In the world of diesel-powered family vehicles, a few models stand head and shoulders above the competition. For instance, the Volkswagen Golf Wagon boasts an expanded interior over its last incarnation, as well as improved performance, superior handling and impressive fuel economy for a car of its size. The design and safety ratings also boost a Volkswagen’s appeal for families. These vehicles are relatively rare; finding one may require a bit of patience, but the return on your investment will make every moment spent searching well worth the effort.

For those in need of a bit more interior space, the Subaru Outback pluz PZEV comes equipped with standard four-wheel drive, a spacious cargo area and also performed well in crash safety tests. The comparative fuel economy against gasoline-powered SUV’s of its size is worthy of note, while the durable styling and reliable engineering can bring great peace of mind to owners. Even the base model offers an impressive 170 horsepower; more than enough to meet the needs of the average family. For drivers with an affection for manual transmissions, there is a manual Outback offering.

Another reasonably-priced smart buy is the Buick Lucerne, a great bet for those on the hunt for a full-sized four-door sedan of the diesel-powered variety. The front-wheel-drive sedan’s first priority is passenger comfort, with spacious seating and several carefully-designed features that make the Lucerne an impressively quiet offering. The higher-end models come equipped with some of the more modern features like lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems, but the base model is also a great option for those in the market for a diesel-powered sedan that runs quietly and offers passengers a high measure of comfort.