Pros and cons of diesel engines

Choosing between petrol and diesel cars

As the negative press surrounding diesel engines continues following the Volkswagen scandal, we take a look at the pros and cons of diesel engines to help you decide which is best for you.


Diesel engines are known for their brilliant fuel economy, particularly the turbo diesel engines on long distance journeys. If you tend to drive long journeys on the motorway, a diesel engine will be on average 20-35 percent more economical than a petrol equivalent. The most efficient diesel engines will often be more efficient than hybrid options, with a lower upfront cost.

If your most common journeys are short trips around town, then you are unlikely to benefit from the potential fuel efficiency available on longer journeys. As the price of diesel fluctuates, it can sometimes cost more than petrol resulting in the loss of any fuel saving benefits.


If you are looking for an economical purchase, the large diesel vehicles often retain their value for longer than the costly petrol options. The extra efficiency can also reduce the purchase cost even further by lowering the luxury car tax due. Although a diesel will usually cost more upfront, the price will be resilient to weekly fluctuations.

Reliability & Maintenance

The new diesel engines provide brilliant reliability when compared to older engines, which were prone to excessive smoking and long start-up times when cold. As a diesel engine contains fewer parts than a petrol engine, there are fewer parts to service and the service interval is usually longer.

But, in most cases, the actual cost of servicing will be higher than a petrol option. If you neglect to service the car regularly, any problems will be much more expensive to fix than a similar issue with a petrol engine. Many diesels suffer from trouble with the particulate filter which gets blocked if your journeys are regularly short, meaning the car is not given a chance to properly warm up and burn off the collected soot.


If you need a vehicle with great towing power, the diesel engines often out-perform petrol equivalents when it comes to torque and pulling ability.In the past diesels were often considered noisier than their petrol counterparts, but current technology has led to new vehicles offering a much quieter and smoother ride.

If you are looking for a car which provides high-speed performance, a petrol will be more suitable. Although technology has improved the comfort of diesel cars you might still notice the occasional noise.


Today’s diesel cars are much cleaner than a decade ago and they are able to run on bio-diesel, although it will result in a lower engine performance. However, diesels cars still add to pollution and the emissions include soot, nitrous oxide and carcinogens. If you are searching for a vehicle with a low environmental impact an electric or hybrid car would be the better option.

If you are looking for advice about a particular diesel engine or would like to view our wide range of vehicles, we have a number of key locations in the area, with centres in Harlow and Maidstone. To find out more about our services and available cars, please contact us.