Date registered: Dec 2005
Vehicle: 1986 300SDL 311,500
Location: Lexington, North Carolina
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RE: Newbie looking for a diesel reccomendation
I'd recommend getting the turbo models, even if they're a tad less fuel economy - I think in the long run they'd feel a little slow and heavy without the extra boost there when you needed it.
For the record, I'm getting an average so far (two tanks) of about 22 miles per gallon in my 300SDL - that's an 86 model, a model-generation newer than the 300SD that I almost got. It's a six cylinder instead of a five (or four) and it does have the turbo - and being the L model I think it has a little extra weight to pull too - and I'm getting 22-23 mpg on a tank - and I don't drive it in granny mode or in daredevil mode. I drive it like a normal car, and that's about what I'd expect from a normal car.
Point of sermon: unless fuel economy is a REALLY big deal for you, go on and get a turbo model, you'll appreciate it pulling onto interstates and such.
Out of the older ones, older than mine, my favorite's the 300SD - I almost got one before I got my SDL but the problem was that so many of them that had decent mileages on them were torn up inside so bad they wouldn't have been more time-consuming and money-consuming than I could have afforded to restore back to enjoyable condition. If you find a good-condition 300SD grab it.