2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI engine

Volkswagen has announced that a new diesel engine will be available in 2015 Beetle, Golf, Jetta and Passat models, which will hit dealer lots by the second half of 2014. The automaker reports that the new engine will produce 236 pound-feet of torque and 150 horsepower, which is a 10 horsepower increase in comparison with the 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine that the automaker currently offers.

Volkswagen Spokesman Mark Gilles tells Kicking Tires that the new engine should be more responsive and offer improved fuel economy. “It’s an all-new engine, to all intents and purposes,” Gillies says. “We’re hoping that it will give a probably somewhere around 8% bump to highway [fuel] economy.”

Currently, Volkswagen models like the diesel-powered Golf and Jetta TDI return 30/42 mpg city/highway, or 34 mpg combined. An 8 percent improvement could mean that both cars will hit just over 45 mpg in highway driving. In comparison, the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel gets 46 mpg on the highway, but has slightly lower city and combined fuel economy estimates.

Volkswagen notes that it has sold more than 47,000 diesel models so far this year, which includes 10,000 diesel vehicles sold last month. The automaker reports that its sales account for “nearly 78 percent of the diesel sales for passenger cars in the United States this year.”

Diesel versions of the Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Jetta and Passat currently command between $4,200 and $6,475 over their respective base models. However, a recent study indicates that lower ownership costs on diesel-powered Golf and Jetta models save their owners $5,013 and $3,128, respectively, over the course of three years.

In the market for a Volkswagen or another new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.