Petrol cars are no longer the only available variant in the personal car segment and diesel cars are also no longer relegated to the taxi segment only. Except for a few in the small car segment like Alto, Kwid etc., all the other cars come in two fuel engine variants.
Diesel engines are now customized to fit in with the car they will be running. They are available in different types and can accommodate divergent fuel capacity. Their competitive pricing and other redeeming factors are encroaching on the petrol run ground!
The major negative up till now with diesel engines were its high Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels but with refinement in the engine by the car manufacturers, that clatter has gone down considerably. The sound is only a minimal on the outside and comparable to a petrol model on the inside. That too is smoothed out in the high-end models.
You should look into those and your personal bias towards vibrations and noise before making a decision to buy a particular make, model, and its variant. Although, the life of a diesel engine is comparatively shorter than its petrol version.
Horsepower is another critical component to be considered. A medium range, affordable petrol car, clearly displays the singular power of its engine since it responds well during the first pick-up and accelerating on lower gears makes the car rush ahead but not with much power.
Diesel engines, on the other hand, have turbochargers, which increase the car’s Horsepower (PS) considerably. The frustration comes in at the beginning because the vehicle will face a turbo lag or initial delay. Even flooring the pedal won’t make the car respond to your command to gain power and speed up! Car’s response time and your thirst for power should tell you which engine you will choose between petrol and diesel.
There are no two ways about the fact that a diesel car outshines a petrol car in terms of mileage and fuel efficiency. Long-term fuel efficiency offsets a higher on-road purchasing cost of the car.
The cost of diesel is less than petrol, an exception being Goa. Because of limited deregulation of the diesel prices in the year 2013, the price difference between the two fuels is noticeable and is going to continue to be so. When calculated in terms of savings in comparison with each other, diesel wins hands down.
Diesel costs less, and its engine is more efficient. Hence, there is a considerable time gap between each tank fillings! The length of the daily run should decide the purchase of the fuel variant. Petrol cars are ideal if the everyday commute is not much. Otherwise, opt for diesel cars.
Car Maintenance and Servicing
In comparison, over a similar period of time, service cost per km, as well as the cost of parts that need servicing, is quite expensive for a diesel engine. Changing parts due to wear and tear or damage, and other repairs are extra. Spare parts for a diesel engine cost more than its petrol counterpart.
Diesel cars resell at 10% above the market resale value of its petrol variant. The percentage difference comes down to the age of the cars increase.
You can compare the on-road cost of the variants, the mileage, the power, the cost of maintaining the car, fuel charges, the noise levels and be abreast with all the latest regulations in the fuel pricing and transportation to make an informed decision!
For a common man in India, the real test of a car’s power is directly proportional to the people-carrying capacity of a car. Mostly, petrol cars are considered to have good initial pick-up but as soon as you press the accelerator pedal, the car rushes ahead, but it doesn’t extend the pulling power after certain revolutions. This provides better horsepower, but it also results in a lower torque.
As a contrast, a diesel car is fitted with a turbocharger that has a larger amount of pulling power which is because of its elevated torque causing a high energy push. It means that despite pressing the accelerator to its maximum capacity, the car will take the time to respond. This produces more torque and lesser power.
Diesel as a fuel is not as refined as petrol and hence is cheaper as less refined fuel pollutes more.
Although this doesn’t mean, petrol engines are just more saint. Lack of fine particles and the use of exhaust reduction widely in use since many years have made the perception that diesel engines are the devil which is not the case with the new modern, fuel-efficient and less polluting engines which are almost at par with their petrol counterparts.
Eventually, it all boils down to your personal choice and demand. If you are more of an enthusiast and expect a fast response from your car, then a petrol car makes more sense. Otherwise, if the thrust of sudden power sends chills down your spine, despite the initial lag, then a diesel car would please you.
Both diesel and petrol engines are equally popular in the market as both of them have their set of advantages. Ultimately, what all matters is the buyer’s expectations and preferences which reflect in his decision. Anyhow, this enigma of Petrol vs. Diesel cars doesn’t seem to end in the near future.
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