When it comes to buying a car, one of the primary decisions people make is on the choice of fuel – should it be a diesel or a petrol. Logic says that if you drive over 1,500 km a month you would be better off with a diesel, given that there’s a difference in fuel price and diesels are about 25% more fuel-efficient, resulting in long-term savings.
However, there’s a catch. Diesel cars are nearly 25% more expensive than petrol cars of the same type. And this would be a crucial decision making point for many buyers who can’t really stretch the budget. Take the Maruti Swift for example, the top-end petrol Swift ZXI is priced at Rs. 5.77 lakh ex-showroom, while the diesel ZDI is priced at Rs. 6.88 lakh. On road, the price difference is even steeper, with the Swift petrol available for about Rs. 6.4 lakh, while the diesel costs Rs. 7.8 lakh on-road.
Given this difference in price, and if you just must have a diesel, would it make sense to look at a partly used Swift diesel instead of the petrol? We take a look at the pros and cons of such a move. Also read: Checklist for buying used Maruti Swift
Looking at used car prices in New Delhi, we’ve come across a 2012 model Swift ZDi with 11,000 km on the odometer going for Rs. 6.5 lakh. We’ve also seen VDI models (equivalent to VXI in petrol) with just 5000 km to 7000 km on the odometer going for Rs. 5.45 lakh to Rs. 5.60 lakh. Does it make sense then to pick up a partly such used diesel Swifts for the price of a new petrol Swift?
Pros of buying used diesel Swift
The pros are definitely pretty strong here. You get a car that is still well within its warranty period (Swift offers a two year standard warranty going up to 40,000 km and extended warranty up to 80,000 km). The car would have just done about two of its services and is still pretty new, but you get it at the ex-showroom price or close to on-road price of a petrol variant, which means you start saving on running costs from day one because of the higher fuel efficiency of the diesel Swift and the present disparity in fuel prices.
But it’s not all good. Also read: Maruti cars resale value comparison
Cons of buying a used diesel Swift
Even though the cars we are looking at are relatively new, the first few thousand km of driving the diesel car are what will guarantee its longevity. The car should have been properly run-in and maintained; if not this could lead to problems down the line. You also cannot be entirely sure of the cars history, so it’s better to get a full-service history of the car (and one would be suspicious especially if diesel cars are being sold so quickly). Then there’s also the maintenance costs to be factored in, which are bound to be higher than a new petrol car. Also read: 5 steps to buying a used car in India
The other big con is with the resale value. You would be the second owner of the car, which straight away knocks off another 20% on the price when it comes to resale value. Buyers generally prefer cars that have had a single owner.
Of course, if resale value is not a concern and the service history and general upkeep of the car is good, buying a used diesel Swift at the price of a new petrol Swift is definitely a smart move especially for those who clock high mileage. Otherwise, you’re better off with a new petrol car that you can take care of the way you want to from day 1. Also read: Five reasons to buy a used car instead of a new one