In the U.S., diesel engines have long been established in pickup trucks. In passenger cars, however, they've remained a small part of the overall market.

But diesels seem to be doing well in another segment: larger SUVs, particularly those from luxury makers, like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

DON'T MISS: Range Rover Launches Two Diesel Models At Detroit Auto Show

While the three Germans were the earliest to fit diesels in U.S.-market luxury utility vehicles, Range Rover is the latest carmaker to join the party.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee also offers an EcoDiesel option, though its production has been limited by very strong demand for the same engine in Fiat Chrysler's Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickup truck.

2014 Audi Q5 TDI, Catskill Mountains, Oct 2013

2014 Audi Q5 TDI, Catskill Mountains, Oct 2013

But while luxury SUVs are a small portion of the overall market, diesel engines are making substantial inroads in the segment.

Data provided by Stuart Schorr, vice president of communications and public affairs for Jaguar Land Rover, shows the trend.

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In the luxury sport-utilty vehicle segment as a whole, the take rate on diesel engines is 15 to 20 percent in the vehicle lines that offer them.

That's essentially what his company expects to see for the pair of diesel Range Rover models it will sell.

2016 Land Rover Range Rover and Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 diesel models, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

2016 Land Rover Range Rover and Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 diesel models, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

In the total U.S. market for passenger vehicles, diesels have jumped from 2 percent in 2009 to 3 percent last year. But within luxury SUVs, the rate grew rom 3.1 percent to 4.6 percent.

Overall vehicle sales in 2014 (roughly 16.5 million) were up 75 percent over the grim recession year of 2009--but diesel-powered luxury SUVs have risen 130 percent over the same period.

MORE: Range Rover All-Electric Utility Vehicle To Challenge Tesla Model X?

Finally, while luxury SUVs with diesels may carry a price premium, buyers typically recapture that premium when they sell. Their vehicles retain a higher percentage of their value when resold as used cars.

Data from industry analyst ALG shows that after four years, diesel models of luxury SUVs have retained 2 to 7 percent more of their value than their gasoline counterparts.

That can add as much as $3,000 to the value of the used vehicle for owners selling it or returning it at the end of a lease.


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