For many years, diesel cars got a bad rep for being loud or stinky, and that reputation didn’t improve following the so-called ’emissions scandal’ a few years ago.
But the fact remains that diesel cars are cleaner and more efficient than they’ve ever been. What’s more, they can be a cost-effective option if you’re the sort of motorist who does a high number of miles every year, or drives long distances at once.
If diesel definitely isn’t for you, though, check out our favourite hybrid / electric cars.
Here’s our round up of the best diesel cars around today. Feel free to browse the full list, or jump to the cars that best match your budget using the links below:
Best New Diesel Cars: Under £18k
Price: from £15,605
Most economical model: Audi A1 1.6 TDI Black Edition Nav 116PS S Tronic (74.3mpg)
Named What Car? Car of the Year back in 2011, the Audi A1 offers a high-spec interior, firm suspension and a fantastic infotainment system. The 1.6-litre unit is the only diesel engine in the line-up, but it more than measures up to its petrol counterparts, with plenty of shove at low revs.
Price: From £16,905
Most economical models (both 71mpg):
SEAT Arona SE Technology 1.5 TDI 95PS
SEAT Arona SE Technology 1.6 TDI 95PS
Brand new from 2018, the Seat Arona quickly garnered a five-star review from What Car?. This small SUV offers refined engines and a great range of equipment as standard. Our pick of the diesel range is the 1.6 TDI FR Sport 115ps 1.6TDI 6 Speed Manual.
Price: from £17,730
Most economical models (all 76mpg):
Peugeot 2008 1.6 BlueHDi 75 Active
Peugeot 2008 1.6L Blue HDi 100 Active
Peugeot 2008 1.6L Blue HDi 100 Allure
Peugeot 2008 1.6L BlueHDi 120 S&S Allure
Peugeot 2008 1.6L BlueHDi 100 Allure Premium
Peugeot 2008 1.6L BlueHDi 100 GT Line
Peugeot 2008 1.6L BlueHDi 120 S&S GT Line
With Peugeot’s patented Grip Control®, this compact crossover has been praised by Auto Express for being “practical, well-equipped and [having] an upmarket feel”. With plenty of diesel engines to choose from, our pick of the bunch is the Peugeot 2008 1.6L BlueHDi 120 S&S Allure.
Price: from £18,260
Most economical models (all 71mpg):
SEAT Leon 5DR SE Dynamic Technology 1.6 TDI 115PS
SEAT Leon 5DR SE Technology 1.6 TDI 115PS
SEAT Leon 5DR S 1.6 TDI 115PS
Auto Express are big fans of the SEAT Leon, calling it “one of the best family hatchbacks on sale, blending style, practicality and excellent dynamics”. We recommend the SEAT Leon FR Technology 184ps 2.0 TDI with 7 speed DSG gearbox – it offers a Euro 6 plus engine and achieves a combined 61.4mpg.
Best New Diesel Cars: From £18k-20k
Price: from £18,900
Most economical model: Vauxhall Astra DESIGN 1.6CDTi (110PS) S/S ecoTEC (86mpg)
In their in-depth review of the Vauxhall Astra, Auto Car noted that this popular hatchback offers a “strong, frugal diesel engine” We recommend the Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SRI Diesel 136PS, which boasts the advanced ‘Whisper’ diesel engine that promises superb efficiency.
Price: from £19,200
Most economical models (all 61mpg):
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 1 2WD
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 2 2WD
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 2 139 2WD DCT
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi GT-Line Edition 2WD
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi GT-Line Edition 2WD Auto DCT
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 2WED
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 39 2WD DCT
Kia Sportage 1.7 DRDi 4 2WD
“One of the best all-rounders in its class” according to Auto Express, the Kia Sportage comes with Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty, a spacious boot, and roomy back seats that ensure the whole family can get comfortable. Our favourite in the extensive diesel line-up is the Kia Sportage 1.7CRDI GT Line AWD.
Most economical model: Volkswagen SEL 2.0 TDI 150PS 4MOTION 6-speed man (57mpg)
This small SUV “looks good, drives well and offers plenty of space” according to Car Buyer. The powerful diesel engines ensure you’ll enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride. And, for the especially safety conscious among you, the Volkswagen T-Roc also offers plenty of safety-related kit and a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.
