Despite diesel cars becoming less popular as new cars, a large portion of used cars for sale are powered by diesel engines. New car buyers are moving to hybrid or electric cars, but for used car motorists that need ultimate fuel efficiency and do lots of mileage it’s still the optimum choice. Diesel cars are more fuel efficient than petrol cars and even beat some hybrids, and their punchy power delivery suits larger cars. That’s why diesel SUVs are very popular, and among the best cars for towing.
If you're worried about buying a used diesel car after lots of bad press, higher tax rates and clean air zones news, then you're not alone.
Put simply, you should buy a diesel car if you regularly cover a lot of high-speed miles, i.e. a regular motorway commute rather than lots of short trips. Diesel cars give better fuel economy than their petrol counterparts, as well as offering more torque on tap for those who want to tow or the like.
Used diesel car prices are falling currently due to the demonisation of diesel in recent years due to its health and environmental implications. Therefore, used diesel car prices are tempting - but they only suit a particular type of driver. If you misuse a diesel vehicle or buy an old model, you could quickly face expensive bills and bans from driving in city centres, too.
The UK is falling out of love with diesel for various reasons. But a diesel car could be right for you if your annual mileage is around 15,000+ miles per year. This is because diesel is around 20% more efficient than petrol so it should be cheaper to run in the long term, but only for drivers who go long distances or travel on motorways regularly.
If you live in a city and/or mostly drive less than 15 miles per journey, then you’re better off buying a petrol. Diesel cars are at their most polluting when being driven at low speeds, and particular parts of a diesel car will start to become problematic if they’re incorrectly used.
Diesel-engined cars were promoted by successive UK Governments for more than a decade because they have, on average, lower CO2 emissions and better official fuel economy than their petrol counterparts. Drivers were incentivised by the lower road tax and company car tax that applied to diesels in the past. But now the Government needs to deal with rising levels of air pollution in UK cities.
The announcement of the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-engined cars from 2030 is part of a £3 billion plan to tackle air pollution in response to the legal action.
The nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced by diesel engines are one cause of air pollution. So, as well as announcing the introduction of extra charges for the oldest, highest-polluting diesels if they’re driven in urban areas at peak times, the Government has changed the road tax banding system for new cars so that, after the first year (which jumps one band up for diesel owners), owners of petrol and diesel cars will pay the same rate.
If you’re looking to buy a diesel car for sale you’re best avoiding city cars and small cars, as very few of them are sold in diesel form. Step up to a family hatchback or SUV, however, and there’s lots of choice - the Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi and Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi are both popular, affordable and capable of over 70mpg on a run. The Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI is a punchy yet efficient larger model, while the Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI is the best all-round version. If you want a smooth six cylinder diesel engine in an SUV, then the excellent BMW X5 30d is a great buy, while the Audi SQ7 TDI has a twin-turbo V8 yet manages nearly 40mpg.
If you’re looking for a used diesel car for sale it’s best to be sure that you need one in the first place. Diesels usually cost more to buy and can be more expensive to service, so make sure you do the sums to check you do enough mileage to justify the cost. Be wary of buying diesel cars with very high mileage, however, as that could be a sign that it’s been used as a minicab, while on the other hand diesels with very low mileage may have only been used for short journeys, which isn’t good for some engine components.
If you're not sure if a used diesel car is quite right for you, we've got 1000s of used cars for sale to suit all budgets and needs.
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