Fuel Calculator: How long does it take for these popular diesel cars to pay for themselves?

Those who want the most fuel efficient car will typically go straight for a diesel model – but diesel cars almost always carry a premium over their petrol counterparts. So while you might be saving money at the pumps, you still have to pay off that initial premium before the real savings begin.

We’ve taken ten popular cars and used the fuel calculator to work out how many miles you’d need to travel before the premium for diesel pays itself off. The comparison is between cars in the same trim level. These numbers don’t take into consideration other costs, like servicing or annual VED. 

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Hyundai i30 – 29,215 miles to break even

Hyundai continues to impress with every new generation of car – the i30 is almost as good as rivals like the Volkswagen Golf. Diesel models are popular but, as with many models in this list, you need to be a high mileage driver to really see the benefits of the oil burner versus a petrol model.

A 1.6 CRDi in Active trim costs £1690 more than a 1.6 120PS Petrol in Active trim. The diesel is undoubtedly more frugal, but you’d need to cover 29,215 miles before the £1690 premium was paid off with the better economy. Fine if you’re a high-miler, but for most that will take three years. 

Click to use the fuel calculator


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