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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Volkswagen Golf – 49,745 miles to break even

Volkswagen has put a lot of effort into its new TSI engines and they are incredibly impressive, offering plenty of torque and good economy. That makes the argument for a diesel quite tricky – a 1.6 TDI SE only costs £855 more than a 1.4 TSI SE, but even so it’d take almost 50,000 miles to break even according to the fuel calculator and Real MPG data.

Considering the average family does around 10,000 miles a year, it’d take five years to pay off that £855 premium with fuel savings. By that time other expenses would have creeped in anyway, of course, but it just goes to show that diesel isn’t always the best choice. 

Click to use the fuel calculator

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