reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - rachael reed

Hoping someone can help. I currently have a 1.2 petrol Nissan micra but am spending a fortune on fuel (I do approx. 25000miles a year, mostly town driving and getting 44mpg - about £70 a week in petrol). So I'm looking into buying a diesel hatchback - I want reliability as well as fuel economy.

I've had a bad experience with a ford fiesta tdci (2002 plate) in the past and am scared to get another "common rail" car again. I do really like the Micra's, I would consider a diesel one but they are dci engines which makes me nervous... Or would a Toyota Yaris with D4D engine be better? Any suggestions for an alternative make/model?

Please help! Thank you.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - badbusdriver

I think most diesels these days are common rail, including the yaris. Which probably would be a good choice, but you are going to have to give a budget before any recommendations can be made.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - RT

You'll struggle to find anything recent that isn't common rail or direct injection - and if you did they're likely to be banned first from entering cities and towns!

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - badbusdriver

Budget dependent, but you might want to look at the yaris hybrid. Not everyone likes how they drive, but if you aren't a press on driver, I've read that they can be very economical, and no worries if diesel cars are banned from city centres.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - rachael reed

Thank U, I was just looking at the hybrid too (as theres a lot of taxi drivers with Toyota hybrids I took this as a good sign of some reliability) x

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - Stanb Sevento

The " mostly town driving" part worries me with diesel. Be caerfull. You need to spell out exactly what you mean by that.

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 22/07/2017 at 23:42

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - rachael reed

Driving instructor- hence mostly town driving - short journeys lots of start stops

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - RobJP

Driving instructor- hence mostly town driving - short journeys lots of start stops

A modern diesel would be a recipe for disaster with that sort of use.

Petrol or hybrid - though I've no idea if there are restrictions on hybrids as part of the driving test, or if they would be a problem as regards an auto or not - not sure which hybrids come with a manual box.

Town driving kills economy anyway, and learner drivers even more so. 44mpg is actually pretty decent for that sort of use, I'd say.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - Avant

I agree - 44 mpg is very good for the use you have to put the car to. A Yaris Hybrid is good but will cost about twice the price of a (petrol) Hyundai i10 or Kia Picanto, which is what I'd recommend. The fuel saving would take a very long time to pay for itself.

Taxi drivers get away without diesel particulate filter problems because the cars' engines are running most of the time. You might just be OK as a driving instructor but you wouldn't save enough in fuel to make the extra cost worthwhile.

Edited by Avant on 23/07/2017 at 00:31

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - iFocus

As said above 44mpg is pretty good for a petrol car, some diesels won't get much more than this around town.

Lets face it doing 25,000 miles a year isn't going to be cheap in any vehicle.

Remember to factor in servicing and repairs too; with used diesel these costs are most likely to be higher.

I'd stick with a petrol car and get a 1.0 turbo with stop-start for town driving.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - SLO76
Lots of short distance stop start driving doesn't suit a modern DPF equipped diesel but this also does come down to what budget we're talking about here. £15k or £1500?
reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - JEREMYH

The Peugout 206 and 307 2.0 dervs are very very good

They are bullet proof I love them I had a berloingo van with the same engine and I sold it to a decorator after we took it up to 290k and only changed cambelts and clutches

The D4ds are very ggod I have a toyota Privia d4d with 290 k on the clock

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - gordonbennet

Far as i know all the hybrids are some sort of auto, so no good for a general purpose driving school car.

Have you spoken to the big fleet instructors to see what they are using and how they're working out, when i delivered and collected BSM cars they changed from Vauxhalls to Fiat 500s (to the recipients displeasure), all petrols as i recall then though this was 10 years ago, but noticed the other day they'd changed makes again, think they're currently on Peug 208's but haven't a clue what fuel.

Someone i know leased a driving school car from a company that specialises in exactly that, who are located just south of Leicester on the old A50, might be worth a call.

