RE: Prior Convictions: Fuelling the fire

RE: Prior Convictions: Fuelling the fire

Friday 16th February

Prior Convictions: Fuelling the fire

In the petrol vs diesel debate, one factor is often overlooked: fun...



This whole petrol/diesel thing, then. I feels like one should stick up for diesels a bit in the face of falling sales and random tax hikes. I mean, it's not the diesel engine's fault that Volkswagen took liberties with it. And there remains, the SMMT reckons, "confusion" over the government's take on diesels, and how heavily they'll be taxed in future, which is a bit harsh given diesels remain very good, and entirely suited, for many things: slogging it out on the motorway, offering improved CO2 outputs, hauling lots of stuff. My old Land Rover Defender wouldn't be able to do the things it can now if it had a petrol engine instead.

But still it seems diesel is in for a hard time, unfairly or not. Hakan Samuelsson, boss of Volvo, reckons that in a couple of years, his company won't release a new model with a diesel engine option. Not just because it can't meet air quality targets (though NOx versus CO2 seems like a conundrum for our time), but because by the time they've had to fit all of the ancillaries to a modern diesel - particular filters, urea solution, and so on - battery prices don't have to fall much further for a petrol hybrid to be cheaper to make.


However. As part of my gig over on Autocar, I've inadvertently ended up on the Car of the Year jury (I know, but this year's shortlist is a good one), which on a judging day earlier this week gave me the chance to try different variants of the same car - a diesel, and a petrol - back-to-back on the same road.

It's not an opportunity I get that often, even in this game, and rarer still that it can happen with several different models. Without exception the petrol version of a given car was quieter, with a more broadly responsive powerband, it rode better, steered more sweetly and was more agile than its diesel equivalent. A petrol engine is generally lighter than a diesel equivalent, and although the kg differences might not be huge, you can really tell 'em apart on the road, where reduced weight takes less stopping, turning, and oomph to get going. It's not a PH car, but last week I tried pre-production Kia Ceeds in petrol and diesel form: the petrol manual was one of the sweetest-driving cars in the class. The diesel was anything but. Without exception the petrols were, in short, nicer things. If you like driving, much better things.

So, if we are to be disincentivised from buying diesels, and the market readjusts to a bigger petrol bias than its had over the past decade, maybe that won't be such a terrible thing after all...

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

Scottie - NW

Original Poster:

809 posts

166 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
What can your old Land Rover do with a diesel engine that it could not with the equivalent size and induction type petrol engine?

Brynjaminjones

100 posts

56 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
Scottie - NW said:
What can your old Land Rover do with a diesel engine that it could not with the equivalent size and induction type petrol engine?
Exactly what I was thinking!

skidskid

121 posts

74 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
Brynjaminjones said:
Scottie - NW said:
What can your old Land Rover do with a diesel engine that it could not with the equivalent size and induction type petrol engine?
Exactly what I was thinking!
This should be fun...................

Brynjaminjones

100 posts

56 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
skidskid said:
This should be fun...................
Can of worms, potentially!

acme

1,838 posts

131 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
Matt's comment re trying them back to back is interesting from my perspective. When choosing my last company car in 2014 I drove MK7 Golf's back to back; 2.0TDI and 1.4TSI ACT, there was simply no comparison in my eyes. The petrol was far quieter, but perhaps the most noticeable difference was the handling, I think there was an 80kg difference, which I assume was all in the nose.

3.5 years & 67k later I'm very glad I chose the petrol.
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skidskid

121 posts

74 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
Brynjaminjones said:
skidskid said:
This should be fun...................
Can of worms, potentially!
Apart from sound crap and use diesel there is nothing.

Brynjaminjones

100 posts

56 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
skidskid said:
Apart from sound crap and use diesel there is nothing.
Those are my thoughts too...

stolenink

25 posts

108 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
My (very) sorely missed 2.5 petrol carb-powered non-blown 2.5 litre 4-pot 90 was blinkin' unstoppable and equal in every metric to its DERV equivalents.

No difference in operation between which hydrocarbon powers vehicles in my mind - its just the ability of the squishy organism behind the wheel on how to get the most out of each technology, oh and Whitehall telling us what to think again...

blearyeyedboy

4,652 posts

112 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
This article misses the point, even if it does want to focus on fun.

There won't be more purely petrol-driven cars. There'll be more petrol-hybrid cars.

That's probably a good thing, but is it a more fun thing? Doubtful but time will tell.

GTEYE

1,197 posts

143 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
And will there be a Kia C'eed badged version of the i30N?

wst

2,998 posts

94 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
Scottie - NW said:
What can your old Land Rover do with a diesel engine that it could not with the equivalent size and induction type petrol engine?
Drive through 5 foot deep water?

