Greater efficiency levels, extra torque and additional off-the-line power have made diesel models a popular choice among both new and used car buyers. Not only that, recent developments have made the engines - and their emissions - much cleaner.
Here are 28 of the best diesel cars your money can buy:
Diesel versions of Audi's ever-popular A1 are still more costly than most others in its category, but with a solid engine, superior styling and immensely frugal fuel consumption, it's a price well worth paying.
BMW 1 Series
BMW has a number of diesels on the market, with its 1 Series being no exception. Those with an eye on economy may wish to try the 118d, whilst anyone seeking a little extra power should be suitably covered by the 120d or later 123d models.
Ford's popular Fiesta model seems to have been around forever, which makes for plenty of choice in both its petrol and diesel iterations. Not only that, Fiestas offer peace of mind for both build quality and longevity. Diesel-powered Fiestas are no different, with recent years seeing Ford manage to eke out unrivalled levels of power from even its smallest engines.
The Corsa's diesel range is certainly one that's got better over time, so newer models are definitely best for those who can afford them. Anyone with a little extra cash to spare may even want to try the SRi iteration, as this offers a better trim and a more responsive engine.
Diesel engines suit the Polo down to the ground, thanks to its reputation as a comfortable car that is one of the best for simple, comfortable driving. As such, the low rev power and ability to handle late gear changes makes the Polo a car to really showcase what diesels can offer.
Whether going down the hatchback or cabriolet route, A3 owners have plenty of choice. Larger engined diesels have some of the best on-paper stats, but there's one which holds presidence over most others - resale value. Audi drivers have long been known to enjoy cars which hold their value better than most and this is certainly true for the ever-impressive A3.
It's a similar story with the A4 range, but buyers should note that diesel Audis will typically hold their value better than their petrol alternatives. With this in mind, the added expense could be viewed more as an investment than anything else.
BMW 3 Series
Diesels comfortably outsell petrols in Germany, which should give sufficient evidence - should any be needed, of BMW's quality in this department. There are a multitude of diesel options, with sportier versions offering impressive acceleration. It's not luck that the 3 series is one of the most popular in its class.
Another vehicle noted for its strong diesel resale value is the Ford Focus. That's not all it offers, though, as a great pedigree, huge range of engine choice and models to suit all budgets make it popular for more than just its depreciation stats.
With its Astra range, Vauxhall managed to achieve what few others could - to eke a staggering amount power out of even the tiniest diesel engines. This has meant drivers looking to keep down their running costs, insurance and tax may wish to give the Astra very careful consideration indeed.
Another model with plenty for buyers to consider in the way of choice is the favoured VW Golf. Whilst this means there are small-engined non-turbocharged options which feel more sluggish than speeds with which the Golf is typically associated, there are others which pick up the slack and provide just what buyers are after.
The A5 is a large car with an equally large engine to boot. The numerous diesel iterations include 2.7 and 3.0-litre engines, but that doesn't mean fuel efficiency is low. Audi worked hard to keep costs down, which was supplemented by most recent models coming equipped with stop-start technology as standard.
BMW 5 Series
Diesel buyers are spoiled for choice with the 5 Series, as they make up much of BMW's large vehicle range. The 525 has among the best power to economy ratio, but BMW's innovative engines mean that nearly all models will have market-leading specifications behind them.
The Mondeo has long been identified as a car which comes alive when there's a diesel under the bonnet. Diesels are certainly the way forward, not only with power in mind but resale values as well.
As with the BMW 5 Series, many Insignias on the used market will be diesels. Older models have reasonable fuel efficiency stats, but it's those which were released after April 2009 - when Vauxhall unveiled its ecoFLEX system - which are by far the best on offer.
Just as diners aren't advised to go for the cheapest or most expensive bottle of wine on the menu, Passat buyers are rewarded for going down the middle. Top of the range diesels are luxurious, but expensive, whilst those with smaller engines struggle to pull a full load. Therefore, a mid-range option is a sensible choice for those thinking of their wallets.
The X3 has long been hailed as a 4x4 that doesn't realise it's a 4x4. Good handling, a decent ride and comfortable suspension makes it an easy drive whether you're on well-kept roads or winding country lanes. On top of this, decent fuel efficiency values makes the diesel X3 an ideal all-rounder.
As you may expect, the X5 possesses all of the aforementioned benefits which lead buyers happily to the X3. On top of this, more boot space and solid depreciation levels make the X5 the most attractive of the two for those expecting to carry a notably larger loads on a day to day basis.
In direct opposition, the Kia Sportage doesn't have quite the difference in economy as the BMWs. In fact, even though the diesels are more efficient, the difference is slight. Where a diesel Sportage works, though, is in its pulling power. Not, of course, in the aftershave sense, but instead for anyone wanting to use their car for towing.
Of all the SUVs listed here, the Kuga is arguably the most versatile. Equally as happy on cramped city streets as it is on the open motorway, it may sound like a typical petrol engined vehicle. That is, until you compare the fuel economy, which is starkly different and really sets the diesel ahead.
The Qashqai diesel is similar to that of the Kia Sportage in that it excels when towing. The diesels are much better equipped to handle the car's notable weight (especially the seven-seat versions), so leave the petrols far behind when the weight is ratcheted up.
Diesel buyers often have to consider their annual mileage before making a purchase, as higher totals are likely to warrant spending more at the pumps. In the case of the Galaxy this is more a consideration than any other, as petrols in this range are a good deal more efficient at lower mileage. That said, commuters or regular drivers will find they make the savings if the car is rarely left to cool down before the next drive starts.
For long, family trips, the S-Max is hard to beat. A relatively low cost belies the fact that an S-Max offers plenty of space, Ford-quality reliability, strong fuel efficiency levels and enough pull to comfortably handle being filled up to the brim with the family and everything but the kitchen sink.
In rolling out its Ecoflex engines manufactured over the last five years, Vauxhall has become a market leader for efficiency. On top of that, buyers get to enjoy one of the more practical people carriers, with a ride that won't send people in the back reaching for their sick bags and a clever system for folding away seats which makes it an equally good loading vehicle even when there are no passengers.
Having been released in a 1.9 and 2.0 litre diesel versions, it may appear to the casual observer that there's little to choose from in a Touran. However, its 1.9 version offers much greater fuel efficiency and, in being turbocharged, should also provide sufficient power when it's needed as well. In being one of the smaller people carriers on the market, it's a popular option for those who don't want to feel like they're driving a minibus.
Sports car buyers may well think a petrol engine will make their drive much nippier, but with a car as finely tuned as the TT, this may not necessarily be the case. Thanks to its 2.0-litre TDI engine, there's still enough power to get going at a rate, whilst drivers can still benefit from the relative efficiency and ease of driving for which diesels are famed.
Whilst the EOS offers more choice for petrol buyers, the diesel has some of the best specifications. Packing a reasonable 138bhp, the EOS should give the punch needed to get up to speed, then a sufficiently economic ride thereafter.
The VW Scirocco is known throughout the industry as being a sports car that offers something a little different - great fuel efficiency. Not only that, VW has managed to achieve this without compromising on power - so it's little wonder the Scirocco has cleaned up at car awards across the world.