As others have said 44 mpg on mainly town driving instructing i would have thought quite good.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - focussed

As an ex-instructor I can offer an insight into why BSM changed from Vauxhall Corsa's to Fiat 500's.

It was because Vauxhall stopped giving cars to BSM for nothing, so Fiat were either similarly giving the cars away for nothing or at very low cost.

As for the rest of this thread, I and every other professional instructor were running diesels, you can't afford to run a petrol as an instructor, as I did when I started with the AA driving school in 2002 and was getting 28 mpg from the 1.6 Ford Focus they rent you for £200 per week. - needless to say I didn't stay with them very long, enough to build a pupil base and then went independant.

First with a new 1.3 diesel Corsa which was an unreliable pile of carp and eventually just fell to pieces and then with a succession of diesel Honda Civics which never gave any trouble and never let me or a pupil down.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - Stanb Sevento

I think focussed has a point here. There is no substitute for first hand experience of using a car in the same way you have planned. Are there no " driving instructor forums" around? Even a chat with the competition who use diesel.

If I have any advice it would be to buy the newest car you can find, not the registration date but date the model first went on sale with an engine designed from the ground up to meet the latest emissions. Old engine designs modified to comply have fundamentals that work agains them.

There are big changes in the cars from every maker coming in the next year or so, be patient.

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 23/07/2017 at 11:04

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - SLO76
If I was looking for a car to fulfill this task I'd be shortlisting the Mazda 2 and Honda Jazz. The Jazz will break 50mpg in local use easy enough and exceed 60mpg on a run as will the petrol Mazda 2 while the diesel supposedly can exceed 70mpg but since the 1.5 diesel shared with Ford is basically a redesign of the notorious PSA 1.6 diesel I'd be a bit wary and with Mazda's reputation for diesel issues I don't hold much hope. The petrol engines will be hassle free though as will the Jazz plus they're both compact, easy to drive, comfortable and practical.

I used to sell Mitsubishi's and we had a few local private driving instructors who bought Colts every few years, one in particular used to cover huge mileages in them without issue. We used his trade-ins as spare courtesy cars for the workshop to demonstrate the durability of the cars. You honestly couldn't tell to drive them that they'd done a big mileage while the ex-driving school Clio's and Fiesta's were falling to pieces at half the mileage. Shame the current Mirage is utter garbage by comparison.
reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - Smileyman


Could I suggest you review your figures, something does not ring true. I presume you mean 25k not 250k miles pa. You must make 2 fill ups per week - I'd guess the Micra has a small fuel tank, only 35-40 litres?

25,000 miles @ 44 mpg is 568 gallons *4.546 into litres = 2583 @ £1.11 (current price of fuel) = £2.867 / 52 = £55.14 not £70 per week.

£70 pw = 63 litres or 13.87 gallons *52 = 721pa. 25,000 / 721 = 34.6 mpg.

why do I say this - I drive a Primera and drive 20k miles a year, about 400 per week which I get out of one tankfull of petrol (52-55 litres on average) - this gives me around 32-34 mpg, I consider your weekly spend too high for the mpg obtained.

Unless there is a really superb part exchange trade in to be received I would say wear out your existing car before replacing it, regular oil change every 10k miles, check for engine belts too, factoring in the cost of the new vehicle it is most likely to be the better financial option.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - badbusdriver

She says 25000 miles pa Smileyman, put your glasses on and read the zero's!

Rachael, as has been mentioned, see if you can find a driving instructor forum, surely there is bound to be one or two. They will probably be able to give you the best advice and suggestions for a new car.

A driving intstructor car is going to be particularly hard life for a car, probably more so than being a taxi!. Given the miles you cover, reliability as well as mpg are going to be crucial. SLO's suggestion of a jazz is a good one in terms of reliability and fuel consumption, but, honda parts, when you need them, are going to be rather expensive.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - focussed

A driving instructor car is going to be particularly hard life for a car, probably more so than being a taxi!.

