Ten most frugal diesel cars in India

By Divyank Kushagra Bansal | on July 30, 2018

Ever since the Dieselgate scandal of 2015, sales have inevitably tilted towards petrol-powered cars. However, in no way have diesel cars lost their ground completely. Despite diesel’s reputation of being the ‘dirtier’ fuel among the two, it has come a long way over the years and some experts claim that modern-day diesel engines pollute no more than a petrol engine of comparable capacity.

While diesel is not the preferred choice of fuel for private cars in many countries, India’s love affair with diesel seems to be unstoppable. This is evident from our love for hefty 4x4s with big diesel power units which we ever so willingly use for our daily drives. However, there is another faction of drivers in India which is obsessed with fuel economy and therefore, it prefers driving frugal, diesel-powered hatchbacks and sedans.

Since fuel-efficiency still remains an important factor for a majority of Indian consumers, we have compiled a list of the ten best mileage cars in India that are currently up for grabs. While all the models on the list have their respective ARAI-certified fuel consumption figures mentioned, we have also tried our best to provide the actual fuel consumption figures from our road tests and long-term reviews for most if not all the models.

1) 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire / 2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift 

ARAI-certified figure: 28.40 km/l

autoX test figure: 17.3 km/l (Swift Diesel MT)

Maruti Dzire Front Quarter

The new Dzire and Swift are officially the most fuel-efficient cars in India. The new Dzire created quite a stir when it was launched in 2017 primarily because it was the first model in Maruti’s line-up to get the new-generation upgrade. It gave discerning Maruti customers a fair idea as to how the future Maruti model line-up would look.

Running in its third generation now, the new Dzire is no longer based on the Swift’s platform. Instead, it shares its underpinnings now with the Baleno because of which it carries the ‘Dzire’ moniker instead of being known as the ‘Swift Dzire’. While the new car retains its old powertrains, the 82bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine and the ever so reliable 74bhp 1.3-litre Multi-jet diesel motor, it now features numerous new features like a 5-speed AMT, LED projector head-lamps with DRLs and Smart Keyless Entry to name a few.

2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift Front

This was followed by the launch of the third-generation Swift in 2018 which received the same kind of response as the first-generation car. The new Swift scores higher thanks to the addition of some new features like Suzuki’s new touchscreen infotainment system, rear-view camera, voice commands for stereo and a gear shift indicator.

Read more:

2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift Review: First Drive

Maruti Suzuki Swift Long-Term Review: July 2018

2017 Maruti Suzuki DZire Review: First Drive

Maruti Suzuki Dzire Long-Term Review: July 2018

2) Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS

ARAI-certified figure: 28.09 km/l

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS Front Quarter

The already loved Ciaz garnered more praise when Maruti debuted its new Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS) system on it. At the time of its launch, Ciaz became the only other hybrid sedan in the Indian car market along with the Toyota Camry. The SHVS version of the Ciaz enjoyed record sales in cities like Delhi during the odd-even road rationing scheme, thanks to hybrid vehicles being exempt from the scheme which made the effective buy price lower than its standard diesel variants.

Read more:

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga & Ciaz SHVS: Comparison

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Video Review

3) 2018 Honda Amaze i-DTEC (MT)

ARAI-certified figure: 27.40 km/l

2018 Honda Amaze Rear Dynamic

Now in its second-generation, the Honda Amaze has been refined across multiple parameters. However, now it also has the advantage of being the only diesel CVT in its class. Ever since its launch in 2013, Amaze has been a car of many firsts for Honda. Not only was it the first compact sedan from the brand but it also went on to become its first ever diesel offering in India. Despite venturing into unknown waters, the Amaze was well received, to say the least. It may not have been the segment leader in terms of sales, but nonetheless, it brought impressive numbers for Honda.

Read more:

2018 New Honda Amaze Review: First Drive

2018 Honda Amaze Video Review: First Drive

4) Maruti Suzuki Baleno

ARAI-certified figure: 27.39 km/l

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Front Three Quarter

The Baleno marked Maruti’s debut in the premium hatchback segment in India while it also opened an attack on the Honda Jazz and the Hyundai Elite i20. With a sumptuous blend of looks, performance and features, Maruti knew they had a winner on their hands. To assert its ‘premium’ tag, Maruti offered the Baleno with anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution and dual front airbags as standard. This was a welcome move considering how the safety equipment is generally limited to the top-end variants across most cars in India. Like any other Maruti vehicle, the Baleno also witnessed an immensely long waiting period and it still continues to perform well in the hatchback market. Mind you, it was one of the most sought-after cars among our staffers for long-term reviews!

