Why is it that in Europe upper middle class people will generally buy diesel versions of the same cars?
Well, yes and no! In Europe is totally different philosophy and existing market supports the same vehicles with diesel engine versions. Not in North America! All diesel cars/SUVs here are premium priced! Even the "people car" Golf/Jetta is premium overpriced when is with TDI engine. The rest diesel in the bunch are few well known as well - Audi and MB. That's it. This so called diesel car market here tiny and undeveloped, premium price oriented and on top of this is the lack of routine affordable service. The diesel stations are limited number as well. In Europe you can buy paying reasonable up front small premium priced almost any car - from small Fiat Panda and Opel Corsa, through all Hyundais, Ford Focus (yes Focus), Fusion, any Seat, Peugeot, Vauxhall ...as well BMW, Audi, BMW, MB and ...even Jag or Rovers!