Most modern car manufacturers have frugal diesel and efficient hybrid examples in their range of vehicles. The only thing is, is that both have their advantages as well as their disadvantages and other the consumer different equipment for the same purpose. The question is: is one better than the other?
The equation can also be looked at through the eyes of what the consumer wants from their car. Some just want outright return from the diesel they put in at the fuel forecourt, but others will want a car that emits the lowest amount of emissions to aid the environment.
For the purpose of this article though, let’s just say the consumer is after both.
There are several manufacturers that have reserved branding for their frugal models; Mercedes Benz has BlueEfficiency/BlueTec, BMW have EfficientDynamics and as mentioned before, VW have BlueMotion.
Mercedes’ fuel efficient cars don’t top the table for cars with the highest mpg figures, instead for them, it’s all about being a market leader. So, if Mercedes can get their E-Class saloon to do 45-50mpg, that’s pretty good when compared against similar sized rivals.
If you want the best numbers you’ll need to look to VW’s Polo BlueMotion or even the Golf. Taking the latter of the two, the Golf is a very well sized family hatch and gives a return of a massive 74.3mpg, whilst emitting just 99g/km of CO2. That last number will give you free road tax in the UK.
Coming back to hybrids, a car like the Toyota Auris Hybrid will return a very similar 74.3mpg, but emits just 89g/km of CO2 because of its efficiency. There is a new Auris Hybrid entering the frame next year and should enhance those figures further.
There are two big problems, however, with hybrid models in that to be so efficient and implement elements such as their lithium-ion batteries, Toyota has to compromise on space and so wouldn’t be as practical as the Golf. The second is that to create a fully-fledged hybrid, it costs a lot of money and that is relayed to the consumers, so you must expect to pay more on average for a good hybrid than you would for a frugal diesel.
In this case, also, the Golf is a class leader in family hatchbacks and its practical, well-built nature is a big plus for when a potential customer comes to line up their next efficient car.
The more naïve buyer will likely see the appeal of the environment friendly petrol hybrid, but when it comes down to it, you can still get yourself a frugal, low emissions vehicle by looking at something like VW’s BlueMotion range, even though they’re a conventional diesel powered car.