Got Diesel?


When’s the last time you looked forward to driving a minivan? Years back, I was gallivanting around Europe breaking hearts, causing diplomatic crises, and generally being irresponsible. When a friend’s parents came to visit, they rented an Opel Zafira turbodiesel (I’ve no idea if it was a 2.0, 2.2, or the 2.2 hi-po) mated to a slick manual transmission. “Oh great,” everybody else thought, “it’s just as cool as a regular minivan, except slower!” I meanwhile finagled the keys and found that it would light up the fronts at will, and proceeded to drift it through every roundabout I could find. From this brief and highly scientific experiment, I decided that turbodiesel makes everything better.
Back in ‘Merica, where Opel exists only on our game consoles, it’s long been a painful truth to the disciples of torque that on this side of the pond if you want a 21st century diesel car you have to fork over your money to ze Germans, mostly in the form of the VW TDi line of oil-burners, or to purchase a truck whose GVW is in the nuclear aircraft carrier class. Everyone else seems to make delicious compression-ignition motors for sale in Otherlandistan, while we’re stuck picking up 640 oz milkshakes from Sonic in our petrol-slurping Wagon Queen Family Trucksters. Thanks, Oldsmobile!
It begs the question though – which non-diesel vehicle sold in the US should ditch the spark plugs and go over to the sooty side?