Choosing petrol or diesel power is one of the first decisions you will have to make before buying your car.

Do you have a plan to buy a new car or any vehicle? Before getting one just think which engine you are going to choose, either a diesel engine or a petrol/gasoline engine? Both engines have their own pros and cons.

PETROL

Pros of petrol

  • Financial: petrol is cheaper than diesel fuel and the cars are cheaper to buy.
  • Driving experience: petrol engines are more refined and less noisy.

Cons of petrol

  • Financial: engines are less efficient and use more fuel than diesel, and the cars depreciate slightly more.
  • Environmental: petrol engines emit more CO2 than diesel cars.
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Diesel

DIESEL

Pros of diesel

  • Financial: diesel engines are more efficient and use 15−20% less fuel. The cars tend to have a slightly higher resale value.
  • Environmental: lower CO2 emissions means diesel drivers are rewarded with lower tax bands than petrol owners.
  • Economy: diesel’s greater efficiency means its CO2 emissions are 20% lower than petrol.
  • Driving experience: diesel cars offer more low-speed torque so have better overtaking power and towing ability.

Cons of diesel

  • Financial: diesel cars usually cost more than petrol. Diesel fuel is more expensive than petrol and servicing a diesel car might be slightly more expensive.
  • You will have to keep the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) clean, as short journeys at low speeds are the main cause of blocked diesel particulate filters. This is why car makers often go as far as recommending city-bound short-hop drivers to choose a petrol car instead of diesel.
  • Environmental: despite lower CO2 emissions, diesel fuel produces tiny particles linked to breathing disorders such as asthma.
  • Driving experience: diesel engines tend to be noisier and less refined.

Still not been able to decide which one is better for you?

Here is a table to summarise:

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE SUMMARY

DIESEL IS BETTER FOR:PETROL IS BETTER FOR:
Motorway DrivingRural A and B-roads
Long JourneysShort Journeys
Hilly Countryside DrivingCity Driving

PETROL VS. DIESEL - THE FINAL VERDICT

Most people enjoy the smoother, free-revving nature of a petrol engine while everyone else will enjoy the refinement and avoid the extra costs of all the extra tech that diesels need to make them clean and efficient.

So the answer in the great petrol vs. diesel debate (as you may have guessed) is that it depends how you use your car and what you want from it. Each fuel type has its strengths and weaknesses, and there are good and bad engines on both sides of the fence. Your best bet is to weigh up the pros and cons above according to how you use your car.

If you really can’t decide then remember many makes come in both petrol and diesel options.

Take the Suzuki Vitara, Nissan Qashqai or Subaru Forester for example - all are available in both fuel options.

The dCi 110 diesel engine of the Nissan Qashqai provides a class-leading balance of power and economy. The numbers are impressive, with fuel efficiency of up to 78mpg and low emissions of 99g/km carbon dioxide, but it’s the day-to-day thrill of driving it that really excites.

Meanwhile the 1.4 boosterjet petrol engine in the Vitara S and Suzuki S-Cross packs a punch while offering the fuel efficiency of a smaller engine.