Read more:

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Review: First Drive

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Long-Term Review: June 2016

5) 2018 Honda Jazz i-DTEC (MT)

ARAI-certified figure: 27.3 km/l

autoX test figure: 24.4 km/l

2018 Honda Jazz Rear Dynamic

The Honda Jazz has been a well-performing product for Honda ever since its launch way back in 2009. Though it can’t be called a segment leader under any circumstances, it is certainly one of those fall-back cars which always remains at the back of our heads. A contender in the premium hatchback segment, the Jazz certainly won our hearts as it was probably the only car which came closest to its ARAI fuel-efficiency figure in everyday driving conditions. Rest assured, the 2018 upgrades, though mostly cosmetic, have only made the Jazz a better car to own.

Read more:

Updated Honda Jazz launched at ₹7.35 lakh

2018 Honda Jazz Review: First Drive

6) Tata Tiago

ARAI-certified figure: 27.28 km/l

autoX test figure: 16 km/l

2017 Tata Tiago Front

The Tiago came as a bit of a surprise from the Tata stable and it immediately became a sensation, evident from the fact that it crossed the one lakh booking mark within 15 months of its launch. Tata Tiago also marked the debut of two new in-house developed engines from Tata– a 1.2-litre three-cylinder naturally aspirated Revotron petrol engine that develops 85hp and 114Nm of torque and a 1.05-litre three-cylinder Revotorq diesel unit capable of developing 70hp and 139Nm of torque. Both engines offer a choice of drive modes – a segment first – and come paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. As the top-spec Tiago offers goodies such as airbags, cooled glovebox and a Harman-sourced infotainment system with USB, Bluetooth and aux connectivity for a cost much lower than that of its rivals, it is certainly among the most value-for-money cars on sale at the moment. 

Read more:

2017 Tata Tiago AMT Review: First Drive

Tata Tiago Long-Term Review: September 2017

7) Ford Figo/Figo Aspire

ARAI-certified figure: 25.83 km/l

autoX test figure: 21.2 km/l

New Ford Figo Front Three Quarter

While the Ford Figo was certainly not a winner based on its looks, back when it was launched in 2010, it was indeed a true driver-centric hatchback India had seen after quite a while. Built on the chassis of the Fiesta Classic, the Figo offered the best of everything – from the ease of driving to comfort to a peppy motor capable of providing a smile-inducing drive. It was also among the few cars of its time to really champion the feel of a true hydraulic-powered steering wheel albeit a lighter version fitted in it. Launched in a new avatar in 2015, it still continues to perform exceedingly well thanks to a pleasant ownership experience and affordable maintenance costs.

Read more:

2017 Ford Figo S Review: First Drive

Ford Figo Aspire Long Term Report: February 2017

8) Honda City i-DTEC (MT)

ARAI-certified figure: 25.6 km/l

autoX test figure: 17.9 km/l

Honda City Rear Angle Shot Gal

Honda made its debut in India with the third-gen Honda City in 1998 and I’m sure no one in their wildest dreams at Honda would have thought that it would become a runaway success, as in 2017, it went on to become the highest-selling compact sedan in India. A by-word for reliability, the City has constantly impressed its customers and auto journalists alike. The car’s rock-solid reliability and ardent fan-following are evinced by the several 1998 models which are still seen pottering around on our roads. Now that’s commitment!

Read more:

2017 Honda City Review: First Drive

Honda City Long Term Report: July 2018

9) Honda WRV i-DTEC

ARAI-certified figure: 25.5 km/l

Honda WRV Rear Dynamic

Honda, after seeing the crossover segment gain more and more momentum during its second-innings in India, took the plunge and introduced the WR-V in 2017. However, the crossover as a concept had been seen before, from the days of the Chevrolet Forester and Ford Fusion. Unfortunately, these capable and practical vehicles were launched before their time and consequently found very few takers. After a disastrous start, Toyota was the first one to put its faith back into the segment by launching the Etios Cross, only this time, the segment picked up really well. Coming back to the WR-V, the car has shrugged off the boyish nature of the Jazz in exchange for a more mature outlook and it has certainly enjoyed a good response from the public, evident from the fact that Honda sold 50,00 units of the WR-V within the first year of its launch.

Read more:

2017 Honda WR-V Video Review - First Drive

10) 2017 Maruti S-Cross DDiS 200 hybrid

ARAI-certified figure: 25.1 km/l

2017 Maruti Suzuki S Cross Front Motion2

The S-Cross is an important model for Maruti, mostly due to the numerous firsts associated with it. The S-Cross marked Maruti’s debut in the crossover segment and was also the first model to be retailed from Maruti’s premium NEXA dealerships. Tailored to be a premium offering, the S-Cross was purpose-built to change Maruti’s image among the Indian car buyers and it certainly did so by proving that Maruti was ready to tackle the premium car space. After a new lease of life from the updated model launch in 2017, the S-Cross has only made its presence even stronger.

Read more:

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross SHVS Review: First Drive

Tags: Honda WR-V Honda City Ford Figo Ford Figo Aspire Tata Tiago Honda Jazz Maruti Suzuki Baleno Honda Amaze Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Maruti Suzuki DZire Maruti Suzuki Swift Honda Maruti Suzuki S-Cross Ford Tata

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