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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Citroën DS5 DSport HDi 160 Automatic driven by Richard Dredge
Last year I ran a Citroën DS4, and as good as it was, I didn’t shed many tears when it was time for it to depart.
It wasn’t that it was a bad car – far from it – just that it wasn’t one of those machines that tugs at your heartstrings. It was an interesting car in many ways, and it looks like the DS5 that’s fresh on our fleet will be even more absorbing.
My only experience of a DS5 until now was with a hybrid edition that took me to Holland and back last summer. That car was fascinating but flawed, but the DS5 2.0 HDi that we’ve got for the next few months is already proving to be significantly better than its diesel/electric counterpart.
Improved luggage capacity and a far better transmission – albeit still an automatic – should make the DS5 an ideal long-distance cruiser, thanks to the same torquey powerplant that was the highlight of our previous DS4. The Citroën will certainly get plenty of opportunity to show what it can do, as over the next couple of months it’ll be pressed into action on two long continental trips.
A skiing trip to the French Alps will see four people and luggage transported around 1,500 miles in a week, while a few weeks later it’ll be taking us down to the south of France on a 2,500-mile odyssey.
If we haven’t managed to bond with the car after all that, I think there’s a good chance we never will.
|Date arrived:||11th January 2013|
|Mileage to date:||13,746 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||46.3mpg (official combined)
38.2mpg (on test)
Range Rover Evoque Coupé eD4 Prestige driven by Martyn Collins
It might have concept car-like looks, but with the reduced practicality of the Coupé’s styling, it has taken longer for us to get used to the Evoque than expected.
Thankfully, after four months at the wheel, we’ve had a killer drive in the baby Range Rover and I’m pleased to report we’ve bonded.
A post-launch drive from Heathrow is not the usual recipe for a thought changing steer, we’ll admit, but we decided to come off the M25 early and find some twistier A roads. We’ve always been a fan of the Range Rover’s sharp steering, plus slick manual gearbox and here they worked together perfectly.
Yes, there’s more body roll than a hot hatch and in the wet we miss the extra security and grip of four-wheel drive, but we couldn’t fail to be impressed by the way this 1,595kg SUV was still able to attack corners and roundabouts.
We have been disappointed by how much moisture has been filling up the attractive rear lights and asked Land Rover to take a look when it was being serviced recently. Thankfully, although they explained that some mist was to be expected, they did agree to sort this and after another quick trip to the dealer, they’ve been restored to their fog-free LED beauty.
Also this month, the purchase of a new iPhone 5 has seen the Bluetooth connection improve. Touch wood, the Evoque has recognised Apple’s latest work every time we’ve set off for a drive.
|Date arrived:||7th September 2012|
|Mileage to date:||8,817 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||57.6mpg (official combined)
34.1mpg (on test)
Ford Mondeo Titanium X 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic driven by Ian Robertson
Late last year, my colleague Matthew Carter was disappointed in the meagre luggage compartment that came in his long-term Lexus CT 200h, and the fact that he struggled to accommodate five adults and all of their luggage on a trip to the airport. Some of the passengers even ended up with suitcases on their laps.
Now, had Matthew been lucky enough to have been running a Mondeo, like I am, then he would have had no problems, thanks to the cavernous luggage space that is provided at the rear of Ford’s largest hatchback.
Our car is capable of swallowing up to 540 litres of luggage with the seats in place, which beats every large hatchback on sale except Skoda’s enormous Superb. A recent holiday to Spain meant that our Mondeo took care of the luggage with ease, with space to spare.
Flip the back seats down, and carry a few less passengers and you can even cram in up to 1,460 litres, in a space that is wide, deep and long. It certainly makes trips to the council tip a piece of cake, not having to worry about whether you can fit everything in.
The engine continues to loosen up nicely as we pile on the miles. