How to drive a diesel? - 3500S
I've recently bought a Rover 75 diesel (131ps/300Nm) and it is an excellent car, supremely quiet inside, beautful cab, handles great and I'm a very happy bunny. Almost 500 miles so far and very highly recommended and I've driven a fair few cars in my time and this one is perhaps the best, just shading it over my 3500s.

However, I do realise that diesels have a limited power band and they require some intelligent gearwork. I'm not doing to badly realising the power really comes in a 2,000 rpm but it's caught me out a few times.

What I'd like to know is how to get the most out of driving one? Can any of the dieselheads pass on some sage advice to this diesel newbie?

Thanks in advance.
How to drive a diesel? - daveyjp
You don't need to rev over about 3-3500 revs in any gear and I find myself using second gear to move off as diesels have plenty of torque. Change gear in the max torque range and the car will accelerate better, you may also have to dip the clutch slightly earlier than you are used to to prevent the car creeping forward at slower speeds.
How to drive a diesel? - mlj
Be in the highest gear possible. As long as you are within the power band from 2000rpm you will get the response you want. Being in top gear when accelerating means your car will simply continue to respond. If anything, a diesel does not really need intelligent gearwork - rather it is the petrol engine which does.
How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
Two things. First find out where your maximum torque figure is. Mine is at 2000 rpm. Try and cruise around at this figure, its where the engine is happiest, comfortable and most efficient. Secondly find out where the maximum power figure is, say 4000 rpm.
So cruise about at max torque, and if you need to boy race from lights go to max power and change up. This will drop you into the nice band between max torque and max power again. Go over max power and performance drops like a brick.

If you toddle around at max torque, it will happily pull you to max power (mid range punch) when you need it.

Experience gained from 405 1.9d (70k miles), Cavalier 1.7td (60k miles) and now laguna2 1.9 dCi (500 miles)




How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
Oh and when creeping about in heavy traffic dont use the throttle. It will happily pull away if you slowly let out the clutch and will toddle along nicely on tickover in first.
How to drive a diesel? - 3500S
So far I'm kind of limited to up to 3000rpm as I am taking the running in of this car very seriously. Only another 80 or so miles to go but I'm really not pushing it beyond 4000 for at least another 500 miles.

The power really comes in at around 1750rpm and is still powering through at 3000rpm but then I have to change and it's cleverly geared to drop to about 1500-1750rpm. Fifth is ultimately a cruiser gear as final drive is around 30mph/1000rpm. It's good for motorway overtaking at it sits very nicely at just over 2000 at 70.

I've found that 3rd and 4th are very common gears to be in around town, 3rd is very sweet as it picks up 2000rpm at 30 and tops 40 at 3000rpm.

Which leads me onto economy. I bought the car on what the 'pundits' reckoned was an average of 50mpg. Will lurking in this lowish gears impact economy too greatly?
How to drive a diesel? - DieselBoy
Indeed I can...

Just go with the flow. Diesels drive completely differently to their petrol counterparts and need a different style.

Personally I get to about 1700rpm as soon as I can, which is where the higher torque band starts. I very, very rarely go past 3000-3500rpm as this is where power tends to tail off.

Go up the gears as quickly as possible, you'll find the torque pulls you along quite nicely to keep up with traffic.

How to drive a diesel? - 3500S
This is all very interesting stuff, thanks for the replies so far....

The torque thing is what I'm really interested in.

I scared the living bejessus out of myself last week. I was pulling away from slow moving traffic and dropped from 3rd to 2nd and got a bit heavy with my foot (a trait from five years of driving autos) cue wheel spin and 3,500 rpm before I knew it, put it into 3rd very promptly and still going like a freight train.

Cue 3500S realisation that torque is wonderful with a big smile on his face. I must take the 3500 out soon, even in this gorgeous weather it hasn't had a sniff of the open road for a fortnight now. Driving this diesel is a lot of fun but I would like to perfect driving it.
How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
Oh and once its run in, dont forget to give it a blow out regularly. Run it up to near red line thro the gears. Do it at night with a car behind you, and look at the muck that comes out showing in the headlights of the car behind. Do it once through first then second. Try it again and you will see no more muck.
(only when nicely warmed up tho!!!) Do it once for every tank fill seems best. (say every 5/600 miles)
How to drive a diesel? - AlanGowdy
I'd agree with all this stuff. Petrol engines were king in the 20th century, diesels are now (outside the realms of supercars)- until hydrogen or whatever comes on stream. The combination of strong performance and economy is unbeatable.
Interesting to note how many road tests of cars these days rate the diesels as the best engine option - latest I've seen is the Daily Telegraph on the new BMW 5 series.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
Renault family: "...and if you need to boy race from lights go to max power and change up"

Have to say, this made me laugh! As did this,

"I scared the living bejessus out of myself last week. I was pulling away from slow moving traffic and dropped from 3rd to 2nd and got a bit heavy with my foot (a trait from five years of driving autos) cue wheel spin and 3,500 rpm before I knew it, put it into 3rd very promptly and still going like a freight train."

I have driven diesel cars for years and there is no such thing as boy racing from the lights. They are slow off the mark, full stop. Admitedly the torque figures are high but when you compare a 1.9 or 2.0 diesel to a 1.4 or 1.6 petrol, the petrol car simply responds better at any speed. Okay, the revs are different - higher for the petrol, but this nonsense about diesels feeling more 'punchy' and 'responsive in mid-range' and 'quicker from 30-70' is exactly that - nonsense.

You buy a diesel because it uses fuel slower, not because you want punch at any 'range' - mid or not.

Have to say that a new 1.4 Civic SE that I borrowed the other day very closely matched the performance of my old 306 Dturbo, with similar economy. The new range of HDi and TDi engines are better, but no faster. Add to this the fact that the diesel engine is MUCH heavier than the equivalently quick petrol and the all-too-regular service intervals that diesels need (similar to performance petrol engines) and the fact that it cost a whole load more to buy an equivalent diesel car, and the savings seem minimum.

Finally, as for driving the things - there are no advance skills whatsoever. You can pull away in virtually any gear (slowly) without stalling and you need to change much less. Watching the rev counter hardly move is a pointless exercise. The difference between 1500rpm and 3500rpm - between which you do all your driving - is negligible in performance terms. And just try taking it up close to 4000rpm if you want to see a car performance die!

My advice is: ignore all the advice and 'torque' figures. When you are driving the thing it will be sluggish. But it will happily put away motorway miles and cost you less (providing you do something approaching 50k miles in it each year).

Happy diesel motoring.
How to drive a diesel? - Nortones2
Leatherpatches: what diesels did you drive? Or is this a leg-pull?
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
Sorry - cost you less until the head gasket goes...

Also, I would say that the higher spec (and much higher price) 130bhp and 150bhp VW PDi diesel engines are approaching petrol standards for performance, before this is quoted at me! But have you seen the price of these cars?!! The BMW 320d and 330d are also fine engines, which approach the figures given by 1.8i 2.0i and petrol engines respectively. But again - the price completely ofsets the gains.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
306 1.9 Dturbo, 106 1.5 (I owned both of these and still have the 106), Citroen Xsara, Golf TDi 110bhp, Passat 1.9 SE TDI pd (100 bhp) (all owned by family)

I have also driven many other diesel cars, even recently trying the 307 2.0HDi
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
Oh, and the Focus TDCi, which I was quite impressed with but economy seemed poor.

They simply don't make financial sense unless you are doing a shed load of miles and don't mind driving in a sluggish fashion.

Sorry!
How to drive a diesel? - 3500S
Leatherpatches,

I think that you need to re-evaluate your diesels.

At least Rover 75s anyway.

Max Sp. 0-60 30-50mph 50-70mph
2.5 V6 Manual 137 8.2 7.0 7.0

2.0 CDTi Manual 120 10.3 7.3 6.8

I know that it's not going to win prizes from 0-60 (for a diesel though, that's respectable and enough to keep the 1L nova brigade off your back) but once moving it's comparable.

And the service interval is 15,000 miles but I'm doing over servicing for an oil change at 7,500.

How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
Laguna 1.8 petrol, max power 122 bhp, max torque 168nm
0-60 10.7, max speed 126
MPG combined 37

Laguna 1.9 dCi, max power 120bhp, max torque 270nm
0-60 10.7, max speed 124
MPG combined 51

Hard choice init
How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
oooo and look, same leasing cost due to the better resale value of the oil burner despite its higher purchase price, and jeez the diesel only attracts tax at 18% and the petrol at 20%,, the choice gets tougher and tougher...........
How to drive a diesel? - Gazza
Max Sp. 0-60 30-50mph
50-70mph
2.5 V6 Manual 137 8.2
7.0 7.0
2.0 CDTi Manual 120 10.3
7.3 6.8


From figure, looks like both petrol and diesel are in 4th or top gear.

If you drop to third gear (or even second, depending on gearing), the petrol should be faster.

My petrol car does upto 50mph in first and 90mph in second so the 30-50, 50-70, 60-80 & 70-90 figures look good but 40-60 is not as good as the 50-70.
How to drive a diesel? - RichardW
Audi A4 2.0 FSI and 1.9 TDI 130 are the same to 60 (9.9 from memory) same top speed (about 130), but the diesel uses 25% less fuel, and will blow the petrol out of the water between 30 and anywhere you care to mention. I've driven my mate's A4 130 TDi - it is far from 'slow'!!

Funny that people always try and look at the diesel option to see if it will be 'cheaper' - given a range of petrol engines you choose a power output that satisifes your driving aspirations - and pay more for more power. Diesels are just the same - but ignore the power figures and look at the torque figures, you pay more for more torque. Also everbdy seems to forget that diesels are worth MUCH more come chop in time - compare the values of petrol and diesel Xantias for instance - you can forget the inital price difference as you will get most (if not more!) of it back. I've said here before - if you want a diesel, buy one, if not don't. You will not be able to 'justify' it on cost grounds - the difference is so marginal once you take into account depreciation. Of course once you think about not killing everybody and using 25% less of the world's finite fossil fuels, and *MOST IMPORTANTLY* giving the government 25% less of your hard earned cash at every forecourt visit, you'd be dim to buy a petrol!

As to your original question 3500S - drive it just like a petrol, but remember that the power band is 1000 rpm - 4000 rpm, not 3000 - 6000 rpm! This means that 3rd will do most of the time round town - you just coast down to idle then it will magically pick up again when required. The thing that may catch you out (as has been noted already) is that when approaching a junction in top you will need to declutch at 30mph as at this speed you hit the governor and the engine will just push on, rather than dying like petrols do. Driving at idle in traffic jams at 3mph really annoys petrol drivers who have to slip the clutch.....

Oh, and try not to look too smug when bowling along the motorway at ahem mph and doing 55+ MPG, watching all the poor saps in the petrol cars only doing 35 - 40.....

Hmm, I think it might be obvious I am a dieselhead.....

Richard
How to drive a diesel? - TrevP
Hmmm. Interesting. We appear to have contributors living on 2 different planets, viz:-

"Cue 3500S realisation that torque is wonderful with a big smile on his face"

and

"the petrol car simply responds better at any speed. Okay, the revs are different - higher for the petrol, but this nonsense about diesels feeling more 'punchy' and 'responsive in mid-range' and 'quicker from 30-70' is exactly that - nonsense."

Perhaps the difference lies in the way they drive (drove?) petrol cars?

I can remember reading in a road test of the Pug 306 diesel
that it gave the performance of the 1.8 with the economy of the 1.4
EXCEPT for it's 4th and 5th gear acceleration - which a BMW 320 owner would die for.

How to drive a diesel? - peterb
Personally, I don't care that the diesel is nearly as fast as the petrol; I JUST CAN'T STAND THE NOISE THEY MAKE!

BTW, it's interesting to note just how polarised many of us are about this issue....

Peter
How to drive a diesel? - Steve S
Spot on. The real test of the diesel fan centres on the company car tax situation, which is really distorting the picture.

The vast majority of our fleet (80 or so) who have selected diesels have done so for this reason alone. You level the tax playing field and they'd be back in a petrol engine before you could say "torque".

The fact that diesel cars carry such a premium (which completely off sets the increases mpg for most users) simply would not attract people who did not have special requirements (towing, off road stuff that kind of thing).

When the critical mass have moved over to diesel you watch the company car tax shift back again.

How to drive a diesel? - Steve S
BTW I consider the extra tax well worth not sounding like a tractor - and before the oil burners among us leap in, I've tried BMW/Merc/Volvo/Audi and to me, they are all considerably noisier and more sluggish in response (save for the in-gear torque) than their petrol equivalents.

You pays your money....I'm glad the option is there for those who like them.
How to drive a diesel? - CM
Leatherpatch said

"The BMW 320d and 330d are also fine engines, which approach the figures given by 1.8i 2.0i and petrol engines respectively. But again - the price completely ofsets the gains."

Sorry to disagree on this. I have a 530d touring so will apply your theory to this model. I suppose the way to judge what you are referring to is by acceleration figures

520i (2.2l)
0-62 = 9.5
50-75 = 9.9

525i
0-62 = 8.5
50-75 = 8.9

530i
0-62 = 7.5
50-75 = 7.7

530d
0-62 = 8.1
50-75 = 7.4

Now personally speaking I would say that the 530d is more akin to the 530i (rather than the 525i). As they cost the same I cannot see (in this example) where the premium comes in.

Undoubtedly a diesel makes more noise but as the car is so well insulated it never bothers me.
How to drive a diesel? - peterb
Steve,

Completely agree with your posts.

It's interesting that the popularity of diesels often depends on extrinsic factors such as the new co. car tax regime in the UK or the cheap price of diesel fuel on the continent.

BTW loved the earlier tongue-in-cheek post about doing an Italian tune-up and covering the car behind with soot!

Peter
How to drive a diesel? - 3500S
What swung me into the diesel camp was a number of factors and I'm a private buyer, no car allowance.

Power, the diesel has the same amount of torque and Bhp (almost, 15Bhp less) as my 3500S V8. They weight about the same as well so I had an instant comparison.

Economy, 50mpg. Enough said.

Cheaper road tax, every little helps.

Durability, the engine is chain-cam and a highly regarded BMW variant found in the 320d.

Equivalence on the move. The 2.5 V6 K-series is a great engine but on the move, the CDT has very similar figures but double the fuel economy.

How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
It\'s interesting that the popularity of diesels often depends on extrinsic
factors such as the new co. car tax regime in the
UK or the cheap price of diesel fuel on the continent.
BTW loved the earlier tongue-in-cheek post about doing an

>>Italian tune-up and covering the car behind with soot!
Peter


Dependent on extrinsic factors? Nope Thats just icing on cake. Given the choice between a good modern diesel and an equivalent buzzy mulitvalved sized petrol I will go oil burner every time. Much more tractable and useable to drive, much more relaxed driving.

Mind you, that statement falls to ratsmerde if you start to talk about big (3 litres and above) petrols in 6\'s, and V\'s. Then petrol will knock a diesel to shreds (payment at pump required mind)

And yes, choking the tailgater behind in a fog of soot is the candles on the cake
How to drive a diesel? - TrevP
3500S -

to get back to your question - (what should I do different?), answer - not much.

I use the same gears for speeds in SWMBO's Tdi as I would in most petrol cars
(3rd 30-60, 4th 40-80, 5th 50-100). (latter for illustration purposes only)
How to drive a diesel? - matt35 {P}
3500s,
Years ago I moved from Citroen CXs to XMs - When I read the speeds in each gear I thought that they had transposed the petrol and diesel times - the diesel figures were much quicker in 30 to 50 and 50 to 70.
I called Citroen Slough Tech Dept who confirmed that the Turbo diesel was much quicker in the range where you might need some oomph, due to the torque.
Had two in seven years, both 2.1 automatics and had a lot of fun looking in the mirrors at punters who heard the diesel at stop and thought they could walk away from it - magic motors and fantastic auto box!

Matt35
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
Compare the speed and power of the new Mercedes E320 V6 petrol and the E320 CDI diesel.
What is the point of the petrol one.
How to drive a diesel? - Steve S
Err, the 320 v6 is smoother, quieter (especially at start, quicker off the mark and cheaper.

Other than that - nothing.
How to drive a diesel? - Dizzy {P}
Get this:

1. I worked for over 40 years in diesel engine design and was sick of the things by the time I took early retirement.

2. I have a BMW straight-six (petrol), amongst the smoothest engines on earth and with a neck-jerking 192 bhp at the top end.

3. I do quite low miles, no more than 8000/annum, sometimes nearer 6,000, and fuel economy doesn't bother me.

4. My BMW is in superb condition; drives like new despite its 120,000 miles.

Despite the above, and after a *very* long deliberation I have decided to buy a Rover 75 CDT (BMW 4-cyl diesel). Several reasons, but a major one is that I'll no longer need to run the engine between 4500 and 6000 rpm to get maximum torque & power. My old Triumph 2500 pulls like a train from tickover in top gear right up to the red line. What is it with modern sixes?

Yes, I'm a born-again diseasel convert!
How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
>What is it with modern sixes

the green lobby, the oil crisis & emisions control have all conspired over the years to strangle combustion engines

If I had my way we would all be driving around in V8 Pilots and holidays would be taken on huge powerful noisy steaming Battle of Britain class loco to the Cornish riviera where the sun always shone.

How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
Err, the 320 v6 is smoother, quieter (especially at start, quicker off the mark and cheaper.


The E320 CDI is the same off the mark, has a better top end, costs less and has an awfull lot more punch after about 70mph.

The noise of the diesel on start up is worse I agree but once moving there is not much difference.

Check the Mercedes website Steve.
How to drive a diesel? - CM
The noise of the diesel on start up is worse I
agree but once moving there is not much difference.



As I said earlier about my BMW and which can be ablied to M-B, these cars are very well insulated and the driver really cannot hear too much of the noisy engine at start up. Others outside hearing it doesn't bother me. To be honest I quite like the sound of my diesel.

Personally the only diesel CAR that really irritates me in the noise department is the dear old black cab! One other thing my straight 6 diesel is a lot quiter at start up and to drive than an AJP V8!
How to drive a diesel? - mlj
re Merc petrol 320 v diesel 320. er...the diesel is cheaper, but the smart money buys the 270 CDI.
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
The extra money I spent on the E320 CDI would have ended up going to the taxman in any case.
Everyone I spoke to recommended the 320. In saying that I was very impressed with the 270 but the 320 sounded less like a diesel and went like a rocket so I treated myself.
How to drive a diesel? - mlj
Good answer! I'm jealous!
How to drive a diesel? - carayzee
Trouble is, we're not comapring like with like are we?
Modern diesels are TURBOCHARGED. Can you buy a diesel car without a turbo any more?
Turbo'd petrol cars have just as much torque as diesels, and then a nice bit of bhp on top.
e.g. Seat Leon diesel 110bhp 235nm torque @1900 rpm.
Leon VT 1.8 petrol turbo 180bhp 235nm torque @ 1950-5000 rpm.
If you look at the 0-100 figures, the petrol is so much faster, 17ish seconds vs 29ish seconds.
Yes, you can chip your diesel to 180bhp, I hear you cry, but by the same token, you can tune the petrol to 280bhp before you have to go internal.
This is just an example. The petrol car costs £400 more in this case, but is far far higher spec'd.
I have no need for great mpg, 30+ is plenty for me, so it's petrol every time.
Preferably with a turbo (or 2) :o)
How to drive a diesel? - MichaelR
You can't really compare Turbo Petrol and Turbo Diesel cars, the only similarity is the fact they both have a Turbo.

Turbo Petrol cars cost more to insure, are found in the more sporty cars, drink a hell of a lot more fuel and are aimed at a totally different market.

Do you see a Turbo Petrol Mondeo? A Turbo Petrol Vectra? Where is the Turbo Petrol Polo? They don't exist and even where they do they cost a shedload more than the Turbo Diesel in the just-about-everything department - a TD is roughly comparable to an N/A petrol in that they are found in the same cars, have the samea rough performance figures, etc.

FWIW I love my Xantia TD. It means that as a student I can run a nice large comfortable car and spend the same on fuel as I did when I had my Felicia 1.3 petrol. It sounds like a tractor in the mornings but I really don't care - it's fine when it's warmed up and you can't tell its a diesel once you get driving above 30mph. Even when you can the noise isn't exactly intrusive. Performance wise it's just so much better to drive than the 1.8 in the same car.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
"Performance wise it's just so much better to drive than the 1.8 in the same car."

No chance.
How to drive a diesel? - PhilW
Horses for courses - no-one will win this argument though I suspect that diesel will continue to win devotees as the engines continue to improve in so many ways - quietness, smoothness, economy , performance etc.
Since my boy racer days are long gone (0-60 times are a mystery to me especially as I gather they are done by revving to max and dropping the clutch which is not the way I pull away from the lights!) I prefer diesel especially since I can cruise at 90 at 3000 revs (oops, I mean 70 at 2100 revs!) while getting nearly 60 mpg from a 2 litre engine. I also have to confess that I find the sound of a diesel strangely reassuring compared to a "buzzy" petrol (i'm unlikely to be able to afford a V8 or even straight 6). Part of this must be that in 16 years of XUD and now HDi engines I have yet to have one break down or fail to start and that compares extremely well with petrols I drove previously. And by the way leatherpatches - what's a blown head gasket?
Nevertheless, I can see why many prefer petrols, and why many don't like diesels - in the end it's personal choice. But why anyone would buy a green Land Rover discovery with a petrol engine........!!!!!???
How to drive a diesel? - andymc {P}
Living in a rural area between two farmers, I can assure everyone that the only time a diesel car sounds like a tractor is when both are switched off.
I find the criticism of diesel engines for being too noisy a bit pointless - some people (me for one) like the deep thrum of a diesel engine, some like the snarl of a petrol-powered muscle car, some don't want to hear their engine at all. I do like to hear the engine, if only because a change in the note can be a sign of impending trouble - or a sign that I've forgotten to change up into fifth;) - and I have to say that I have to listen pretty carefully. And no, there's nothing wrong with my hearing!
Case in point - my dad drives a 1.4 litre petrol car. Last week, I gave him a lift in the Passat up into the Wicklow mountains - plenty of steep climbing to load the engine. After five minutes or so, out of the blue he said "You know, I hadn't realised how noisy my car was."
How to drive a diesel? - MichaelR
You've driven both a Xantia 1.8 and a Xantia 1.9TD to be able to catergorically state that, I assume?

It's quicker to 60, its quicker through the gears, it's just quicker full stop!
How to drive a diesel? - Gazza
I believe low-pressure turbo petrol is becoming propular again as well. I have driven the Peugeot 406 2.0 Turbo (150 bhp) and it is faster but with about the same fuel consumption as 2L Xantia/406, which I believe is faster than the 1.9TD or even the HDI.

Same goes for any Saab EcoPower or Volvo 940 LPT, all current 9-3/9-5 & S40/S60/S70 2.0/2.4 low-pressure turbo.

Same goes for Audi 1.8T (150) and Merc 180/200 Kompressor (150?).

To be honest, I like the A4 1.8T more than the 110TDI. You get max. torque with both but the diesel max.torque range is 2000-3500rpm whereas the petrol max-torque range is 2000-5500rom. You get constant acceleration for longer so less gear change in the petrol and you can skip gears, going from 1st to 3rd to 5th or 2nd to 4th.
How to drive a diesel? - mlj
I wonder how many of these posts about gear changes have owned turbodiesels long term. I once owned a Honda with a supposedly state of the art 16v engine. It revved to 8000rpm. To access the engine's power you had to drop into 3rd or 4th and get the thing spinning at 5000rpm at least. For a while I thought this was great fun and enjoyed driving it. It occurred to me one day that this was not a very efficient way to go about things. Then, this was 1994, I read an article with the headline 'now you can have your cake and eat it.' I bought the car, a Golf TDI. My first diesel. It took me a month to learn how to drive it properly and about a week to realise this was as efficient as the Honda was not. In 5th you can accelerate as much as you want from 1800rpm. By the time you are doing, say, 85, your engine will be turning at about 3500rpm. Why change gear? It is the petrol engine which has to change gear to keep up! The TDI is so flexible and tractable that at times it is like an automatic. The petrol engine spins quicker and ....so what? Any 2L petrol engine is slower than a TD in the same gear. Look at any 30-50 or 50 to 70 figures. It will only be quicker by changing down and getting the revs into a higher band. I look forward to reading the squeals of outrage!
How to drive a diesel? - 330d
CAR Magazine (not noted for it's particular love of diesels) has the BMW 330D as it's 5th best car available today, and that includes all your petrol supercars. Just take the blinkers off and try one!
How to drive a diesel? - Reggie
PhilWs comments above mirror my views completely.
Apart from my 406 2.1td (which I still own) last year I bought a 206 2.0SE convertable. Whilst I did enjoy driving the car, my single biggest dissapointment (apart from excessive road noise) was that to make the thing shift, I had to change down two gears, and listen to the cocopheny as the thing wound up. O.K. if you like lots of noise and fuss. It had to go, and it did, for a C3 HDI 16v 90bhp. Joy oh joy. Quiet engine, loads of power from 1500 revs, and it revs past 4000 easily,(and is more like a petrol in that respect) but in this car the speedometer increases faster than the rev counter! Well it would if it wasn't digital.
I realise that we are all different with different likes and dislikes, but as I cannot afford to run a V6 / V8, I will remain happy with my oilburners.
Now if you like real power, you could always consider a motorbike! But thats a different topic.
Reggie
How to drive a diesel? - carayzee
mlj - There's no point comparing 50-70 times (4th gear?) of a vtec honda with a turbo-diesel is there. They're never going to win tow car of the year either. Gazza was more on the ball comparing the low pressure petrol turbos with the diesels. My old vtec would pull from 1,500 to 9,000rpm in fifth if you wanted it to, that's flexibility, but you would never drive it like that. OK, I never got that high in fifth, but you get the point.
I like TD's, if I did lots of miles or company car commuting I would have one, I just don't do many miles, so if a car costs a tenner a week more in fuel I don't really care..
I've driven a few modern diesels recently, all hire cars, and for big distances. A Corsa 1.7(?)td, a Golf 130 or 150 (don't know how you tell the difference) and a Focus TDCi. The Corsa had such a narrow power band from about 1800-2500 that it was dangerous. The old model 1.5 was much better.
The Golf was very torquey, but had to change gear all the time, plus it had really dead steering, loads of understeer. Typical VW/Audi setup I suppose. Apparently the Sport suspension option transforms the car. The Focus was the best by far, did loads of miles 5-up full loaded. It handled brilliantly and pulled like a train up the Pyranees. I'd definately have one over a petrol Focus. But then it does have the benefit of a turbo.........
How to drive a diesel? - Gen
richardW "course once you think about not killing everybody and using 25% less of the world's finite fossil fuels"

renaultfamily "Oh and once its run in, dont forget to give it a blow out regularly. Run it up to near red line thro the gears. Do it at night with a car behind you, and look at the muck that comes out showing in the headlights of the car behind"

So which is it then, are diesels more or less pollutive than petrols? I seem to remember that diesels are much much worse as small particles, get in lungs etc etc...has this changed or are they still an environmental catastrophe?
How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
In reply to Gen\'s post:-

Do the same with a petrol engine and you will see EXACTLY the same phenomina.
How to drive a diesel? - Gen
Surely you agree that (some?) diesels give a big belch of dark smoke sometimes, and you don't get this the same on a petrol...I've seen it many times...of course, I know that what looks bad is not always worse than the invisible but...
How to drive a diesel? - mlj
Carayzee,
And the turbocharger on a diesel engine does what precisely? A largely different task to that of a petrol engine. The oxymoron in your fourth sentence is pertinent to this discussion: I did drive my TDI like that, THAT'S flexibility. My point about in gear 50 - 70 times is that a petrol engine has to change down for instant response, a diesel does not.
PS The 150 TDI is noisier than the 130.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
"And the turbocharger on a diesel engine does what precisely? A largely different task to that of a petrol engine."

Ermm, don't they both spin round to force more air and hence more fuel into the combustion area? More air+more fuel = bigger bang = more power. Can't see how that can be done differently, personally.

Can I just say that I know a guy who doesn't have a diesel because his daughter is severly asthmatic and he believes it makes her worse. This makes frightening reading:

www.californialung.org/downloads/diesel010501/ALA-...f

So much for environmentally friendly!

