TDISport – Diesel Car Owners Club
For most people, what make or model or even colour are key considerations when they’re after a new car, but there’s a much bigger choice that you should make beforehand: petrol or diesel.
Indeed, recent announcements from government and at least one local authority are conspiring against diesel car ownership – particularly older, less efficient models.
Over the course of the past decade diesel engines have developed to perform just as well as petrol cars while they also offer much better fuel efficiency and economy. Especially in the times of the recession, it seems as though people have become very concerned by the price of petrol and diesel, making them alter their car buying attitudes. The cost of petrol being 80p per litre really does seem an eternity ago, but, in fact, you only have to go back a decade.
Having said that, economy isn’t the full story. Although fuel prices are falling, Diesel remains more expensive than unleaded petrol. The average UK cost of a litre of unleaded is currently131.12p a litre and diesel is 135.38p andyou can’t just go for the most economical car on the market. You need to, pick something that reflects you, your style and, most importantly, your needs and your driving patterns. There’s no point buying a tiny ultra-economical car if you need to take your kids and their mates with all their kit to sporting events every weekend, for instance!
The differences in fuel economy between standard petrol and diesel versions of cars can be mindboggling.
As an example, the Fiat 500 diesel does nearly 14mpg more than its 1.2 petrol sister, but its purchase price is £2,400 higher. On economy alone, owners would need to cover more than 130,000 miles in the diesel before the fuel economy/purchase price equation levels out. Once servicing costs are factored in, the petrol car builds its advantage, ending up more than £900 cheaper to run over three years or 36,000 miles.
If a buyer has a negative opinion of diesels based on a car they drove 10 or even five years ago, it’s time to think again. Engineering advances have now blurred the line between petrol and diesel, both in performance and refinement.
A diesel develops maximum torque – the ‘shove’ you need to pick up speed – at lower engine revs, allowing you to change up through the gears earlier. This relatively narrow power band can make manual gear changes a chore, but modern automatics work very well with diesel engines.
Today’s diesels can be smoother than petrol engines too – especially the two- or three-cylinder petrol units that are a popular choice for manufacturers looking to boost fuel efficiency.
Good diesels are currently around 35% efficient, petrol is around 27%, but companies such as Mazda are closing the gap by producing petrol engines with diesel-like torque, and diesel engines with petrol-like response. New-generation petrol engines are becoming smaller, lighter and more efficient, with no loss of performance.
One important factor to bear in mind when choosing diesel is that modern diesel cars are equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPFs). In mixed driving and long runs, these filters work fine, but if your lifestyle is mainly town-based with lots of stop-start driving, you should think carefully before buying a DPF-equipped car. A diet of low-speed urban motoring will clog DPF filters, and the manufacturer’s suggested regimen for unclogging them doesn’t always work.
Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology has been around for a few years now, but the latest Golf to feature the badge of economy is widely regarded as being one of the best green cars around, even taking into account the other VAG eco-offerings of Seat’s EcoMotive range and the Skoda GreenLine cars. Its direct rival in the VW range is the standard 1.6 TDI, so the question is – is it worth paying out the extra grand-and-a-bit for the BlueMotion?
Now, the BlueMotion also features a 1.6 TDI engine, but this is in fact a different unit entirely. The more economical car actually produces 5bhp more, and it’s impressively responsive. The gearing is long for economy, so you’ll need to drop down a gear when overtaking, but this certainly is no slouch. 0-60 takes a respectable 10.5 seconds, and it feels a little quicker. The engine is slightly more refined than the 1.6 TDI, but it’s not overly noticeable; in truth it’s difficult to pick between the two.
Looking at the BlueMotion, you’ll notice that it has a lower ride height than standard, but also much smaller 15” alloys. This means better economy, without sacrificing too much comfort. Handling is still reasonably good despite all the extra rubber, and can be hustled through bends with ease. It’s a far cry from older eco models that really didn’t want to be driven hard or fast.
The BlueMotion is advertised at a rather farfetched 88mpg. You’re unlikely to get anywhere near that in real, everyday driving, but you should comfortably see more than 60mpg around town, and close to 80 on the motorway, making this a great choice for those who do a lot of miles. The standard 1.6 is rated at 74mpg, so it’s not drastically less economical, but it does have a higher CO2 output, which is the crucial thing for company car buyers.
So, back to the price. At more than a grand extra, it’s quite difficult to justify the BlueMotion for the average private buyer, unless you can find a good used example. You’re simply not likely to make up the price difference in fuel savings, and the larger alloys on the standard 1.6 simply make the car look better – equipment levels are pretty basic too. The 5bhp increase doesn’t really affect things either. If of course, this is a company car, the extremely low CO2 output makes the BlueMotion Golf a very, very good choice indeed.
While growth in the new and used car sales markets may have slowed since the beginning of 2014, some vehicle types continue to shift at a considerable rate. For consistent growth and performance, however, few makes or models can match diesel cars, which have continued to sell at an incremental rate throughout the course of the last decade. They are now more popular than ever, primarily because they boast relatively low CO2 emissions and therefore remain compliant with contemporary environmentally values and legislation.
