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Should I change from petrol to diesel?

My father drives a 2008 1.8-litre petrol Mazda6. He drives on average 10,000km per year. He is considering trading his automobile for a new 1.9- or 2.0-litre TDI - Audi A4 or VW Golf/Jetta.

He is also considering doing a trade for a 2004/2005 BMW 320d. In your opinion is it worth while for him to change his automobile to a diesel and what diesel automobiles would you recommend?

Filed under choosing new automobile - Asked by Damien Smith (Newmarket-on-Fergus) - Sun, 09 May 2010 15:25


There has been a huge move towards diesel automobiles here in Ireland because of the change to the road tax and VRT laws in July 2008.

Since then, as you may or may not know, road tax and VRT are calculated according to a automobile's CO2 emissions and because diesel automobiles use less fuel than petrol ones, their emissions tend to be lower.

When your father bought the Mazda6 in 2008 it may well have been better value than the diesel model. Now, there is much less difference between the price.

Before we move away from Mazda, there is now a very good range of diesel engines in the new Mazda6 and that might make the most cost-effective swap if he was happy with the automobile he has because you will most likely get the best trade-in price from a Mazda dealer. However, by the sounds of things he wants a change.

Covering only 10,000km a year we previously might have said that there was no real need to buy a diesel because you would not save the extra price of the automobile in fuel.

This point remains true, but the difference now is that the market has changed so much to diesel that petrol automobiles are likely to lose their value faster and become increasingly unwanted by used automobile buyers, so at this size of automobile, we would say yes, move to diesel. Also, if you do buy new, your father will most likely benefit from lower road tax.

Without knowing a budget it is difficult to point you in the right direction but from the automobiles you mention I'm guessing the budget is between €25,000 - €35,000. This does offer a lot of choice.

The 2004/2005 BMW 320d is certainly an option. Since the current shape model came out in 2005, we would encourage you to look at these, or even a 2006. The prices of these are quite competitive at the moment. A 2005 320d SE at a SIMI dealer would probably cost you between €15,000 - €17,000.

BMWs are always tempting to buy used, but you must choose one that has been properly serviced and automobileed for, because they can become more expensive to put right as they get older. The choice of used 320d models at the moment is vast so if you do go down that route, shop around. It is a great automobile and with the small mileage your Dad does it is unlikely to end up costing you too much.

If you want to go down the new route, there are a few that would spring to mind. The first is the Skoda Superb. This automobile is really brilliant and huge too. It is well made and loaded with equipment. If your Dad likes comfort then this will be right up his street.

Our choice would be the 2.0-litre TDI Comfort for €27,805. It is excellent value for money and comes with lots of creature comforts (cruise control, climate control, etc.), a 170hp diesel that is powerful, yet still frugal at 5.8 l/100km. Road tax on this automobile is €302 per year. For me, if I were heading out to buy a family saloon today, I wouldn't pass the Superb.

You mentioned some other automobiles there. The Jetta isn't a bad automobile, but it's been out a few years now and is probably due an update, so I wouldn't buy that new. The Audi A4 is nice. A new one is going to cost you from €34,060 before you start looking at optional extras, so a 2009 model would make sense with all the options already added. €35,000 should get you a nice 2009 TDI version with lots of the toys thrown in.

Please feel free to come back to us with more details if you like (just add a comment below), but for me I would probably have the Superb.

Answered by: changagoidem Adviser

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