The French have a love for diesels – the fuel being widely popular across the channel before it gained a true footing in the UK. So with the French love for all things diesel in mind, Diesel Car picks out its top five French diesels.
1. Peugeot 205 Diesel
The 205 was a massive success in almost every way imaginable. The GTI became the darling of the hot hatch world, but the diesel version was nothing to be sniffed at. It retained 205’s sweet shape but added bags of torque. It was frugal, too – chances are if you bought one in the 80s you might just be getting ready to put some more diesel in it…
2. Citroen BX
The Citroen BX is everything you’d expect of an 80s French car. Comfortable and economical, the BX proved to be tremendously popular as both a five-door hatch back and an Estate. It used the same diesel engine as the Peugeot 205 so its fuel economy is certainly impressive. Production lasted 12 years from 1982-1994 but today the BX is something of a rarity. A true classic.
3. Citroen DS3
Citroen’s MINI rival is the latest in a long line of fabulous French hot hatches. The DS3 is much more than a MINI rival, however – it’s a genuine alternative with tidy handling, a superb range of diesel engines and show-stopping looks. The DS3 is still fresh-faced after four years and it seems it always will.
4. Peugeot 406 Coupe
With styling courtesy of Pininfarina the Peugeot 406 Coupe is, in a word, gorgeous. Being a Peugeot, it was offered with a diesel, in this case the company’s 2.2 litre HDi unit. On the road the Coupe is smooth, rather than sporting and combine that with the diesel, makes it an ideal Grand Tourer.
5. Renault Espace
Renault’s legendary MPV was born back in 1984 to almost total ignorance – Renault sold nine in the first month it was on sale but pretty soon people realised the concept made perfect sense. By the time the Espace II arrived in 1991, Renault carved out what would become a huge niche in the European car market and for that reason it deserves a spot in our Top 5.