I'm afraid that's another myth as far as my own cars were concerned.

As a professional instructor running your own car, you are in control, you just don't let pupils abuse the car, particularly the clutch because you have your own dual control clutch if needed, but if you are having to use the dual clutch often, you need to review your instructional technique.

Never had a pupil do any damage to my cars, if they couldn't drive properly and safely solo without being prompted or coached, they didn't get the car to take their test, it was my car, my liiving, my rules!

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - John Boy

I found a couple of driving instructor forums and each has a sub-forum about choosing a car. Neither is very vibrant or up-to-date. The first one seems to have a programming error which means you have to do a lot of scrolling. They both have plenty of instructors using diesels and cars which go against the predudices of our forum. My cursory look suggests that they might be a confusing read for anyone trying to make a choice.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - Engineer Andy

Given the Focus sized family cars are more expensive to buy and run than a 'city' car, I would suggest also looking at something like a Kia Picanto/Hyundai i10 1.0 ltr petrol - same car underneath but variation in looks/trim and warranty (KIA 7yrs/100k & Hyundai 5yrs & Unlimited miles) - I'd go for the i10 as its warranty is unlimited mileage (not all parts, e.g. clutch, but most). Its not as though you need a big, fast car for a driving school, and as others have said, diesel-engined cars may at some point be banned from some larger towns and cities, or at least taxed more heavily.

The slightly larger sister cars of both (Rio and i20) may also be worth a look in the higher-powered 1.2 (84bhp) and newer 1.0 (100bhp, small turbocharger) which seem to match the standard 1.0 ltr on the smaller cars for mpg in the real world (possibly as they are newer generation engines), getting a real-world mpg average in the high 40s and possibly over 50 for more urban driving.

Of those I've listed, I'd probably go for the non-turbocharged versions to be on the safe side in terms of reliability over the longer term/mileage (even if they are covered by the warranty - you'd need to make sure they are to the same degree if they are used as a driving school car - not sure).

I fully understand your reluctance to buy a common rail diesel - my driving instructor initially owned an early 1990s diesel Peugeot 205, then later had a SEAT Arosa, but I could swear blind he changed it back to a 205d again later on as much as 10 years after the 205 went out of production (I moved town so haven't seen him about since). One bunch of cars that looks good on paper but perhaps less so in real life are the VW Up/Seat Mii/Skoda Citigo 1.0 TSi petrol - good real world mpg (mid-to-high 50s) but reliability not so good, especially on gearboxes and manual clutches, something that I would think you wouldn't want in your line of work.

Best of luck.

PS - it might also be worth a look at the Toyota Aygo 1.0VVT petrol again, ok to drive, but reliable and has the Toyota engine (53mpg real world) and a 5 year / 100k miles warranty.

Edited by Engineer Andy on 23/07/2017 at 15:07

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - carl233

From my experience with the excellent Toyota\Lexus hybrids is that on the motorway at a steady 70-74 MPH you are only looking at 50 MPG approx. I would consider an older Diesel that does not have a DPF, DMF or a timing belt to keep costs down. The Kia Rio 2005-2011 model 1.5 comes to mind that is great value and cheap to buy. Many reports of this engine being good for at least 200k miles.

reliable diesel hatchback - any recommendations? - skidpan

Driving instructor- hence mostly town driving - short journeys lots of start stops

A modern diesel would be a recipe for disaster with that sort of use.

Most of the driving schools round us seem to use diesels.

44 mpg is exactly what our Micra 1.2 did in mostly town use. In similar use none of the diesels we have owned (Golf, Focus etc so bigger cars) have done any better.

So I would suspect that for your use a petrol is still the best buy, any savings you make will be small and the time taken to recoup your extra outlay will be long. Then any DPF etc related issues could cost ££££'s to fix and will not be covered by any warranty and simply add to your costs.


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