Loving the Diesel

Farmer Iron

Trip to Germany got me in touch with smooth-running diesel vehicle and wishing for a good choice here.

Published on: December 9, 2013

Farmers love diesel tractors and combines, they have the torque needed to get the job done, and they're essentially more economical than gasoline engines might be in the same application. But what about cars?

The arrival of common rail diesel technology in commercial applications has been a boon to users of these high-tech engines. As I think about my trip to Germany for Agritechnica one thought comes to mind, and it wasn't from the show. It came from the few days I spent after the show tooling around in a rental car - a diesel rental car - while moving at Autobahn speeds.

The smoothness of that machine (OK it was a BMW) as my wife and I traveled through Northern Germany, was tremendous. I never had any lag when I needed to accelerate, in fact the low-end diesel torque was welcome.

I paid a pretty penny to rent that car, and probably am not a target customer to buy a BMW, but I lament the fact that we don't have better diesel choices here in the U.S. All this "hybrid" car talk is fine, but that's a complicated vehicle with a big battery under the back seat. With diesel we have 100-year-old tech that we understand better than any new tech.

In fact, there has been talk of diesel-hybrid vehicles, which would get better fuel mileage and an improved emission profile in a hybrid package.

But without the grins and giggles of a hybrid design a diesel engine significantly boosts economy for even big vehicles. So while my farmer friends can enjoy the power of diesel in their tractors and combines, I'm still waiting for more diesel choices besides just what Volkswagen has to offer.

I just think I'm missing out on something, and that Germany trip proved.