At Diesel Car, we don’t just test vehicles for a day, a couple of days, or even a week. Cars on the fleet get up to a 12-month examination in real-life circumstances. Here, we tell you about some of the best diesels that you can currently buy, each with a monthly expert report from everyday use.
Is there a car that you would like to see included in the long-term fleet at Diesel Car? We always like to involve our readers in decisions to do with the magazine at every level. So here’s your chance to make some suggestions and have a say in which cars we put under the microscope.
If you need a hand to decide, have a look through the Diesel Files section of the magazine where you’ll be able to look over 2,000 cars currently available in the UK.
Once you’ve decided which car(s) you’d like to see on these pages, e-mail your thoughts and ideas to the Editor at: email@example.com
Audi A3 Sport 2.0 TDI driven by Sue Baker
Living on a hill, as we do, means never having to worry about being flooded.
The downside is how treacherous it can be when winter bites as hard as it did in recent weeks, with the temperature plummeting and a deluge of the white stuff falling on hilltop surfaces.
The snow that blanketed most of the country in late January rendered our road, unploughed and untreated, a temporary no-go zone for a few hours after an around-the-clock dump of powder that piled up nearly six inches deep on our driveway.
The first car that attempted the sharp slope of the road outside, a Mercedes-Benz with a heavy-footed driver, gave up and slithered back down again.
So how did the A3 cope? It fared much better, with the benefit of front-wheel-drive instead of rear, and with a more judicious touch on the pedals, and co-operated in being coaxed gently up the hill on its year-round tyres.
First it had to be de-mounded from the four-wheeled snowman it had become during the day-long blizzard.
Tough winter weather puts a sharp focus on a car’s heating and ventilation system, and you suddenly become keenly aware of the time it takes for the foggy layer of moisture to be cleared from the windows after you climb in, clad in coat and boots bearing an unavoidable residue of snow.
Bravo to the A3 for its rapid de-fogging. A new function has been found for the rear-seat cupholder, just aft of the driver’s door, which up until now had seen little use.
It is ideally placed to be a repository for the ice-scraper that has recently been pressed into so much activity. Roll on spring.
|Date arrived:||22nd October 2012|
|Mileage to date:||4,844 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||68.9mpg (official combined)
59.2mpg (on test)
Peugeot 208 Allure 1.6 e-HDi driven by James Folkard
Do you ever get into your car and find you are having a short day?
When you cannot see through the rear view mirror without having to adjust it, even if you were the last in the driving seat?
I do, and I’m hoping I am not alone!
The dash and steering arrangement of the 208 is double trouble for drivers like me, because unlike most cars, where the steering wheel surrounds the instrument panel, the 208 layout has a wheel that looks like it got dropped on its head, and so the instrument panel sticks out above the wheel.
That is unless you get the wheel positioning slightly wrong, and then the wheel cuts straight through the speedo.
Don’t get me wrong, the wheel size is great, and feels in proportion with the 208, making negotiating city streets in a controlled and precise manner a breeze.
What I’m not so keen on is not being able to see all the instrument panel at once.
All round visibility from the Pug is good – the front door pillars are kept to a minimum by adding small glass windows in the front doors beyond the main windows, and the rear pillars narrow significantly in the middle so you can see anyone coming up the side.
Whilst the multi-function touch screen satellite navigation system isn’t the easiest to navigate, the upfront positioning cannot be bettered.
It sits proud of the centre console, easily visible without having to take both eyes off the road.
It looks a bit out of proportion, but you soon take the prominent position for granted.
|Date arrived:||11th October 2012|
|Mileage to date:||4,854 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||74.3mpg (official combined)
51.5mpg (on test)
Skoda Superb Estate Elegancy 1.6 TDI CR GreenLine II driven by Simon Hacker
The recent onslaught of proper winter, for some reason reported by the broadcast media as “Arctic” and worthy of setting all other important news aside, had exposed a fault.
A fault, you cry? The F word has not exactly reared its head so far. And ‘fault’ is perhaps a slight dramatisation.
It’s to do with the heating (or automatic climate control, as we are brainwashed by men in suits to write).
The Superb is probably a victim of its own success, for just as you might expect a Michelin-starred restaurant not to offer a side order of Pringles, you’d rightfully expect a Superb to waft waves of thermally acceptable air across your limbs with no need to forage in the glovebox for instructions.
Try as I do though, and although the heated seats work well if your back is tenderised by the demands of increasingly heavy toddlers, I can’t get the wretched footwell to blow anything over my feet more than an asthmatic wheeze of slightly temperate air.
In the absence of a foot spa option, this is a minus. Dial in a micron more of adjustment though and suddenly your face is in Rio de Janeiro.
Luxury should not have to mean complication, yet if you pay more than £20k on a car it appears you’re destined to spend half your motoring life prodding buttons that seem connected only to some remote lunatic whose only pleasure in life is to simultaneously roast and freeze you.
|Date arrived:||30th April 2012|
|Mileage to date:||5,750 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||64.2mpg (official combined)
49.5mpg (on test)