If you have a tight budget of Rs. 8 lakh and are looking for a diesel car, there is a fairly large choice out there – among premium hatchbacks and entry-level sedans. Given that you are shopping for a diesel car, fuel efficiency is definitely one of your top considerations.
Almost all the diesel cars under the Rs. 8 lakh price bracket are highly fuel efficient, giving close to 20 kmpl or more claimed mileage. Now, let’s look at other factors that would make them all-rounders – seating comfort, space, ride quality and handling, after a discussion among a few CarToq experts.
Among entry-level sedans there are six diesel cars. The Ford Classic, Maruti Dzire, Toyota Etios, Tata Manza, Mahindra Verito and Tata Indigo eCS. All these cars give excellent mileage in their diesel form, over 20 kmpl claimed mileage.
If you take the other factors in consideration, you have the Toyota Etios that offers the most luggage space, the Tata Manza that offers the best back seat, the Ford Classic that is one of the best cars to drive and has a good balance of space, handling and comfort, and the Maruti Dzire, which is a good mix overall, but not very spacious. The Dzire is priced lower than most of the other cars here, except the Indigo e-CS. The new Verito is also very fuel efficient and the Tata Indigo eCS is good to travel in but has fit and finish issues.
Among all the cars here, if you are looking for a value-for-money entry-level diesel sedan, then the Maruti Dzire edges ahead with the Ford Classic coming a close number two, as it is slightly more expensive than the Dzire. Also read: Best low-priced diesel cars in India
Best diesel premium hatchback
Among diesel premium hatchbacks the list is quite long. Almost all the carmakers except Honda offer diesel premium hatchbacks. The list includes Renault Pulse, Nissan Micra, Maruti Swift, Hyundai i20, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, Tata Vista, Toyota Liva, Ford Figo and Fiat Punto. It is quite tough picking a diesel premium hatchback that is the “best” among this lot as all of them are strong on most counts.
The Swift for instance is a good overall mix of drivability and affordability with a good service network, the Figo is great to drive and has good luggage space, the i20 has plenty of features but is pricey, the Punto again has great ride quality and drivability, but is let down by poor service, the Pulse and Micra are extremely fuel-efficient but don’t have a strong enough service reach, the Polo and Fabia are not very refined diesels, but are spacious. Space and mileage is the USP of the Toyota Liva. And then there’s the Tata Vista, great on almost all counts, but let down by a poor image.
Picking any one diesel premium hatchback is a tough task. If you look at the sales numbers, it’s the Swift that is the most popular, but not necessarily the best. On power, features and space, the Hyundai i20 is among the best, followed by the Fiat Punto. Looking at this overall combination, the i20 provides most bang for your buck. Also read: Best handling diesel hatchback
Best diesel hatchback
Diesel hatchbacks are rather few in number so it’s an easier choice. The diesel hatchbacks in contention include the Maruti Ritz, Tata Indica eV2 and Chevrolet Beat diesel. The Indica eV2 is the cheapest diesel hatchback, but suffers from image issues and some fit and finish problems. The Chevrolet Beat diesel is the most frugal, giving excellent mileage and drivability, but is not too powerful, nor is it spacious. That leaves the Maruti Ritz, with a good overall mix of space, drivability, mileage and easy maintenance.
Most fuel-efficient diesel
If you are looking for the most fuel-efficient car under Rs. 8 lakh, then the choice obviously comes down to hatchbacks and premium hatchbacks which offer great mileage. The most fuel-efficient diesel car is currently the Chevrolet Beat TCDI, with a claimed mileage of 25.4 kmpl. This is closely followed by the Indica eV2 at a claimed 25 kmpl and the Toyota Etios Liva at 23.5 kmpl. The Renault Pulse and Nissan Micra diesel are also among the most fuel efficient. But if fuel-efficiency is your main concern, the Beat diesel wins here. Also read: Most fuel-efficient small cars in India
Most fun-to-drive diesel
Fiat Grande Punto
If you are the kind of enthusiast who must have a diesel car that’s easy on the pocket, but don’t want to compromise on the fun-to-drive factor – of good handling, good pickup and drivability and a sturdy suspension, the choice knocks of many cars from the list. You are left with about three to four to pick from. Among entry-level sedans, you have the Ford Classic, but it’s not peppy enough. Among premium hatchbacks, you have the Ford Figo with excellent handling, Fiat Punto with great overall driving characteristics and the Maruti Swift. But if the main criteria here is the fun-to-drive factor, then the Fiat Punto (especially the 90 HP variant) with its good handling, good looks and solid build is probably the best of the lot. Also read: Cheapest diesel small car in India
Of course, this is not a list that all would agree with. It’s compiled based on the perception and experience of some of the CarToq community. If you have a different view point, share your thoughts on the best diesel cars under Rs. 8 lakh in the comments below.