Which Car Should You Buy-Petrol or Diesel?

By Saroni Chakravarti | March 27, 2018

Car buyers are often troubled by the thought of which car to opt for – a petrol or diesel. We’ll help you make the choice.

With a variety of car models and variants flooding the market today, zeroing in on a car model can be a hard decision. Unlike auto enthusiasts, who are well-versed with the intricacies of cars, with limited knowledge, laypeople like us can have trouble picking the right car.

Diesel cars today have made great strides in terms of refinement and cubic capacity (cc). With constant fine-tuning and improvement, diesel cars have become better, more affordable and are proving to be an equal match for their petrol counterparts.

So can petrol cars be given a miss nowadays? While there is no simple answer to this debate, the following points can help you reach a decision:

1.       Refinement:

This has a lot to do with the car manufacturer. When it comes to the overall refinement of diesel engines vis-à-vis petrol, the former lacks in terms of NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) levels. Then again, diesel cars higher up the segment are so refined that one can only hear marginal engine clatter on the outside, while noise inside the cabin is comparable to that of a petrol car.

If you are really picky about NVH levels and can’t stand the clattering noise, a diesel car may not be a good idea. If you can live with a fair amount of noise or vibration, then a diesel car may not be a bad idea at all.

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2.       Mileage:

Both diesel and petrol cars have their own share of power attached to them. Mass-market petrol cars have linear power delivery with great initial pick-up which means better response. The moment you press the accelerator pedal in lower gears, the car surges ahead but then it doesn’t really sustain the pulling power after certain RPMs. This results in better horsepower or PS but low torque (Nm).

On the other hand, a mass market diesel car that generally comes fitted with a turbocharger can display a great amount of pulling power which is credited to its increased torque figures (compared to a similar petrol car) resulting in a thrust of power. However, all of this happens when you pass certain RPMs (revolutions per minute) on the tachometer. So, there is a considerable amount of initial lag (often called turbo lag) that you will face, which means despite pressing the accelerator flat, the car will take time to respond to your input. This will result in more torque and less power.

If you’re a car junkie and demand a swift response from your car, a petrol car makes absolute sense. However, if you really love the thrust of sudden power, despite the initial lag, then a diesel car should be your pick.

3.       Lifespan:

Let’s consider how diesel engines fare compared to petrol engines in terms of lifespan. Diesel engines are comparatively larger in size than petrol engines as they require higher air pressure for firing. A diesel engine starts to depreciate faster than a petrol engine if not serviced regularly. Excessive heat, friction and vibration are the primary reasons why a diesel engine disintegrates faster than a petrol engine.

Why diesel engines depreciate faster:

Following are some other reasons that lead to the faster depreciation of a diesel engine:

  1. Diesel units use lift pumps which make the engine heavier. Petrol engines are lighter and use direct injections. Net weight of the engine with full fuel capacity plays a big role in deciding which engine will last longer. Petrol wins hands down with full fuel capacity.
  2. Petrol and diesel engines offer different mileage. Diesel engines consume more oil. Use of oil magnifies the frequency of maintenance.
  • Diesel engines are used in multiple heavy-duty operations because of the powerful torque that they deliver for the same volume of petrol.
  1. Heavy-duty engines are used in tractor trailers, locomotives, ships and underground tubes. These are highly corrosive and high-intensity operations. Depreciation of a diesel engine is evident even with higher service intervals.

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In addition to the above points, a petrol engine offers better protection against any contaminant in fuel because the particulates vapourise with the petrol and don’t clog the valves. With diesel engines, the issue magnifies as the particulates remain in the engine as residue. This dilutes the oil quality and also causes heavy wear and tear. No amount of lubrication can save the diesel engine from breaking down.

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Final word:

While diesel has some obvious advantages like low fuel cost and better mileage, its service and maintenance, however, will cost you more than petrol. Then again, these days diesel engines have become much smoother and quieter. They are also free from lead and regulated oxide pollutants.

If you live in a cold country, a diesel engine will definitely exceed its lifespan, almost twice the margin of a petrol engine. This is because cold start engine in diesel cars is quicker as compared to petrol lighters.

Remember to not just buy a car considering its great mileage and cheaper fuel price; consider costs like the car’s overall running cost and the tenure that you would want to keep it for. If you’re considering keeping a car for long and drive more than 80-100 km a day, diesel can be a valid option. If your running is less and you don’t prefer keeping a car for more than 3-4 years, go for petrol.

Whether a petrol or a diesel car, we offer Car Loan for all variants. You can start by checking your eligibility here.

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About Saroni Chakravarti

Saroni loves all things quaint and old world- be it art, music or cinema. She has a special knack for spotting the weirdest traits in people and can't for the life of her understand why she attracts the worst co-passengers. Despite her cynical exterior, she still hopes for a world that will be free from discrimination and cruelty. When she's not spending her day commuting, she can be found watching funny videos, reading, and sending out needy vibes to strays around her.

10 thoughts on “Which Car Should You Buy-Petrol or Diesel?

    1. Team BankBazaar

      Hi Ram,Please let us know what your query is and we will be happy to help you.

      Reply
    2. mukul

      i am planning to buy new swift dezire in diesel…plz suggest me that diesel engine is best or not??? for long time

      Reply
        1. Team BankBazaar

          Hi Mukul,

          We hope we’ve answered your query.

          Cheers,
          Team BankBazaar

          Reply
      1. Team BankBazaar

        Hi Mukul,

        While a diesel engine is best suited for cars that are excessively driven (like cabs, or long distance daily journeys), a petrol engine works fine for city use. Depending upon your usage, you should decide on the type of engine you want to go in for. Also, keep in mind that diesel engine cars are slightly more expensive than petrol engine cars.

        All the best.

        Cheers,
        Team BankBazaar

        Reply
  1. harsh

    Which engine car should I buy if I want to drive the car 1000km continutionaly but once in a month further times in city . Plz suggest me the best engine for me.

    Reply
    1. Team BankBazaar

      Hi harsh,

      If you intend to buy a car mainly for commercial use, to our knowledge, a diesel engine is recommended. But for driving in the city you can opt for a petrol engine.

      If you’re looking for a loan to fund your purchase, click here.

      Cheers,
      Team BankBazaar

      Reply
  2. Dan Collins

    We’ve been planning to buy a new car and were considering both diesel engine and petrol engine car. I am thankful that I have found this post as this would really help us decide on which one to buy. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Team BankBazaar

      Hi Dan,

      We’re glad you found our article useful! Keep reading our blog for more insights into the world of finance.

      Cheers,
      Team BankBazaar

      Reply

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