I still own both a petrol and a diesel car. I believe the bottom line is this:

If you want a faster car, buy the petrol. If you want to spend less on fuel over a period of time, buy the diesel. If you have children who suffer from chest complaints including asthma and other irritations, definately buy the petrol. If you prefer a slow moving, slow changing, Mississippi steamboat ride, buy the diesel.
How to drive a diesel? - Altea Ego
Dear Mr Leather Patches. Allow me to assure you that with your petrol engine screaming away on your Honda at 9000 rpm you are contributing just as much to your friends kids asthma as the rest of us.
How to drive a diesel? - mlj
Wondered when this fascinating thread would get round to pollution. All engines produce PMs. (particulate matter). Diesels produce PMs of 10 to 15, petrols of 2.5 to 5.(figures are size). Latest research is that it is the smallest PMs which are the most dangerous as they are small enough to lodge in the lungs and pass into the bloodstream. All engines (petrol/diesel/whatever) produce about a tenth of total UK PM output. Want to hugely reduce PMs? Pick on barbecues. They are far, far worse.
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
When I chose my last car I had a budget of 40k. I test drove many diesels and many petrol cars and opted for diesel.
I didn't choose diesel because of fuel consumption, I chose it because of the huge mid range torque which in turn leads to a relaxed but very quick driving experience. I drove a V-Tec and if I wanted to thrash the car around like an idiot it would have been ideal.
The point is that diesel engines are now very efficient, very quick and have torque figures that the petrol equivalent cannot even get near so to go fast you don't even have to try.
That is why I chose diesel, it is just so much more relaxing to drive.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
Dear Mr Leather Patches. Allow me to assure you that with your petrol engine screaming away on your Honda at 9000 rpm you are contributing just as much to your friends kids asthma as the rest of us.
Reply to this message

How to drive a diesel? - mlj new Sat 31 May 03 16:11

Wondered when this fascinating thread would get round to pollution. All engines produce PMs. (particulate matter). Diesels produce PMs of 10 to 15, petrols of 2.5 to 5.(figures are size). Latest research is that it is the smallest PMs which are the most dangerous as they are small enough to lodge in the lungs and pass into the bloodstream. All engines (petrol/diesel/whatever) produce about a tenth of total UK PM output. Want to hugely reduce PMs? Pick on barbecues. They are far, far worse.
Reply to this message

How to drive a diesel? - Marcos new Sat 31 May 03 16:44

When I chose my last car I had a budget of 40k. I test drove many diesels and many petrol cars and opted for diesel.
I didn't choose diesel because of fuel consumption, I chose it because of the huge mid range torque which in turn leads to a relaxed but very quick driving experience. I drove a V-Tec and if I wanted to thrash the car around like an idiot it would have been ideal.
The point is that diesel engines are now very efficient, very quick and have torque figures that the petrol equivalent cannot even get near so to go fast you don't even have to try.
That is why I chose diesel, it is just so much more relaxing to drive.
Reply to this message

Actually Mr Renault, my limiter cuts in at 8.5k rpm :)

MLJ, I don't want to hugely reduce global particles, just those surrounding my kid. And evidence suggests that diesels induce asthma in individual children whose parents own diesel cars. Even if there is some doubt, I don't want to take the chance.

Marcos, I totally agree with the relaxing driving experience that a diesel offers...until you want to overtake or accelerate quickly, anywhere. Then your stress rises much quicker than your speed. If you think lack of response to throttle equates to relaxing driving, that's fine and I won't knock you for that. I don't, however. I suppose when I am old I may think very differently...:)

Now let's smile and agree to disagree on this one, old chaps!
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
The only thing to rise quickly when you put your foot down in my car is the speed and the distance between you and the hot hatch that was tailgating until the limiter stops you at 151mph.
If you are down this way one day I'll let you have a little spin and then see how you feel.
I was very scepticle about diesels until I drove the E320 CDi and as soon as I drove it I knew I had to have it.
Can't comment on the smaller diesels though.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
Point taken. By the figures I'd be 4mph behind you flat out :)

I concede defeat on the most expensive German diesels. The BMW and Merc versions are certainly awesome. I've not driven one or even been in one to be honest, but what I see from outside and read bolsters my opinion of diesels. But what about Mr. Everyday £16k diesel compared to my hatchback?

I certainly wouldn't be tailgating you though, my friend. This is one of my pet hates.
How to drive a diesel? - Ben79
I drive what I believe to be a representative car of the £16k hatchback, a C5 2.0 HDI 110, very relaxing, and when you want it to be, very quick!

When you are moving you wouldn't know if it was a diesel or a petrol until you notice you are doing 60mph and 2000 rpm.

Ben
On my 3rd Citroen. Saxo, Xsara, C5.
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
I think your car would demolish a smaller diesel but then people who buy smaller diesel's are probably looking for 50-60mpg and not for the performance of your car.
I'm glad you don't tailgate because I really hate it.
By the way, my freind at work is looking at getting a new car and has narrowed it down to a Honda civic TypeR and a Seat Leon Cupra R. Are you pleased with yours and did you consider the Cupra.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
I did, in fact, try the Cupra. However, it simply is not comparable to my Civic. Now the Cupra R, on the other hand has very similar figures, if a bit slower off the lights. This is an impressive car with standard 18" alloys, turbo to 200bhp, climate control and all the other nicities you would expect to find on a top-of-the-range hot hatch.

