Top 10: Petrol v diesel - estates

Diesel may offer better economy on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it always provides the lowest overall running costs compared to a petrol equivalent. Diesel costs more at the pumps and there’s almost always a purchase premium, so it can take an unfeasibly high mileage to claw back the diesel premium in mpg savings.

Here are ten of our favourite estates, with like-for-like petrol and diesel versions compared to show which is the most cost-effective over the long term. 

If you’d like to compare any make or model you can use our Fuel Cost Calculator.

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BMW 3 Series Touring SE – petrol

Diesel requires 139,700 miles to break even

There’s an enormous choice of engines with the 3 Series Touring, spanning a very broad power spectrum. But closer to the bottom – where most people buy, and where efficiency is more important – it’s the petrol that impresses most. We’ve looked at the 318i and 318d versions here.

For a start, it’s bordering on magic that a three-cylinder petrol engine could be suitable for an executive estate, but BMW’s 136PS turbo three-pot certainly is. Choose the closest diesel, the 150PS 318d (the 116d only has 116PS), and you’ll pay a £3,580 premium, which will take an enormous 140,000 miles to make back. Other than that, the 318i is just so much more tuneful, plus you can amaze passengers by shouting “only three cylinders that, man” every time you put your foot down.  


CHASBEE52    on 20 November 2016

78,605 to break even that's assuming nothing goes wrong and you have taken into account more frequent servicing to protect the turbo, The sad fact is that modern diesels are complex and when diesels go wrong it's often very costly.
Turbo failures are not uncommon, EGR valves and particulate filters that wont regenerate. Swirl devices that break and head cracks are all things to consider when the vehicle starts to gain miles. Diesels do not suit short journeys so don't consider one if you only travel a couple of miles each day.
I have spent some time looking at this fuel choice and I am not convinced Just the cost of more frequent oil changes makes a big dent in any savings that a diesel may make on fuel. If I drove a taxi or a delivery van where the engine is running all day ten it would make sense.
As diesel starts becoming a scourge in cities then expect this to have an adverse effect on depreciation.
I currently own a diesel but my next car will be petrol if not a hybrid. I change my oil and filter every 5000 miles .
I guess you take your choice.

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