Itsallicanafford

1,853 posts

92 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
wst said:
Scottie - NW said:
What can your old Land Rover do with a diesel engine that it could not with the equivalent size and induction type petrol engine?
Drive through 5 foot deep water?
Feet off everything, will a petrol Landy crawl down a steep slope without stalling?

Mr Tidy

6,218 posts

60 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
I've never driven both versions of the same car, but it's an interesting comparison.

After nearly a decade of 4 cylinder turbo-diesels I bought a straight 6 petrol in 2014, and have had nothing else since then - definitely no more diesel for me!

Wills2

14,933 posts

108 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all

I have no idea why anyone without having some specialist needs that only a diesel engine can cope with would want to drive one on a daily basis, the clatter alone is enough to say no, couple that with a vanishingly small power band and NOx emissions and why would you want to?

Every time I'm in LA I'm always astounded by the sound of the cars, everything is melodic and smooth even the old Japanese sheds sound great, walk through any major city in the UK and it's just an awful combination clatter and soot in the main.

I hope diesel dies.








StephenGalley

67 posts

8 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
I never got the love for diesel, I've only ever owned petrol but I've driven a fair few diesels for work and they are rough and noisy, also in my younger days when I used to accelerate hard I was suprised and annoyed by how much faster you had to change gear in diesels (they don't rev very high). You get a little better m.p.g. in diesel but you also pay a little more for diesel so there's not much in it. Petrols are much smoother, quieter and refined. Hopefully there will be more petrol engines in the future, some new cars there are hardly any petrol options and I wouldn't consider a car with a diesel engine.

pppppppppppppppp

74 posts

55 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
They're difficult to compare and that's the point. Driving a diesel and a petrol version of the same car back to back is never going to be a fair comparison. The diesel will most likely have less power and a heavier engine.
If, on the other hand, you picked a diesel which could do 50 mpg and then had to find the petrol version which could also do 50 mpg (forgetting the fact that both figures will be lies and fabrication) you're going to end up with a crappy petrol version. It's for this reason I usually try to get diesel hire cars - the petrol ones are usually terrible.

I had an Ibiza FR for ten years (sold it four years ago) and I loved it. It was a challenge to drive quickly - really heavy nose so it understeered badly and you needed to always be in the right gear (having six of them helped). Driven properly it was very rewarding and quick too. I genuinely miss it and I knew I would when I sold it.

A diesel without a turbo is something else though.

Wills2

14,933 posts

108 months

Friday 16th February
quotequote all
I like the thought of hybrid petrols they just need to get the electric range up to 150 miles the current BMW e series are still at 30-40 miles.

250hp from the engine and 200hp from the electric motor and I'll jump from the M3.


oldtimer2

628 posts

66 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
If it were not for clueless politicians (with tax incentives for diesels) and corrupt practices at Volkswagen (which has cost them billions and at least one employee in the clink) we would still be driving more petrol engined cars than diesels. It has also cost the rest of us a bomb in paying for all the added kit now needed before a car is road legal. We face another round of extra costs through hybridisation and other wheezes to promote the "electrification" of the cars we drive. The politicians are good at one thing and one thing only - putting up the costs of driving pleasure.

techguyone

1,054 posts

75 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Wills2 said:
I have no idea why anyone without having some specialist needs that only a diesel engine can cope with would want to drive one on a daily basis, the clatter alone is enough to say no, couple that with a vanishingly small power band and NOx emissions and why would you want to?

Every time I'm in LA I'm always astounded by the sound of the cars, everything is melodic and smooth even the old Japanese sheds sound great, walk through any major city in the UK and it's just an awful combination clatter and soot in the main.

I hope diesel dies.

Cuz

MPG

No really, outside of places like this, everyone and I mean everyone only cares about MPG, motoring conversations go round how any miles to the tank x person got.

If you happen to mention things like EGR, DMF, or DPF filter, peope look pityingly at you and dismiss it as an irrelevance. <shrug>

MPG trumps eVERYTHING to these people, even those who only go to the shops 1 mile down the road twice a week. I know I know. Personally I reckon in 3 years my next car will be PHEV, then in the 3 after that, most likely full Electric.


With any luck, tractors will be consigned back to the heavy lifting role rather than joe publics st box car.

TooMany2cvs

27,873 posts

59 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Itsallicanafford said:
wst said:
Scottie - NW said:
What can your old Land Rover do with a diesel engine that it could not with the equivalent size and induction type petrol engine?
Drive through 5 foot deep water?
Feet off everything, will a petrol Landy crawl down a steep slope without stalling?
Until the 90/110 replaced the Series, the petrol was the default motor in "proper" Landies, and even then it was a couple of years before there was a turbo. Rangies didn't have a diesel at all for the first 18 years of production, and didn't get a decent one until the 90s.