The Top 3
With so many new diesel models to choose from, however, which should consumers look to prioritise in the year ahead? Consider the following: –
- The BMW 3 Series Saloon
The BMW 3 Series saloon has earned rave reviews since its release, and it can effectively lay claim to being the best and most appealing diesel car currently on the market. Not only does it offer excellent fuel economy and exceptionally low rates of taxation, but it is also impressively quick across the ground and has the capacity to keep even the most demanding motorists satisfied. The combination of speed and fuel efficiency is quite rare even in contemporary models, so consider visiting www.orangewheels.co.uk to find an affordable deal for this vehicle.
- The SEAT Leon Hatchback
Another car that bridges the often cavernous gap between speed and fuel economy, the SEAT Leon Hatchback combines impressive economy of nearly 70mpg with the capacity to climb from nought to sixty in just 8.4 seconds. With a 2.0 litre engine, it offers a comprehensive package to motorists who are unwilling to compromise between style, form and function. There is even a spacious interior, and alongside outstanding performance and an excellent specification it remains one of the most coveted diesel cars of the year.
- The Skoda Superb Estate
At first glance, the Skoda Superb Estate may not inspire awe or a genuine sense of appreciation. There is far more to this model than meets the eye, however, as when you enter the cabin you will be presented with one of the most spacious and luxurious interiors imaginable. As impressive as this is, you should not lose sight of the cars excellent specification, which delivers excellent performance and fuel efficiency for cost conscious motorists. It is one of the cheapest diesel models to run in the whole of the UK, while its return economy of 67.3 mpg and an estimated annual road tax of just £20 offset the prevailing lack of speed when out on the road.
For new or aspiring entrepreneurs, the idea of commercial fleet management may seem like a complex entity. While it does demand careful thought and consideration, however, there is no reason why investing in a commercial fleet and managing it in a cost-effective manner cannot be relatively straightforward. It can also be profitable too, especially true when you consider that the British economy is currently the strongest of all developed nations.
3 Reasons Why Companies Always Invest in Diesel Vehicles
When it comes to establishing a commercial fleet, you will find that diesel vehicles offer a far more viable and cost-effective option that petrol alternatives. Investing in a diesel fleet is a standard practice among most business owners, and there are a number of compelling reasons for this. These include: -
- Fuel Economy and Cost
As a general rule, diesel vehicles are far more fuel efficient that petrol alternatives. They therefore dramatically reduce the cost of maintaining and operating your fleet throughout the course of the year, which in turn can translate into a higher return on your initial investment. It is also worth noting that petrol prices are likely to rise disproportionately to diesel costs in the future, as governments and private sector companies continue to drive more eco-friendly practices.
- Lower Tax and Insurance Costs
On a similar note, the improved performance and favourable CO2 levels of diesel vehicles also translate into reduced car tax liability and insurance premiums. Although this is only a general rule and the cost of these products will vary for each individual model and specification, companies can usually secure genuine financial savings by creating a diesel fleet and insuring vehicles under the banner of a single policy. These savings can be boosted by partnering with a viable firm such as Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, as firms of this nature tend to offer competitive and customisable policies.
- The Residual Value of Petrol and Diesel Cars
If you have a small fleet and intend to buy each individual vehicle, you will need to consider future value and any potential return on your investment. While almost all vehicles depreciate in value over time, the residual value of diesel cars tends to remain more consistent than petrol alternatives over the course of several years. This can make a significant financial difference over time, as an inflated resale value can allow you to maximise your assets and boost profitability.
The world of automotive insurance is constantly evolving, whether you consider the cost of annual premiums or the numerous products available with regards to commercial fleet management. While this is often for the benefit of the consumer, it is all too easy to lose track of these developments and ultimately miss out on the best possible deals as a result. With new products and financial innovations continuing to have an impact on the car insurance market, it is important to do your research and ensure that you make informed decisions.
The Latest Developments in the Insurance Marketplace
Perhaps the single most important development in the automotive insurance market is the innovation of customisable policies, which offer the ultimate flexibility to motorists throughout the world. These unique and comprehensive policies enable customers to tailor coverage to suit their exact needs, whether they scarcely use their vehicle and require low cost insurance or traverse difficult terrain and need additional protection. Either way, the fact that drivers can now liaise closely with insurers and dictate the terms of their coverage has completely revolutionised the car insurance industry.
The willingness of insurance firms to be proactive and innovate new financial products has also has a huge impact on the auto insurance sector. Most recently, it was announced that Sky Insurance has developed a brand new type of coverage aimed at professional race drivers their teams. Having already piqued the considerable interest of everyone from Formula One teams to local speedway competitors, the basic policy will provide comprehensive coverage for drivers, their vehicles and the fundamental items of equipment that are key to their performance. This even includes protective clothing and replacement parts, so both motorists and teams are protected in the event of an accident or mishap.
In Summary: The Future for Auto Insurance and UK Drivers
Interestingly, this new insurance product would also provide cover for non-refundable race fees and costs that are lose in the event of cancellation. This shows unusual diversity for an insurance product, as its coverage also infringes on alternative areas such as event management. This is good news for drivers, who can expect the development of similar products as insurers look to compete with one another for their share of a competitive marketplace.
This level of competition is also likely to drive down the cost of new and existing policies, so the immediate and long-term future looks decidedly bright for motorists in the UK. This is an extremely positive development, especially at a time when the national economy and the portent for sustainable growth seem decidedly shaky.