While electrified vehicles are getting all the headlines these days, diesel-power remains popular with new-vehicle buyers who need to combine fuel economy and plenty of torque for towing. Although diesel-powered passenger cars have recently left Canadian new vehicle showrooms (mainly due to the industry’s so-called Dieselgate emissions-cheating scandal that started with Volkswagen in 2015) today, there remains a good selection of diesel trucks and SUVs for buyers looking to save some money at the pumps.
Based on starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices* in Canadian dollars, here are the 10 most affordable new diesel vehicles you can buy for 2021.
10th place: 2021 Chevrolet Suburban - $62,043CAD
All-new for 2021, Chevrolet’s largest 3-row SUV can seat up to 9 passengers and is available with General Motors’ new 3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. With rear-wheel-drive (RWD), the base 2WD LS trim starts at $59,948. Traction at all four wheels is a $3,300 option. Using a 10-speed automatic transmission, the 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque diesel scores a combined city and highway fuel economy estimate of 10.1 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km) for RWD diesel Suburbans and 10.6 for 4-wheel-drive (4WD) versions.
9th place: 2021 Jeep Gladiator - $60,845 CAD
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator mid-size pickup truck is now two years old. And unlike its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon rivals, the Jeep truck is based on the off-road-ready Jeep Wrangler mid-size SUV and offers a convertible top. As a $9,535 option on the base $51,310 Sport S trim, the 4-door, 5-passenger Gladiator’s 3.0-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel generates 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic is the only transmission choice and is rated at a combined fuel economy estimate of 9.8 L/100 km.
8th place: 2021 GMC Yukon - $60,543 CAD
Like its Chevrolet Tahoe platform-mate, the Yukon full-size 3-row SUV is also all-new for 2021. And like its General Motors counterparts, the Yukon’s new independent rear suspension allows for a 3rd-row seat that can now comfortably accommodate two adults. The same 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel found in the big Chevy SUV is also optional on the big GMC SUV. In the Yukon, expect to get around 10.1 L/100 km with 2WD versions (starting at $60,543 for the SLE trim) and 10.6 with 4WD models (starting at $63,793).
7th place: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe - $60,243 CAD
If you are shopping for a diesel-powered General Motors full-size SUV, know that the Tahoe offers the same fuel-sipping powertrain as the Yukon mentioned above but at a slightly more affordable base price. Diesel-engine Tahoe prices start with the base, $60,243 2WD LS trim and $63,543 if you want traction at all four wheels. The Chevy full-size SUV's combined city and highway fuel economy estimates are 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km) for the RWD versions and 10.6 for 4WD trims.
6th place: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - $55,650 CAD
As the foundation for Jeep’s Gladiator truck, it’s no surprise to find the same diesel powertrain in the popular Wrangler Unlimited mid-size SUV. While V6, turbocharged 4-cylinder, V8 and plug-in hybrid powertrains are available, we love the locomotive force of this turbo-diesel. It’s guttural in sound and enables the 5-passenger Wrangler Unlimited to push through just about everything—either on- or off-road. The diesel is a $9,190 option starting with the base $46,460 Sport S trim and is estimated to score a combined 9.5 L/100 km fuel economy rating.
5th place: 2021 Ford F150 - $55,539 CAD
For 2021, Canada’s perennially best-selling new vehicle, the Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck, is essentially all-new. Ford updated the styling and redesigned the interior. There are still plenty of engine choices, including a new gas-electric hybrid, plus the forthcoming all-electric Lightning. But the optional 3.0-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel engine may be the sweet spot in the lineup. Rated at 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, the diesel starts at $55,539 in mid-level SuperCab XLT trim with 4WD only and scores a 10.7 L/100 km combined fuel economy estimate.
4th place: 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - $50,378 CAD
Like is GMC Sierra 1500 platform-mate, the Chevy Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck is available in a dizzying variety of configurations. Engine choices range from a turbocharged 4-cylinder to a rumbling 6.2-litre V8, with GM’s venerable 5.3-litre V8 and a just-adequate V6 also in the mix. The recent arrival of the turbo-diesel 6-cylinder makes the Silverado even more tempting. Prices start at $50,378 in 2WD Double Cab LT trim and $54,178 for 4WD. Rated at 8.8 L/100 km, fuel economy estimates are slightly better with the Silverado 2WD versions than the pricier Sierra, although they share the exact 10.0 estimate for 4WD.
3rd place: 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 - $50,528 CAD
Still fresh off a recent redesign, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is a capable and alluring choice among full-size pickups. Though it has similar underpinnings and powertrain choices as its Chevrolet Silverado 1500 sibling, the GMC truck touts more premium flair and design differences. Like its Yukon SUV sibling, the Sierra 1500 can be had with GM’s 3.0-litre turbo-diesel. Like in the SUV, it makes 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque in the truck, hooked up to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Prices start with the $50,528 2WD Double Cab SLE (estimated for a combined 9.1 L/100 km) and $54,328 (10.0 L/100 km) if you need 4WD.
2nd place: 2021 GMC Canyon - $42,288 CAD
For 2021, the GMC Canyon has had its trim levels revised. Last year's SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali mix has been replaced with Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4, and Denali. While the Canyon's 4- and 6-cylinder gas engines are competitive, General Motors' 2.8-litre turbo-diesel 4-cylinder, rated at 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, is relatively unique in the segment. Using a 6-speed automatic transmission, the diesel Canyon's fuel economy is estimated at 10.1 L/100 km, starting with the $42,288 2WD Extended Cab Elevation, while the $46,413 4WD versions score a 10.5 estimate.
1st place: 2021 Chevrolet Colorado - $40,648 CAD
It’s no surprise the most affordable new diesel vehicle in Canada is a truck. Specifically, Chevrolet’s Colorado mid-size pickup. Like its GMC Canyon corporate cousin, the Colorado can be had with 4- and 6-cylinder gas engines. But the 2.8-litre diesel is a particularly good choice both for those hauling a trailer and looking for fuel savings. Starting with the $40,648 2WD Crew Cab LT, the Colorado is rated the same as its GMC platform-mate: 10.1 L/100 km and 10.5 for the $44,883 for 4WD versions.
*MSRPs as of June 1, 2021.