Best New Diesel Cars: From £20k-25k
Price: from £20,000
Most economical model: Peugeot 308 Active 1.6L BlueHDi 120 S&S (91mpg)
Top Gear have called the 308 “the best family hatch Peugeot has ever made.” Comfortable and refined, it’s especially well-suited to long motorway drives and comes with a great range of kit as standard. Our favourite model is the GT Automatic Diesel.
Price: from £21,810
Most economical model: Audi A3 114bhp 1.6-litre TDI diesel (70.6mpg and C02 emissions of 106g/km)
With a luxurious interior, the Audi A3 is comfortable and classy, and also offers fantastic efficiency. Named What Car? Car of the Year in 2013, it’s only got better since, and the latest models are packed with safety and efficiency technology that ensures the A3 ranks amongst the best premium hatchbacks on the market.
Price: From £23,195
Most economical models (all 64mpg):
Mazda6 2.2 150 SE-L Nav
Mazda6 2.2 150 SE
Mazda 6 2.2 150 SE Nav
Mazda6 2.2 175 Sport Nav
Praised by Carbuyer for its “sharp looks, precise handling and fuel-efficient engines,” the Mazda6 is a stylish family car that offers plenty of reassuring safety features. The diesel models boast Mazda’s impressive SKYACTIV-D engine, which offers 20 per cent better fuel efficiency thanks to the low compression ratio.
Price: from £24,575
Most economical models (all 71mpg):
Peugeot 3008 1.6L blueHDi 100 S&S Active
Peugeot 3008 1.6L BlueHDi 120 S&SActive
Peugeot 1.6 BlueHDi 120 S&S Allure
Peugeot 3008 1.6: Blue HDi 120 S&S GT Line
Peugeot 3008 1.6L BlueHDi 120 S&S GT Line Premium
Awarded the European Car of the Year crown at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Peugeot 3008 is a great-looking, reliable crossover, complete with Peugeot’s remarkable i-Cockpit infotainment system which allows you to personalise what’s displayed so you can create your perfect driving experience. Our favourite in the extensive diesel line-up? The GT Automatic Diesel.
Best New Diesel Cars: £25k+
Price: from £27,815
Most economical model: Audi A4 2.0 ultra (74.3mpg and C02 emissions of 106g/km)
Top Gear have called the latest incarnation of this exceptional car “the best A4 ever” – and we’re inclined to agree. As you’d expect with Audi, the interior is designed to be both useable and great to look at, and the ride comfort is next-level, ensuring that spending time behind the wheel of the A4 never feels like a chore.
Price: from £30,845
Most economical models (all 72 mpg):
Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200d SE manual
Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200d SE Executive Edition manual
Mercedes-Benz C200d Sport manual
Mercedes-Benz C200d AMG Line manual
Available as a saloon, coupe, estate and open-topped convertible, this compact executive car boasts a comfortable and luxurious cabin and a range of smooth engines that perfectly combine efficiency with performance.
Price: from £31,465
Most economical model: Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel SE 163PS RWD (60 mpg C02 emissions of 124 g/km)
The Jaguar XE saloon has been recognised by Auto Express for its excellent handing balance, and was described as being ‘very cost effective’. For three years running from 2015-2017 it has won Auto Express’ Compact Executive Car of the Year for being a cut above its rivals.
Price: from £37,025
Most economical models (all 57mpg):
Mercedes-Benz GLC 220 d Sport
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 d Sport
Mercedes-Benz GLC 350 d Sport
Mercedes-Benz GLC 220 d AMG Line
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 d AMG Line
Mercedes-Benz 350 d AMG Line
This compact SUV offers a particularly strong line-up of diesel models powered by refined, economical four-cylinder diesel engines, ensuring it cruises pleasingly along the motorway but is also able to handle itself off-road.
If you’d like more advice on the right diesel car for you in 2019, then feel free to get in touch with our team or drop into one of our showrooms. Or if you’re ready to start looking for your perfect car now, you can start your search here.
*** Please note, all prices shown are based on the MRRPs at the time of going live (January 2019). Also, some images/videos shown are for illustrative purposes only and may show additional extras. ***