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Finance representative example (PCP)

Total cash price £19,999. Borrowing £15,999 with a £4,000 deposit at a representative APR of 12.9%.

49 monthly payments
£249.04
Fixed interest rate
12.9%
Total amount payable
£26,746.93
Cost of credit
£6,747.93
Optional final payment
£10,793.00
Annual mileage limit
6000 miles

Diesel used to be the fashionable fuel a few years ago. Everything from the Smart ForTwo city car to Audi’s Le Mans racer were powered by the black-pump fuel, and UK car buyers were actively encouraged to buy diesel cars because they produced fewer carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than petrol cars.

Fast-forward a few years and diesel is no longer on trend. Diesel cars produce more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than petrol cars, and diesel cars used only for short trips can get blocked up with soot.

But, if you’re someone who drives more than, say, 12,000 miles a year, a diesel car can still be the most cost-effective option. A used diesel car will get more miles to the gallon than an equivalent used petrol one.

It’ll also be the best fuel if you’re planning to tow a caravan or a horsebox. The low-down power of diesel engines makes light work of pulling heavy loads, and you can find four-wheel-drive diesel cars that offer more grip in wintry weather.

Plus, all the diesel cars sold at Motorpoint are new enough and clean enough to enter the UK’s increasing number of clean-air zones. So city driving in a diesel isn’t out of the question – just make sure you’re doing longer journeys too.

Here are 10 of the best diesel cars to buy right now.

FAQs

Provided you’re doing the mileage that a diesel engine needs, then a used diesel car is a sound purchase. There are still many diesel cars to choose from – like the Peugeot 208 supermini, the Ford Focus, BMW 3 Series, Nissan Qashqai and Range Rover Evoque. You can even get diesel sports cars like the BMW 2 Series.

Find out our top picks in our guide to the best diesel cars to buy.

All diesel cars produced since late 2015 need AdBlue. This is a fluid that reduces NOx emissions, and it’ll be topped up as part of a car’s routine maintenance. If you need to top it up yourself between services, you can buy AdBlue from auto parts stores and petrol stations. The AdBlue cap is usually next to the fuel filler cap and is bright blue so you don’t get the two confused. Your car will let you know if it’s running low on AdBlue. Read more info in our full guide to AdBlue.

The first thing to look at is the car’s MOT history, if it’s at least three years old. Make sure it’s done a decent amount of miles per year – a low-mileage diesel may have predominantly been used for short journeys, which could result in a blocked DPF (diesel particulate filter). Give the engine a visual check and make sure there’s no oil leaking – as you should anyway – and for peace of mind, get the car checked by an independent assessor. Take a test-drive to make sure no issues show up on the move.

Yes, a diesel car will use less fuel than an equivalent petrol car, due to the differences in how the fuel is burnt in each type of engine. Diesel cars typically will go further on a tank of fuel than petrol ones. However, you also need to bear in mind the cost of fuel. If the difference in price between petrol and diesel is only a few pence per litre, a diesel car will cost less in fuel. But if the difference is much larger, then a petrol car may prove more cost-effective.

If you know you’re regularly going to be doing long journeys or lots of motorway miles, then a used diesel car is still worth buying. Diesel engines are more efficient than petrol or hybrid engines at higher speeds. As above, diesel is still a popular choice with caravan owners, too.