With the paradigm shift in fuel prices, diesel cars have become more lucrative. The newer cars are more refined, more fuel efficient and maintenance free; well almost. Still, the new diesels have found certain diesel-heads that have embraced the idea of diesel performance and are looking for options to suffice the need for speed at a budget. Manufacturer’s too have gone further and paid attention to their needs. So don’t be disappointed on the rising petrol prices, diesels are here to save the day.
With every manufacturer offering a diesel car in their stable, we put together the 6 most efficient diesel cars in Asia that will give you performance, luxury and value.
1. 2014 Honda City
Honda has finally arrived to the diesel party and how. The i-DTEC engine first made its debut on the Amaze and Honda managed to plonk the same engine in the all new 2014 Honda City only to make it Asia’s most fuel efficient diesel car. The Honda City is known for its refinement and quality and the new generation just takes the legacy forward. The City diesel is powered by a 1.5 litre 4-cylinder engine producing 98 BHP of power and 200 Nm of torque. The interiors of the City see a major revision with lots of equipment thrown around along with generous amounts of space at the front and rear. The rear also gets more spacious and rear air-con vents have been added as creature comforts. Also favouring the City is Honda’s reliability, while the Earth dreams engine has proved its efficiency on the Amaze earlier.
With prices starting at over Rs. 8.50 lakhs (ex-showroom) for the base variant, the City is a good proposition if you want a efficient diesel with low running costs.
ARAI Certified Mileage – 26 km/l
Realistic Mileage – 17 – 22 km/l
2. Honda Amaze
Honda’s iDTEC engine made its debut on the Amaze and boy oh boy it amazed us for sure. With strong mid-range power and Honda’s refinement and quality, the Amaze was an instant success in Asia’s diesel friendly market. Powered by the same 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine producing 98 BHP of power and 200 Nm of torque, the Amaze provides compact size and spacious interiors with decent performance. The Amaze also enjoys price benefits since it fits under the 4-metre mark, making it an attractive buy.
However, a little sportier drive would have been appreciated from Honda. Nonetheless the Honda Amaze is the smart buy if you are looking at quality, refinement, efficiency and brand value.
ARAI Certified Mileage – 25.8 km/l
Realistic Mileage – 17 – 21 km/l
3. Tata Indica
Tata has been milking the Indica platform for over a decade now and it still finds takers in the market for its workhorse and fuel efficient engine. Powered by a 4-cylinder mill producing 70 BHP of power and 140 Nm of torque, that also powers the Indigo eCS. Even though the Indica is aged in front of the new entrants in the segment, the car provides a potent diesel engine that can take a lot of abuse. The Indica also has been the more affordable diesel in the market, even before diesel was cool.
Much of its shortfall lay in the interiors and the overall build quality, while the design needs a major over haul. However, that can be over looked for excellent cabin space, superior mileage and low cost of repairs. Prices for the Indica start at Rs. 4.20 lakhs (ex-showroom) for the hatchback and are still a good proposition who want budget friendly transportation.
ARAI Certified Mileage – 25 km/l
Realistic Mileage – 18 – 22 km/l
4. Toyota Etios Twins
The Etios twins were Toyota’s entry to the mass market ruled by the hatchbacks. Even though the Etios twins did not perform as expected, they still put up a good fight in the diesel scenario. The Etios sedan and Liva hatchback come with a compelling diesel 1.4-litre D-4D engine, producing 67 BHP of power and 170 Nm of torque. You can look at the Etios as a modern day Indica of sorts, providing a combination of space, decent equipment minus the shoddy engine. The Etios also offers enormous leg room for the rear seat passengers, along with a big boot.
Even with the ride quality and the interior quality compromised heavily, the Etios is still a good buy for those who are looking for more space and maintenance free diesel on a budget. With prices starting at Rs. 5.50 lakhs for the hatchback, the Etios twins have been attractively priced against the competition.
ARAI Certified Mileage – 23.59 km/l
Realistic Mileage – 17 – 20 km/l
5. Ford Fiesta
The Fiesta is the sportiest of the lot and also the most expensive too. Even though Ford hasn’t really been selling the Fiesta as they had hoped they would, it does provide a strong performing diesel engine that won’t rip you off your wallet. The 1.5-litre TDCi engine produces 90 BHP of power and 204 Nm of torque. However the linear torque delivery more than makes up for the lost horses and can be driven all day at a lower RPM. The Fiesta is ideally a driver’s car and comes with stiff ride quality, not really pleasing for those chauffer driven. It is indeed the handling though, where Fiesta supersedes the competition.
Even with a fun engine and a long list of electronic goodies, the main sore point for Fiesta lies in its pricing starting at almost Rs. 10 lakhs making it far more expensive than the Verna or the City in its class. If thrill is what you seek on a diesel, the Fiesta will put a smile on your face.
ARAI Certified Mileage – 23.5 km/l
Realistic Mileage – 15 – 18 km/l
6. Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire
The Maruti Swift DZire was always an excellent product, but with the cut boot it went all the way to fantastic. The 1.3-litre DDiS mill produces 74 BHP of power and 190 Nm of torque providing an excellent mid range grunt. It also has decent seat comfort and ergonomically placed cubby holes and buttons, which makes it a lucrative buy for those looking for long distances. The Swift DZire also comes with a host of goodies and better interior build quality. The DZire has time and again proved its worth and is the most value for money proposition in the compact sedan space. But it is the low maintenance costs that really tilt the masses in favour of the DZire.
Maruti Suzuki could have made the rear seat more comfortable though with the lack of legroom still being a major issue. Also the boot of 316 litres is not really doable. With prices starting at Rs. 6.50 lakhs for the VDi variant, Maruti is having trouble keeping up with the demand, while it gives sleepless nights to the competition.
ARAI Certified Mileage – 23.4 km/l
Realistic Mileage – 16 – 20 km/l
Other honourable mentions include the Nissan Micra, Mahindra Verito and the Hyundai i20 diesel that have came in closest with their fuel efficiency figures and long feature list, however are tad higher to maintain and live with.