What is the best diesel engine?

Although diesel engines are the goal of all environmental organizations, the truth is that the improvements in these vehicles, in terms of consumption and ecology, are considerable. Something that makes it difficult to find the best diesel engine in the world, due to the large number of candidates for such an honor.

Although the first car in the world had a gasoline engine, the truth is that diesel vehicles did not take long to arrive. The first car using this fuel, a Mercedes 260D, was presented at the Berlin Motor Show in 1936. From then to the present day, diesel engines have gone from being a cheap alternative to gasoline cars to becoming outlaws, due to the dangerous pollution they generate.

However, in recent years, we have seen how the cars that use this fuel have improved both in fuel consumption and in the pollution generated. The presence of elements such as turbodiesel, improved combustion systems, the use of AdBlue or high-precision injection electronics have led these engines to reduce their consumption and also that pollution.

How does a diesel engine work?

To better understand this evolution, it is convenient to know how the engine of a diesel car works, since there are certain differences with respect to how a gasoline vehicle does.

The operation of the diesel engine is four-stroke, just like the gasoline engine. The cycle starts by injecting the fuel into a chamber, with a very precise and high pressure spray. The chamber where it is injected is at a very high temperature, which causes the fuel to self-combust, without the need for the spark typical of gasoline engines.

Once the diesel is detonated, the force generated moves the piston downwards and transfers the movement, evacuating in parallel the gases generated in combustion. This process completes the cycle and returns to the starting point, to start a new cycle.

Which is better, diesel or gasoline?

If at this point you have doubts about which engine to choose, we will shed some light on it. Thanks to the way a diesel engine works, it has a simpler and more durable approach. Therefore, these vehicles better withstand higher mileage. In addition, the lower cost of diesel means long-term savings worth assessing, if you do many kilometers. Something that is still maintained today, thanks to improvements in the management of diesel in current engines, which further reduces the consumption of these engines.

However, the choice is more complex, due to the difference in price between a gasoline car and its diesel equivalent. To compensate for this difference, it is necessary to achieve a higher mileage which, due to the lower price of diesel, amortizes the additional cost of purchasing the vehicle.

In general, the calculation is based on dividing the additional cost of diesel compared to gasoline by the difference in cost per kilometer that exists between the two. The result is the number of kilometers that we must drive more to amortize this cost. All despite the fact that the real consumption of cars is usually higher than declared.

If you want to make the calculation a little more precise, you can add the maintenance costs of each of the vehicles, according to what their service manuals indicate. As a reference, this maintenance is 25% higher in the case of diesel, which translates into about 300 to 700 euros during the useful life of the product. Let us think that a diesel requires a larger car battery or high-capacity heaters, more expensive than the spark plugs of a gasoline engine. What does not change are issues such as the interiors or having to use an optical audio cable to connect the sound system of the most modern vehicles.

As a final matter, it should be remembered that diesel cars have a higher resale price and retain their value better over time, so this would be another issue to consider in your numbers. It all depends on what you want to complicate the calculation.

The 10 most outstanding diesel cars of the moment

To get an idea of ​​what the current market offers us when looking for a diesel car, we are going to learn about some of the novelties that manufacturers make available to us.

One of them is the new Renault Clio. Leaving aside the hybrid version, the two new diesel versions have a 1.5-liter engine and develop 85 and 115 horses respectively, with considerable performance. Something similar happens with the Peugeot 208, also equipped with a 1.5-liter engine and 102 horsepower. Its new six-speed manual gearbox is all you need to get the most out of it, on any terrain.

We jumped the range with the BMW 1 series, with diesel engines ranging from 150 horsepower in the 118D version to 190 horsepower in the 120 xDrive. The latter has four-wheel drive, for greater safety. Mercedes also has its space here, with its new GLC Coupe. It offers two different versions: the 194 horsepower 220d 4Matic and the 245 horsepower 300D 4Matic. Ideal to move in style and enjoy a powerful drive.

We now evaluate the novelties of the Volkswagen group, which begin with the new Passat 2.0 TDI EVO. This vehicle has a 150-horsepower engine, although the range offers three other models, with 120, 190 and spectacular 240-horsepower engines. More modest is the Skoda Kamiq. This compact SUV has a 115-horsepower 1.6 TDI engine, recognized both for its low consumption and its high durability, which make it ideal for the brand’s versatile and long-lasting approach.

Sports cars also have their space, thanks to options like the Ford ST. Despite its 2-liter, 190-horsepower engine, it barely consumes 4.8 liters per 100. Surprising, to say the least. Something similar happens with the Audi SQ8. A vehicle with no less than 400 horsepower and two turbos that, despite its spectacular power, remains at a consumption of 9.8 liters. 

We close our selection with two economic and interesting options within the diesel sector. One of them is the Opel Corsa which, leaving aside its electric versions, has a new diesel version with 1.5 liters of displacement and 100 horsepower, combined with a six-speed gearbox. The other essential is the Dacia Sandero. This classic among the cheapest cars on the market has a 1.5-liter DCI engine and 75 and 90 horsepower engines respectively. Perfect to have a diesel at an adjusted price.

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