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SaabKen said:
This response from Jan-Wilem Vester of Saab USA was gleaned from another well-known Saab forum, in response to why Saab isn't in a huge hurry to bring diesel engines into North America, in particular the US.

SaabKen

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Re: not from GM
Posted by J,W. Vester - Saab USA (more from J,W. Vester - Saab USA) on Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:26:21
In Reply to: Re: not from GM, No.9, Sun, 29 Apr 2007 09:32:16

Trust us: Saab has looked at the possibilities of bringing a diesel to the United States several times. Unfortunately, the cost of federalizing one of our excellent European diesel engines is so high, that this would translate into a rather unattractive purchase price in dollars. Combine this with the higher price for diesel fuel in the United States compared to gasoline (quite the opposite from the situation in Europe) and you'll understand that there's no plausible business case to be made. The good news: for 2007, Saab offers no less than 7 models (basicaly all bodystyles of the 9-3 and 9-5) with gas engines hat deliver 30 mpg EPA Highway. Sometimes, the answer to the question is closer than many think...
Ok, but once federalised surely the same rather excellent European diesel engines could also be shoehorned into the G6, the Malibu, the Aura and I'm sure many other vehicles.
Now he is praising the 30 mpg EPA, what would the diesel do? 40? That is a 33% improvement in economy. Bigger picture this could be a job that benefits the whole of GM, not just Saab.
I don't know what the current regulations are, but DZL Saab brought a 93 Diesel over here a few years ago and found it rather sailed through inspection etc.
Diesel is the same or higher price as regular petrol in the UK, does not stop the march of diesel buyers over there. Higher mileage drivers benefit.
http://www.newyorkgasprices.com/index.aspx?fuel=C
Indicates Diesel and Gas are not far apart anyway.

Finally, lets face it in the US there are many more higher mileage drivers as people live further apart and will drive those distances - certainly I don't think of it as a long drive to do the 250 miles from NYC to Syracuse and the same again back in a weekend (thats like Brighton to Manchester or Stevenage to Newcastle!), neither something I would fancy setting out to do at 5pm on a Friday.

Nice arguement, but no plausable business case when VAG, Daimler are all doing it as Jim Royale would say, My *****
 

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1985 Gripen said:
Also available in Europe but not N.A. is the 1.8i model 9³, which gets 22 U.S. mpg city, 40 U.S. mpg highway, and 31 U.S. mpg combined. Why is this model not for offer in N.A.?
I agree wholeheartedly with the rest of your post, see mine above, but this model is best left to whiher and die. By comparison to the 150hp lpt, ugh. Honestly, this engine is too small for the car and has to work too hard. It is there to achieve a pricepoint to sell the car at £17515 for that car (thats $35000 as a direct conversion!), compared to the £28245 for the V6 Aero!
Though you do beg the question of why the 150 and 175 hp options do not exist over in the USA. Though Audi do the same, the 163hp 1.8T A4 is not available in the USA. I guess it is a European 'performance saloon' thing.
 

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SMHarman said:
Ok, but once federalised surely the same rather excellent European diesel engines could also be shoehorned into the G6, the Malibu, the Aura and I'm sure many other vehicles.
True, except that I think GM sources that engine from FIAT, so I don't know what kind of capacity FIAT can put-out.

Now he is praising the 30 mpg EPA, what would the diesel do? 40? That is a 33% improvement in economy.
I did the math in an earlier post. The 1.9-liter diesel in European SAABs gets 53 miles-per-U.S.-gallon highway.

Bigger picture this could be a job that benefits the whole of GM, not just Saab.
As I mentioned earlier in this post I believe GM sources the SAAB diesel engine from FIAT, but GM is putting their own 2.9-liter diesel into the 2009 Cadillac CTS for the European market. Why don't they give this engine to SAAB to tune with their turbo technology for the next-gen 9⁵? Let SAAB (GM's biofuel specialists) optimize it for biodiesel and use the "green" factor as a selling point. Or better yet, let SAAB have a smaller GM diesel engine if one exists to do with it what they like.

I don't know what the current regulations are, but DZL Saab brought a 93 Diesel over here a few years ago and found it rather sailed through inspection etc.
The problem is that in 2007 the laws changed regarding diesels in the U.S. and now all diesels have to have nitrous-oxide (NOx) emissions as low as a gasoline-powered car. Diesels have a tough time with NOx emissions, but some companies (Porsche, BMW, AUDI, VW) have licensed Mercedes' BLUETEC technology which injects an urea-solution into the exhaust, which bonds with the nitrogen, leaving only oxygen. This, in conjunction with NOx filters can bring the emissions low enough for the vehicles to be sold in the States. SAAB's problem is that they're saying this is too expensive. Maybe for SAAB alone, but for The General? Surely GM can foot the R&D cash and share the technology across its brands as you allude to in your post.

Diesel is the same or higher price as regular petrol in the UK, does not stop the march of diesel buyers over there. Higher mileage drivers benefit.
That's because it seems to me the average European consumer is smarter than the average American one. :roll:
 

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SMHarman said:
I agree wholeheartedly with the rest of your post, see mine above, but this model is best left to whiher and die. By comparison to the 150hp lpt, ugh. Honestly, this engine is too small for the car and has to work too hard. It is there to achieve a pricepoint to sell the car at £17515 for that car (thats $35000 as a direct conversion!), compared to the £28245 for the V6 Aero!
Though you do beg the question of why the 150 and 175 hp options do not exist over in the USA. Though Audi do the same, the 163hp 1.8T A4 is not available in the USA. I guess it is a European 'performance saloon' thing.
The 53 miles-per-U.S.-gallon vehicle is the 1.9-liter turbodiesel outputting 120 bhp.

The 150 bhp 1.9-liter turbodiesel gets "only" 50 miles-per-U.S.-gallon highway w/ manual transmission (47 with auto trans), still more than most hybrid vehicles sold in the U.S. people praise as "green".
 

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1985 Gripen said:
It depends on where you live. Where I live regular unleaded gasoline is higher in price per gallon than diesel. You travel a lot further on that gallon of diesel as well.
I've seen diesel around here for up to 70 cents a gallon more than regular gasoline... So im not sure at this point if its worth it, what are other peoples prices?

Regulars just at around $3.00 and i saw diesel at $3.78 the other day
 
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