Slow-selling Chevrolet Equinox diesel won't return for 2020

After two years, Chevy’s experiment with a diesel-powered compact crossover is done.

Chevrolet spokesman Kevin Kelly confirmed to Green Car Reports that the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox will not be available with a 1.6-liter turbodiesel.

“We did discontinue the diesel engine option in the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox due to low demand,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Chevy signaled that it would scrap all-wheel-drive versions of the turbodiesel Equinox. While that left room for front-wheel-drive versions to continue, the engine option is now completely gone.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel, first drive, Teaneck, NJ, Aug 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel, first drive, Teaneck, NJ, Aug 2017

The GMC Terrain, which shares many components with the Equinox, including powertrains, may face a similar fate. A spokeswoman for GMC didn’t immediately comment on whether the turbodiesel would return for the Terrain. The engine was also available in the Chevrolet Cruze, which went out of production for the U.S. market earlier this year.

It’s unclear what killed the diesel engine in the Equinox, which was rated as high as 28 mpg city, 39 highway, 32 combined by the EPA. Consumers still bitter about VW’s widespread cheating scandal or sticker shock at the $2,400 upcharge for the diesel engine compared to base models could be reasons for the diesel’s short life. Relatively high diesel fuel prices compared to regular unleaded may have also hampered sales. On Thursday, AAA reported the national average for a gallon of gasoline was $2.75 compared to $3.03 for diesel fuel. At that rate, drivers may face decades before recouping the upfront cost for the diesel engine.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel, first drive, Teaneck, NJ, Aug 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel, first drive, Teaneck, NJ, Aug 2017

Automakers have struggled to offer diesel-powered SUVs in the past few years. Hyundai ditched plans to offer a turbodiesel-powered version of its Santa Fe crossover last year, reportedly because of onerous regulatory approval for diesels, post-Dieselgate. This week, Ford announced it would shelve the diesel-powered Transit Connect van before it was even offered in the States. Jaguar Land Rover stopped offering Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Velar crossovers with a turbodiesel for 2020, too.

One automaker, Mazda, has committed to bring a diesel-powered crossover to the U.S. At the 2019 New York International Auto Show, Mazda announced it would finally sell a diesel-powered CX-5 crossover in the U.S. after years of delays. Its availability and benefits may be questionable; the diesel engine is available only on CX-5 Signature crossovers, which will cost more than $42,000, and the EPA rates the turbodiesel at a relatively unimpressive 28/31/29 mpg.

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