Diesel cars, while perhaps more expensive than their petrol-guzzling counterparts, have enjoyed a boost in popularity recently. Known for their economical fuel consumption, the reduction in diesel prices - which was at one point less than petrol - has made them an attractive proposition. As such, the used diesel car market has been extremely buoyant, so if you're thinking of switching, upgrading or adding to your own fleet, here's our list of the best used diesel cars of 2016.
But first, why choose a diesel car?
There was a time when diesel engines were considered loud, dirty and clunky. Given the choice, petrol usually won over the buyer. Not so anymore. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), as at June 2016, diesel cars accounted for 47.5 per cent of the market (petrol assumed 49.2 per cent and alternative fuels, 3.2 per cent). Why are people buying new or used diesel vehicles? First, they offer better mileage through greater fuel economy - this is due to the fact that diesel is a less dense fuel, so it goes further.
Then there's the benefit of better performance. Have you ever considered why large and heavy goods vehicles tend to be diesel? This is because it offers strength and power. Diesel engines deliver extra torque due to the way that the fuel burns, meaning you can get more power in the lower rev range than your petrol-car-driving friends.
Diesel cars tend to hold their value, so whether you buy straight off the forecourt or a used vehicle, you know you've made a good investment. They're not loud, dirty or clunky either, as the majority run on Low Sulphur Diesel, which has significantly reduced emissions.
Who should choose a diesel car, then? Historically, they've been favoured by those who routinely drive long distances, who want fuel economy and/or transport heavy loads. However, with nippier little diesel hatchbacks on the market, the option is open to anyone, and they might like to choose from among the following.
Mercedes-Benz A Class
Mercedes is justifiably proud of the A Class. It claims its sleek and sporty exterior 'redefines the modern hatchback'. And we have to admit, it does look good. The more powerful A200 CDI BlueEfficiency edition achieves an impressive 62 miles per gallon and can reach 0-60 in 9.3 seconds. Top Gear perceptibly describes the driving experience as 'very Mercedes-ish...in a good way' - meaning that it feels solid and luxurious. It's a superbly comfortable ride with little noise, accurate steering and an elegant interior. There's no compromise on style or performance with this car.
Read more about the Mercedes-Benz A Class
BMW 3 Series 318d
The 3 Series 318d SE is available as an executive saloon or a sleek estate which, model depending, can get up to 63 miles per gallon, top speeds of 130 miles per hour and go from 0-60 in around nine seconds. The diesel engine gets you around 61 miles per gallon and offers 143 brake horse power. Both versions are roomy and, specific model depending, are fitted with push button starter, on board computer, parking assistance, electric power steering and a host more gadgets. It's fun to drive, with great grip, agile steering and dynamic safety controls. As it's lighter than earlier editions and includes improved fuel-efficiency technology, carbon emissions are low. It's also cheaper to run that you might think.
Learn more about the BMW 3 Series 318d
Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Zetec
If you're looking for a reliable, cheap to run and practical first car, or perhaps a second 'runabout', you can't go far wrong with a Ford Fiesta. Always popular, the 1.6 TDCi Zetec delivers just enough power - Top Gear calls the engine 'perky' - taking a measured 12 seconds to go from 0-60. Perfect for those who are new to driving. It additionally offers great mileage per gallon (79-80mpg) and is tax-free, leaving a few pennies over to be put towards insurance! It's a safe and economical diesel option with a funkier exterior than its predecessors. Small business owners might like to consider the van version.
See the Ford Fiesta TDCi Zetec's full specification
MINI Countryman 2.0 Cooper SD
The MINI is one of the most desired small cars on the market. With a reputation for being fun, attractive and (at least with the latter incarnation) reliable, MINIs are always quick to sell. Our used stock never remains in the showroom for long. The crossover Countryman 2.0 Cooper SD is a grown-up MINI, a fully-fledged family SUV with space, comfort and safety features. Though a bit chunky, it retains the retro look of the hatchback, while offering supple suspension, high-performing turbodiesel engine (143bhp) and 61 miles to the gallon. It's a robust car which can cope with family life, go off-road and is fun to handle.
Discover more about this MINI Countryman
Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC
Advanced, sporty and good-looking, with a sleek and streamlined exterior, the Civic is an attractive car, housing an efficient and widely-praised 1.6-litre diesel engine. In fact, Honda has used this particular engine in the Civic Tourer estate. It's a safe car, boasting a five-star rating by Euro NCAP for its great swathe of features: vehicle stability system, Electronic Control Unity immobiliser, anti-whiplash front headrests and more. Accelerating from 0-60 in under 11 seconds and with 120bhp, it's a sturdy and practical choice. Its CO2 emissions are on the lower end of the scale and you're looking at zero tax as a result. It's a neat, aerodynamic and comfortable machine.
Find more out about this Honda Civic
If the above has piqued your interest, why not drop into one of our showrooms to browse Carbase's range of used diesel cars? Maybe even arrange for a test drive. We have branches in Weston-super-Mare, Bristol, Lympsham and Brent Knoll.