Top 10 Fuel-Efficient Diesel SUVs in India: ARAI-Rated Rankings

Diesel SUVs have always been synonymous with power and fuel efficiency, making them the preferred choice for long-distance travelers and those seeking robust performance. However, with the advent of the BS6 Phase 2 emissions norms in India, the automobile industry has had to reevaluate the role of diesel powertrains in their offerings. These stringent norms have pushed manufacturers to find innovative solutions to meet emissions requirements while maintaining fuel efficiency.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into the top 10 most fuel-efficient diesel SUVs available in India, as rated by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). To provide a holistic view, we will consider both manual and automatic variants, enabling you to make an informed choice.

1. Hyundai Venue – 23.7 kpl

Leading our list is the Hyundai Venue, renowned for its compact yet potent diesel engine. With an ARAI-rated fuel economy of 23.7 kilometers per liter, the Venue stands as the most fuel-efficient diesel SUV in India. It is worth noting that the Venue exclusively offers a 6-speed manual gearbox in its diesel variant, prioritizing fuel economy over automatic transmission options.

2. Tata Nexon – 23.64 kpl (Manual) & 24.07 kpl (Automatic)

Tata’s engineering prowess shines with the Nexon, where they’ve employed a 1.5-liter diesel engine to meet emissions norms efficiently. The Nexon impresses with a manual mileage of 23.64 kpl and an even more remarkable 24.07 kpl with the automatic transmission. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a balance between fuel efficiency and performance.

3. Kia Sonet – 21.55 kpl (Manual) & 19 kpl (Automatic)

Kia’s Sonet showcases a 1.5-liter diesel engine that provides a compelling blend of power and efficiency. The manual Sonet achieves an impressive 21.55 kpl, while the automatic variant maintains a respectable 19 kpl, making it a versatile choice in the diesel SUV segment.

4. Mahindra XUV300 – 20 kpl (Manual, Automatic figures undisclosed)

Mahindra’s XUV300, equipped with a 1.5-liter diesel unit, offers a compelling combination of 117hp and 300Nm of torque. While the manual variant achieves an impressive 20 kpl, the automatic figures are yet to be officially disclosed, making it an intriguing option for prospective buyers.

5. Kia Seltos – 19.9 kpl (iMT) & 19.1 kpl (Automatic)

Sharing the same 1.5-liter diesel engine with its cousin, the Hyundai Creta, the Kia Seltos offers a choice of an intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) or an automatic gearbox. The Seltos shines with a fuel efficiency rating of 19.9 kpl (iMT) and 19.1 kpl (Automatic), catering to a wide range of preferences.

6. Hyundai Creta – 19.85 kpl (Manual) & 21.4 kpl (Automatic)

Hyundai’s ever-popular Creta incorporates the same 1.5-liter diesel engine found in the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Alcazar. Due to its slightly smaller size, the Creta achieves a commendable 19.85 kpl with the manual gearbox and an impressive 21.4 kpl with the automatic transmission, making it a well-rounded choice for SUV enthusiasts.

7. Hyundai Alcazar – 19.25 kpl (Manual) & 18.1 kpl (Automatic)

Hyundai’s three-row SUV, the Alcazar, stands as a reliable, spacious, and comfortable choice. The 1.5-liter CRDi engine delivers 116hp and 250Nm of torque. It offers a fuel economy of 19.25 kpl with the manual transmission and 18.1 kpl with the automatic gearbox.

8. Mahindra Bolero Neo – 18.04 kpl

Based on the platform of the Mahindra Bolero, the Bolero Neo targets urban users and offers enhanced comfort features. Powered by Mahindra’s 1.5-liter engine, generating 100hp and 260Nm, this compact SUV achieves a decent fuel efficiency of 18.04 kilometers per liter despite offering only a 5-speed gearbox.

9. Tata Harrier – 15.47 kpl (Manual) & 14.6 kpl (Automatic)

The Tata Harrier, sharing its powertrain with the Safari, delivers a compelling blend of power and efficiency. It boasts a claimed fuel efficiency of 16.35 kpl with the manual gearbox and 14.6 kpl with the automatic transmission.

10. Tata Safari – 15.11 kpl (Manual) & 14.08 kpl (Automatic)

Tata’s flagship SUV, the Safari, features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 170hp and 350Nm of torque. It can be mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Safari, being the largest SUV on our list at 4.6 meters in length, achieves a fuel economy of 15.11 kpl (manual) and 14.08 kpl (automatic), making it a compelling choice for those seeking both space and performance.


In conclusion, these top 10 diesel SUVs in India exemplify the diverse choices available to consumers, each offering a unique balance of fuel efficiency, performance, and comfort. Whether you prioritize urban maneuverability, long-distance efficiency, or a blend of both, there’s a diesel SUV on this list to suit your needs and preferences in the ever-evolving Indian automotive market.

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