Hybrid vs Diesel - a new auto comparison

Like everyone who stares blankly at listings on car sales websites, I too am overcome with the sheer level of choice. From hatchback to convertible, manual to automatic and all the other choice criteria the number of options for the car seeker can become very confusing. While most of these options are fairly self explanatory there are a few which always confuse in terms of a definite winner. The choice of diesel versus hybrid is, for me, top of this confusion pile.

Why buy either?

In a world of $1.40 per litre petrol prices, it pays to think about fuel efficiency. More and more car seekers are now looking for smarter ways to save on the bottom line with their fuel expenses, in this sense the phrase “needs nothing more than an oily rag” has become a compliment of the highest order. For decades the diesel engine was the noisier, smellier alternative, yet now, along with the latest hybrid vehicles, it has become fuel sipping chic.

What does diesel have?

After years of held noses and tractor jokes it seems that the diesel engine makers have got their act together. The newer diesel ranges are cleaner, more fuel efficient and - most importantly of all for the most picky consumers – they’re quieter. A great example of the new age of diesels would be the Ford WS Fiesta which beats out all competition to win RAC’s most fuel efficient vehicle of 2010. The level of choice within the diesel range really does seem to be extensive and while some are shy to produce hybrids it seems they are not as cautious when it comes to diesel alternatives.

A Hybrid fall from grace?

With a powerful in built battery which runs low power requirement energy to all the cars moving parts, the Hybrid is a mechanical marvel and represents a very new initiative in the automotive industry, but does it save you cash? While its engineering pedigree is without doubt, it is not more fuel efficient than a good diesel engine (the diesel Focus, diesel Peugeot 308 and Mazda 3 are all roughly similar to the best hybrid). In short, hybrid cars really do need to improve their fuel efficiency in order to match the pace of improvements which are being achieved by diesel engine producers.

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There is no doubt that as the years go by the availability of best of both diesel-hybrids will become commonplace, but for now they seem to be almost entirely mutually exclusive (with very few exceptions for retail sale in Australia). For the moment it seems that diesel power really is ahead in terms of getting critical mass in the fuel efficiency market. In the end the key thing to remember is if your prime concern is fuel efficiency you would be best advised to see past all of the marketing and get back to the simple measure of litres per 100km.

What's your winner, Hybrid or Diesel?

Ever thought about a novated lease for a Hybrid or Diesel vehicle?

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