If you’re in the market for an affordable and economical diesel vehicle, your choices are somewhat limited due to stricter emissions regulations prompting some automakers to phase out diesel engines, particularly in the budget-friendly segments. Diesel cars are known for their fuel efficiency and torque, but their relevance is being questioned in the face of tightening regulations and environmental concerns. Additionally, diesel car prices have been steadily rising. Here, we’ll explore the top five most budget-friendly diesel cars and SUVs available in the market.
Price Range: Rs 8.80 lakh – Rs 10.74 lakh
The Tata Altroz stands as the most affordable diesel car in the country and is currently the sole diesel hatchback option available. The 1.5-liter engine, delivering 90hp and 200Nm, offers linear power delivery and a robust mid-range punch, though it lacks refinement. It comes exclusively with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Mahindra Bolero/Bolero Neo
Price Range: Rs 9.63 lakh – Rs 12.14 lakh
Both the Bolero and Bolero Neo share a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder manual transmission powertrain, producing 76hp and 210Nm, and 100hp and 260Nm, respectively. These vehicles are rugged, affordable workhorses with strong underpinnings and seating for seven. While the Bolero is more utilitarian, the Neo offers a touch of style and additional creature comforts.
Price Range: Rs 9.90 lakh – Rs 14.60 lakh
The XUV300 features a lively 1.5-liter engine with 117hp and 300Nm, delivering strong performance in the mid-range and impressive refinement. It offers both manual and automated manual (AMT) gearboxes, with the latter being the preferred choice. However, it’s worth noting that the XUV300 design may feel a bit dated.
Price Range: Rs 9.95 lakh – Rs 14.89 lakh
The Sonet is equipped with a refined 1.5-liter diesel engine generating 116hp and 250Nm, providing a responsive driving experience even at lower revs. It offers an intelligent manual transmission (iMT) that’s easy to use, although a traditional manual gearbox is missed. The torque-converter automatic transmission, while top-notch, can make the Sonet pricier at the higher trim levels.
Price Range: Rs 11.00 lakh – Rs 15.50 lakh
Similar to the Altroz, the Nexon features a 115hp, 260Nm diesel engine as its standout powertrain. It offers a refined performance and pulls well from low speeds, though its mid-range is average, and power drops off suddenly at high revs. The Nexon provides both manual and AMT gearboxes, with the latter complementing the engine characteristics better. While recent updates have increased its cost, the Nexon remains a competitive package overall.
These are your top choices for affordable diesel cars and SUVs in the Indian market, offering a mix of pricing, performance, and features to cater to different preferences and needs.