The Mercedes-Benz GLK crossover is fairly new to the U.S. market, launching in 2009 as a 2010 model. As the least-expensive sport-utility vehicle to wear the three-pointed star, the GLK is intended as a gateway vehicle to the brand for young families.

The compact SUV will get a refresh for the 2013 model year, and Automotive News (subscription required) quotes Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon as confirming a diesel-engine option for the next GLK.

That makes the compact crossover the sixth Mercedes-Benz model to be offered on these shores with diesel power.

While the other five use a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, the GLK will get a more fuel-efficient and cost-effective four-cylinder--fitted, like the others, with the BlueTEC emissions aftertreatment system.

Motor Authority believes that Mercedes will use its 2.1-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which is already emissions-certified for sale in the U.S. market.

Based on Mercedes’ current success with diesel-powered ML and GL models here, expectations are high for the diesel GLK. Cannon sees the new model pushing sales into the “high 30s,” compared to 2011 sales of 24,310 units.

Mercedes-Benz currently offers a much wider range of diesel options than either Audi (which currently sells the Q7 and A3 in diesel variants) or BMW (which offers its X5 and 3-Series with diesels).

Unlike Asian automakers, the Germans aren’t eager to write off diesels in the U.S. market. They're expanding their offerings as one way to meet increasingly stringent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rules.

And sales of diesel passenger vehicles are growing at a faster rate than those of hybrids--although from a smaller base.


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