Chrysler Brings A Slew Of Diesels For Grand Cherokee, Durango, New Dodge Dakota

By Blake Z. Rong | January 12, 2012
America loves diesels, it just doesn't realize it yet. Case in point: they can't build enough Volkswagen TDIs to fulfill demand, and enthusiasts have been clamoring for diesel's down-low torque to be available in almost every car. Now Dodge is planning for a diesel engine in its Durango SUV, as well as a successor to the dearly-departed compact Dakota. The diesel will be a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel sourced from Italy, where it's used in the European Jeep Grand Cherokee. (That diesel's coming to America as well, even though it's already being built here.) Depending on the success of the Diesel Grand Cherokee, that engine will make its way into the Dodge Durango where it can immediately begin pulling absurdly large yachts, teams of Clydesdales, and the other filigree of upper-middle-class life. Chrysler has little to fret about. Sure, the last time they offered a diesel in the Grand Cherokee in 2007 and 2008 it didn't sell well, but that was because of emissions regulations in California and New York, two of the most populated states in America. Also, the nearly nonexistent marketing Chrysler did, but that's a different rant for a different day. This time around, though, there's plenty of enthusiasm for the diesel—presumably because you know what they say about absence and fondness. It's a compelling case for an oil-burning Durango, but certainly it won't be set in stone just yet. However, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne all but promised that the next Dakota will definitely have one. ("No, seriously. Trust me. I swear.") The junior truck will also feature a more car-like unibody construction rather than the body-on-frame assembly that most trucks use, resulting in less weight (at some compromises to toughness). And to break the hearts of those enthusiasts above, Marchionne made it clear that there will not be a diesel Fiat 500 in North America, as there is in Europe. Hey, you win some, you lose some.