Though modern diesels are great there have been some iconic diesels in the past. Diesels that standout in our mind and stand the test of time. With that in mind, here’s Diesel Car’s top five past masters.
Skoda Fabia vRS 1.9 TDI
The Skoda Fabia marks the point were Skoda’s ascent from the butt of 1000 jokes to serious contender began. Great looking, well built and in the form of the vRS TDI, a genuine hot-hatch. The vRS badge became a favourite on the VAG tuning scene, Volkswagen’s 1.9 TDI lump is near legendary and it was certainly at home in the Fabia vRS. Now people weren’t embarassed to own a Skoda, they were proud.
Peugeot 306 Dturbo 2.0 HDi
From the launch of the 205 onwards, Peugeot was on a roll. Every new model seemed to bring more kudos to the brand,he Lion really was certainly going from strength to strength. The 306 took the great driving characteristics of the 205 and added more space and greater refinement. It was a superb companion over a winding B road and that 2.0 HDi certainly packed a punch.
Citroen BX TZD Turbo
If one nation knew how to make a decent diesel in the 80s it was the French. The PSA Peugeot Empire gave us some great diesel engines that struck a great balance of frugality and power. Like any true Citroen it’s cleaver and quirky – it had a plastic bonnet, bumper and tailgate, and the company’s famous Hydropneumatic suspension. The BX ranks amongst the all-time classic Citroens and with those low diesel running costs, it can’t lose.
Rover 400 Tourer
The mid-90s were a great time for Rover and there was no better example of that greatness than the Rover 400 Tourer. Based on the same platform as then-partner Honda’s Concerto the 200 and 400 series won critical acclaim from every roadtester throughout the land. Good looking, great to drive and well built, Longbridge was building great cars in the 1990s. Add in the Peugeot-sourced diesel engine and Rover were onto a winner.
Replacing the Escort was a big ask, but Ford scored a massive success with the Focus. Not only did it look superb, it set a new benchmark for handling, refinement and drivability for the five-door family hatchback. The diesel version was torquey and powerful, from now on there was no need to accept boring, humdrum family cars. The Focus made the school run and shopping trips frugal and fun. With the Focus a true Ford legend was born.