Top 5 Most Fuel Efficient Diesel Cars We Tested In 2021

Published On Dec 30, 2021 08:00 AM By Sonny

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There has been a decline in diesel offerings last year but it's still a popular option for larger SUVs and with an automatic transmission

Many of the new cars launched in 2021 are available with petrol engines only. The diesel powertrain seems to be offered primarily with larger SUVs. Of all the new models we took for our fuel efficiency test runs, here are the top five most frugal diesel offerings from 2021:



City Results

Highway Results


Mahindra Bolero MT




Hyundai Alcazar AT




Citroen C5 Aircross AT




Mahindra Bolero Neo MT




Toyota Fortuner Legender 4x2 AT



Note: Since cars are used primarily for city driving than on the highway, we’ve ranked them in order of the fuel efficiency figures we got in the city.

5. Toyota Fortuner Legender 4x2 AT

ARAI Claimed FE: N.A.

Tested City FE: 10.52kmpl

Tested Highway FE: 15.25kmpl

Average Tested FE (50-50 City-Highway): 12.45kmpl

Price: Rs 38.61 lakh

The facelifted Toyota Fortuner was launched at the start of 2021 and among the updates was an improved version of the 2.8-litre diesel engine. It now produces 204PS/500Nm and is available with a choice of 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains, both with the choice of 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The Legender variant is offered exclusively with the diesel-automatic powertrain and we tested the 4X2 version, which was frugal enough to be in this top five. The Fortuner is also offered with a 2.7-litre petrol engine.

4. Mahindra Bolero Neo MT

ARAI Claimed FE: 17.29kmpl

Tested City FE: 12.08kmpl

Tested Highway FE: 16.16kmpl

Average Tested FE (50-50 City-Highway): 13.83kmpl

Price: Rs 8.77 lakh to Rs 10.99 lakh

Mahindra launched the facelifted version of the TUV300 in 2021 but rebranded it as the Bolero Neo. It is only offered with one powertrain: 1.5-litre diesel mated to a 5-speed manual making 100PS/260Nm. The increased performance over the standard Bolero probably hurts its fuel economy but also makes it nicer to drive. The Neo is an urbanised and better-equipped alternative to the regular Bolero. It still gets twin jump seats behind the rear bench to seat up to seven people.

3. Citroen C5 Aircross AT

ARAI Claimed FE: 18.6kmpl

Tested City FE: 12.42kmpl

Tested Highway FE: 18.61kmpl

Average Tested FE (50-50 City-Highway): 14.89kmpl

Price: Rs 31.3 lakh to Rs 32.8 lakh

The C5 Aircross was Citroen’s debut model in India, launched finally in 2021 after being delayed by the pandemic. The C5 is only available with a 2-litre diesel engine with an 8-speed AT making 177PS/400Nm. It was surprising that the French carmaker opted to bring a diesel-only SUV at this point in time, but it made sense as its key rivals were offered with a similar powertrain. The Citroen SUV is a premium offering, the priciest on this list, but its engine is frugal enough to be a podium finisher on this list. It matches its claimed economy in highway driving conditions but struggles in city traffic like most other diesel models here.

2. Hyundai Alcazar AT

ARAI Claimed FE: 18.1kmpl

Tested City FE: 12.5kmpl

Tested Highway FE: 18.3kmpl

Average Tested FE (50-50 City-Highway): 14.85kmpl

Price (for diesel automatic variants): Rs 18.01 lakh to Rs 20.14 lakh

When Hyundai announced that the new Alcazar three-row SUV will be offered with the same 1.5-litre diesel engine as the Creta, it seemed like an odd choice. Its output is rated the same at 115PS and 250Nm, which is a lot less than most of its three-row rivals, but its gearing was modified for better driveability. The upshot of the smaller and less powerful diesel engine is that it is frugal. This automatic variant of the Alcazar exceeded the claimed economy in highway conditions but struggled in city traffic.

Also read: Here’re The 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Petrol Cars We Tested In 2021

1. Mahindra Bolero MT

Mahindra Bolero BS6:  Review

ARAI Claimed FE: 16.7kmpl

Tested City FE: 15.64kmp

Tested Highway FE: 17.36kmpl

Average Tested FE (50-50 City-Highway): 16.45kmpl

Price: Rs 8.17 lakh to Rs 9.14 lakh

The most frugal diesel model we tested in 2021 was the updated Mahindra Bolero. It offers the least performance here with its 1.5-litre diesel engine tuned to an output of 75PS/210Nm, and it’s only offered with a 5-speed manual transmission. This SUV is Mahindra’s best-selling car in 2021 and equipped with keyless entry, dual front airbags, manual AC and a Bluetooth-enabled audio system.

The fuel efficiency of a car is majorly dependent on the driving style, the health of the car and the driving environment. Hence, these numbers could easily change if any of these factors are affected. If you own any of the cars from the above table, don’t forget to let us know the fuel efficiency you derive from your vehicle in the comments below.

All prices ex-showroom Delhi

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