SINGAPORE – Talk about buying a new diesel passenger car and the common reaction is that you shouldn’t, chiefly because of the new Vehicle Emissions Scheme (VES) which will supposedly penalise diesel cars heavily.
However potential buyers should note two important points: Firstly, the VES only kicks in on January 1, 2018 – leaving you a whole seven months and more to buy a diesel car. Secondly, given the stringent VES requirements, very few cars will be eligible for a rebate, and the vast majority of passenger cars will likely be in the neutral or penalty zone – no matter what they’re powered by.
While the true effects of VES cannot be predicted until 2018, one thing remains clear: If you want to buy a diesel car, now is the best time to do it, and here are four reasons why you should.
1. A diesel car is cheaper in the long run
It remains an unassailable fact that diesel cars are significantly more frugal than their petrol counterparts, and with diesel being less expensive than petrol, this can add up to significant savings in the long run.
The Kia Carens 1.7 CRDI has a fuel efficiency of 5.2L/100km, compared to 6.2L/100km of a comparable ‘Brand X’ Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) that is smaller in both engine size and physical dimensions.
According to recent fuel prices where diesel costs $1.425 per litre, while the least expensive RON95 petrol is $1.995 a litre, as well as the Land Transport Authority figures for the average annual mileage for a Singaporean driver, 17,800km, we can calculate the fuel bill for each car, with the same driver, for a year.
Over that distance, the Carens would have used 927-litres of diesel, which costs $1,321, while a comparable MPV would have used 1,105-litres of petrol, which costs $2,205.
While diesels pay more road tax than gasoline cars, it remains a fact that diesels make more sense in the long run and for drivers who cover lots of ground. Over the course of 10 years, or 178,000km, the Carens would have used 9,270-litres of diesel costing $13,210. The Brand X MPV would use 11,055-litres of petrol, costing $22,050. And keep in mind that with emissions of 135g/km CO2 for the Carens diesel against 143g/km CO2 for the Brand X MPV, the Carens would also emit 1,424kg less CO2 at the same time.
2. Diesels get more done – with more fun
Ever tried to haul a family of seven people in a regular car? It feels very much like towing a caravan, and given the average weight of seven adults, it’s not far off in terms of mass too! Modern turbodiesels have lots of torque – or pulling power – which is why diesels are perfect for pulling cargo, human or otherwise.
The Kia Sorento diesel’s huge torque easily takes on the challenge of hauling seven people around
The Kia Sorento diesel has a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine with 197bhp. But it has a brawny 440Nm of torque, which is more than many high-performance petrol engines, so it makes short work of heavy loads and gives the drivers instant, addictive acceleration too.
3. Modern diesels are relatively much cleaner and more efficient
Modern diesel passenger cars are held to extremely high standard, so they’re relatively clean, efficient and good for your wallet too. Kia’s Sorento and Carens diesels feature diesel particulate filters, turbocharging and common rail direct-injection, and are compliant with Euro 6 emission standards. The Carens also features a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with an integrated Active Eco mode for even more fuel-saving.
All these qualities also make them great for long drives, as their inherent efficiency and effortless torque really shine through. You might think that diesels go clatter and banging all around, but modern diesels like the Sorento are actually very refined and quiet. The ironic thing is that the instantly recognisable diesel ‘clatter’, which comes from direct injection systems, is now being widely adopted in petrol-powered cars, so the idea that diesel-powered cars are less refined, more noisy and less enjoyable to drive than petrol ones is quite firmly a myth.
It is a fact though, that diesels produce more NOx (oxides of nitrogen) than petrol cars, but the latter also produce more hydrocarbons (HCO) than diesels, and the fact that diesels generally use less fuel, and thus may produce less overall emissions, is another thing to consider in this nuanced and complex topic.
4. They’re super-affordable, if you choose the right brand
Think diesels and premium European brands spring to mind, but efficient, clean and modern diesels aren’t the sole province of Continental brands. Kia has a strong presence in Europe, and it shows in the brand’s strong diesel alternatives. Two Kia diesels, the Sorento 2.2 CRDI and Carens 1.7 CRDI are on sale here in Singapore, priced at $158,999 with COE and $115,999 with COE (as of 12 May 2017), which in classic Kia fashion, offer a lot of features and are plenty of car for the money. We should also point out that Kia offers one of the longest warranties around, with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, as well as an industry-leading 10-year engine warranty.