If you could have a hybrid Jeep or a diesel Jeep which would you choose? Would you go for the gas vehicle that only showed a modest gain in fuel economy while, more than likely loosing torque and making going off road nearly impossible? Or would you go for a diesel Jeep that may not have much better fuel efficiency than gas models, but may very well provide better low end torque and the ability to run off of french fry grease?
I think that the answer to that question is pretty simple. Hybrids are great vehicles if you can fit into a Prius. Some of us, namely myself are simply too large to fit into the hybrids that can obtain 60 miles to the gallon. Those hybrids are useful, they serve a purpose. The hybrids that only average 10 more miles per gallon do not. Considering the amount of lost power of a hybrid, you may be better off with the basic gas version of a vehicle. This is especially true when talking about Jeeps. A hybrid Jeep simply would not give you enough power.
A diesel Jeep on the other hand would serve two purposes. First, a driver of a diesel Jeep would not be robbed of the much needed power that driving off road requires. I may be mistaken, but diesels provide better low end torque than regular gas models. The second benefit is of a grander scale. By purchasing a diesel Jeep (note to Jeep: sell diesels in America), one could fill the tank with biodiesel. This may not save you very much money, but it would be a step towards alternative fuel sources.
Simple Answer – I’ll take the Diesel. Long life, simple operation, good pulling power.
But you missed one thing. A hybrid uses an electric motor. Electric motors have 100% of their torque available at idle, which beats any internal combustion engine. Get past all the quirks of hybrids (battery packs, low long term power etc..) and electric motors would be the best off road engine you could ask for. Now just get rid of the battery packs and put in a hydrogen fuel cell, and we all would be happy.
I agree with the electic motor torque, but moisture, dirt, and dust have never been a friend of electric motors or electronics. I agree in the right driving situation and vehicle that hybrids are a good future prospect especially with a better designed power supply. If you are going to own a Jeep Wrangler and want better mileage, a diesel would be a much better option. If you add into the equation the new diesel that will be available in the Grand Cherokee in 07 would be a great option that would possibly give a city MPG similar to the Grand which is estimated at 19. This engine also has more tourque than the old 4.0 I6. I think driveability would be great as well as weight balance would be similar to current powerplants.