What swung it for me was the test drive. The difference between the two is quite marked. There is no doubt that the Cupra R has a good deal of grunt (sorry diesel owners, but it has!) but the shear thrills, responsiveness and 'kick in the back' unbeatable thrust at 6.5k rpm of the Honda wins it every day for me.

If your friend has a family he should certainly try out the rear seats before buying a Cupra 'R', though. They are similar to the Honda with standard front seats, but who wants those when you are revving at 8.5k rpm? :) The Recaro front seats on the Cupra leave seriously only small child room in the rear. This is not true of the Civic, which serves two adults in the back with Recaros in the front, no problem.

Yes, it may look like a breadvan (says my mate with the Clio Sport) but it wacks other cars to s**t and does so with plenty of room in the back and your head upright!

I'll take you up on that Merc ride if you are ever in the SW. I think I believe you about 'mid-range' punch, but you'll forgive me my rye little smile when I step into my CTR, floor it and think about the diesel people and their mid-range 'torque'...
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
Deleted duplicate posting.

Leatherpatches how do you manage to keep on duplicating posts? Is it that you\'re hitting the \"post this message\" button more than once? DD.
How to drive a diesel? - mlj
Don't want to fall out with you, Leatherpatches, but acelerating quickly and safely is far less stressful in my old TD than it is in my new petrol! With no intention to cause any distress, it is rather ridiculous to suggest diesel emissions induce asthma.
There was Scandinavian research a few years ago which subjected rats to a diet of diesel emissions. No matter how hard they tried, there was absolutely no difference to those rats fed on pure air.
No engine emission is safe, but there is a lot of dogma surrounding diesels which is unproven or , worse, fictional.
Happy motoring!
How to drive a diesel? - Nortones2
Particle size and quantities have been little researched re petrol. As mlj says petrol engines produce particulates also: but because they are difficult to measure , they haven't been much analysed. Easier for the black smoke aspect to be blamed than do the science. Re asthma: NO compounds are possibly more significant biologically than particulates, especially when you think of the all the sources of "dust" in the environment. Ultra-fines remain bouyant whilst the PM10 is fraction is likely to be less so. I understand diesel produces more NO etc when new, but with mileage, petrol engines worsen. I'd guess that NO was a culprit but epidemiology is too complex for certainty on this score. Possibly chlorine is implicated - see comments recently on the effects from swimming -pool exposure. Its not just chlorine though: there are numerous other compounds produced by the reaction of hypochlorite with wee-wee! I do not jest.

Re torque, I think leatherpatches is, to be charitable, confusing excitement and immediate throttle response with performance. My Honda 2.0 produces max torque at 5000 but reasonable amounts from 2500. However, in real life the TDI 110 I had previously would pick up much better in mid range. Despite the horse-power advantage to the Honda, the TDI was be a better tool for quite rapid driving. If I want to redline, the Honda wins easily, but as others have said, thats not essential except for 'fun". I'd have another diesel but Hondas version is pretty ordinary, I'm off VW, and can't justify BMW altho I could afford it. Just:)
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
Oh, and C320 CDi Merc with slightly worse performance (despite higher bhp) is £33,560 torque 368lb ft (0-60 7.7s) to Honda Civic Type R £16,000 torque 144lb ft (0-60mph 6.4s).

Had to say that...
How to drive a diesel? - MichaelR
And how much more does an E320 weigh than a Civic? It's a bigger car...
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
I dont want to be picky Leatherpatches but my merc will do 120mph and return about 35mpg and at that speed and is still silent and extremely comfortable and then I could get it chipped up to 270bhp and 650Nm and probably kill myself.
Your car is an extremely good tuned performance hatch and my car is an extremely good long distance cruiser.
Both cars have their attributes, I am just saying that large diesels are very very good now especially when fitted to a large heavy car like mine when compared to the petrol equivalent.
How to drive a diesel? - leatherpatches
You are right, of course. My last tank gave me 36mpg. This is not simply made up 1 mpg higher than your figure, it is actually what I calculated at the pump from empty to full. I have a feeling that the nozzle was slightly shorter or something to give such a good figure, but can't have affected it that much.

This torque thing is funny though, is it not. My neighbours 90bhp 307 HDi has more torque than my car, but moves like a slug, in all gears at all speeds. Wonder how much difference it makes? Perhaps it just allows you to pull with an equivalent amount at much lower revs.
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
Leatherpatches,

You are right about the benefits of torque.

My last Merc was a V6 petrol and could go very quickly but you had to thrash it, the new one with it's torque figure more than double my old car will pull stronger but at lower revs and without the frantic driving.
How to drive a diesel? - Marcos{P}
Sorry I forgot to say that I can get 35mpg doing 120mph or about 40-45 overall on a good journey.
The car just revs so painfully low at 120mph you think your doing about 80.

 

Value my car