The best diesel cars you can buy

October 19, 2015 by

Several years ago, the reasons for buying a diesel car were few in number. They represented a great choice for high-mileage drivers, certainly, but they generally offered little in the way of excitement, refinement or desirability.

Now, the advancement of diesel tech has given many other reasons to justify picking one over petrol. A torquey power delivery makes them easy to drive while, in many cases, refinement is on a par with traditionally smoother petrol engines. But which are the best diesels on sale today? We’ve rounded up our favourite 10 for any occasion.

Put any of the cars on this list in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.

For the greatest range – Mercedes E300 Hybrid

The Mercedes E300 Hybrid is ideal for you if you’re keen to minimise the number of petrol station visits on your travels. Tick the £100 option box for the larger 80-litre fuel tank and the E300 is capable of a 1,200-mile range.

It’s not as if you’ll have to scrimp on luxury or performance either – this is still a large, comfortable executive saloon with a top speed (where local laws allow) of 150mph.

Put the Mercedes E-Class in our car configurator to see what deals are offered.

For the heavy hauling – Land Rover Discovery

It may have been with us since 2004, but the Land Rover Discovery still remains one of the best tow cars on sale today. The bulky frame allows it to pull a braked trailer up to 3,500kg, while the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine pumps out a hefty 443lb ft of torque – so performance isn’t hindered significantly by all that extra weight.

Beyond its towing credentials, it’s a smooth unit, and the Discovery remains one of the most effective way of transporting seven adult occupants in comfort.

Spec up a Land Rover Discovery in our car configurator to see what savings are available.

For the ultimate Grand Tourer – Porsche Panamera

The Porsche Panamera is available with a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. A 6.0-second 0-62mph time is very Porsche-like, yet the official fuel economy of 44.1mpg certainly isn’t.

Some might scoff at the thought of a diesel GT car, but the extra fuel efficiency offered over an equivalent petrol engine allows for a greater range, fitting its purpose as a continent crosser perfectly.

For the perfect family transport – Renault Kadjar

The Renault Kadjar is quite possibly the best family car on sale today. The eye-catching crossover is spacious, safe, comfortable and great value for money.

Equipped with one of the two diesel engines in the lineup, it’s cheap to run, too. We recommend the 108hp 1.5-litre dCi – it’s smoother than the more powerful 1.6 and, with a claimed fuel economy of 74.3mpg, it’s the most frugal choice in the range.

Pick your ideal Renault Kadjar in our car configurator to see what discounts are on offer.

For tops-off fun – Audi TT Roadster

It wasn’t long ago when a diesel sports car would have seemed like sacrilege – very little would spoil the credibility of driving a handsome sports car more than listening to the clatter of a smoky diesel under the bonnet.

Audi has tried to change this perception, taking diesel power to incredible success in its endurance racers, scoring numerous victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This has allowed buyers to warm to the thought of the 2.0-litre TDI-powered Audi TT Roadster. The 181hp unit covers the 0-62mph benchmark in 7.1 seconds, yet returns 67.3mpg in official tests.

Spec up an Audi TT Roadster in our car configurator to see what deals are available.

For city slicking – Fiat 500

The smallest car on our list, the Fiat 500 is one of very few cars in its class available with a diesel engine. The 1.3 Multijet motor might only offer modest power, but the low-down torque and the 500’s miniscule weight make for nippy performance at city speeds.

CO2 emissions of only 89g/km means it’ll be both cheap to tax and to fuel. Slotted inside one of the cutest shapes on sale today, it’s hard not to fall for its charms.

Pick your perfect Fiat 500 in our car configurator to see what savings can be had.

For cheep and cheerful motoring – Dacia Sandero

If a cheap to buy, cheap to run supermini is your only priority, then the best choice by far is the Dacia Sandero. Equipped with a Renault-sourced 1.5-litre diesel, it’ll return 74.3mpg in official tests, wrapped in a basic but spacious five-door hatchback package.

It feels a little cheap inside, but that’s because it is – costing less than £9,000, the equivalent diesel superminis from the big names like Ford and Vauxhall cost almost £5,000 more. It’s hard to argue with that kind of price.

Choose your favourite Dacia Sandero in our car configurator to see what discounts are offered.

For diesel opulence – Range Rover

Anyone feeling a little more flush might be better served by the Range Rover which, when equipped with the TDV8 diesel engine, can claim to be one of the most luxurious diesel cars on sale.

Refinement is incredible – at low speeds the engine barely makes its presence felt at all, while, under heavy acceleration, it’s difficult to tell it’s a diesel. The manner in which the 4.4-litre V8 hauls the 2.3-tonne SUV along the road is deeply impressive. For the performance and luxury on offer (not to mention the sheer size of the thing) a claimed fuel consumption of 32.5mpg isn’t to be sniffed at.

Spec up your perfect Range Rover in our car configurator to see the deals available.

For the ultimate mpg figures – Peugeot 208

If using the minimum amount of fuel matters more than anything else, one diesel stands above all of the others. The Peugeot 208 BlueHDI is available with a 74hp 1.6-litre unit which, when fitted with stop and start technology, achieves a staggering 94.2mpg on average.

The rest of the 208 makes a strong case for itself, too. It’s fun to drive yet comfortable, it’s well made, and it’s priced competitively against to its rivals – especially when those tiny running costs are taken into consideration.

Put the Peugeot 208 in our car configurator to see how much you could save.

For the perfect all-rounder – BMW 335d Touring


It’s hard to think of a car better suited to almost any situation than the BMW 335d Touring. The highlight is the drivetrain – a 313hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel unit paired with a brilliant eight-speed automatic gearbox. Sending power to all-four wheels, it’ll sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds. Yet, drive it normally, and it’s claimed to achieve an impressive 49.6mpg. It even makes a nice noise by diesel standards.

Inside, occupants are greeted with a typically well-built BMW cabin, which benefits from the Touring’s 500-litre boot. It’s comfortable, refined, and quite fun to drive, too. For many, it’s possibly the perfect all-rounder.

Spec up a BMW 3 Series Touring in our car configurator to see what savings can be made.

Save money on your next diesel car

Put any of the cars on this list in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you’re still struggling to pick your next car, check out our car chooser.