Which Car to Buy - Petrol or Diesel?

Published On  October 14, 2015 08:32 PM By CarDekho Team at CarDekho.com

Petrol engines are generally thought to be smoother than diesels, though with the implication of latest technologies this perception has changed. The current level of diesel engines have been improved drastically over the past decade and smaller capacity diesel are quite prevalent now and are comparatively smoother than before.

Petrol cars are considered better than diesels as petrol fuel ignites at a much lower temperature than diesel fuel so power delivery is much more linear, especially in naturally aspirated ones. But, the latest diesel engines have matched them up with the implication of turbochargers that make them refined and fuel efficient.

Choosing between these two engines could get simpler if we take into consideration our daily requirements. The following are some parameters to do so.

Price difference

Diesel variant are generally costlier if we consider a price bracket of around 5 to 15 lacs. Though, this is not an attribute to compare as modern petrol cars with the implication of turbochargers and direct injection technology are equally costly as their diesel counterparts.

Although, if we compare Swift petrol with its diesel variant we will see a price difference of about a lac, this is because the petrol version is naturally aspirated while the diesel is turbocharged and gets a few more complex bits that are absent in the petrol motor. Also, in India, we have to give an additional tax on diesel vehicles.

Average monthly running

Diesel would definitely save money and make sense if you commute over long distances. However, petrol cars are cheaper to buy initially and are more rewarding in the city premises. Petrol car should be fine for an annual run of 10000-12000 kms, but if it is more than that, diesels is the way to go.

Fuel cost

The day since the Government has deregularised the diesel prices, the gap between the two fuel types has diminished. If price per litre is to be taken into consideration, buying a petrol car seems to be more beneficial option now. As in the 5 to 15 lac bracket the diesel vehicles are considerably pricier than petrol counterparts and the the difference between the prices of the two fuels isn’t much.

Other Factors

Some other considerations:

  • Diesel cars are studied to have better resale value as compared to the equivalent Petrol cars.
  • Cost of servicing and spare parts is higher for diesel cars than petrol ones.
  • Noise, vibration and harshness levels of diesel cars are higher than that of petrol cars.

Which one to Buy?

Buy a diesel model

  • If monthly run is estimated to be around 1,500-2,000 km
  • When the price difference is around Rs. 50-60,000
  • If you often go for long distance drives

Buy a petrol model

  • If the monthly run is estimated to be less than 1,500 km
  • When the price difference is around Rs. 1 lac
  • You are going to use it for short city drive and seldom go for long distance drives


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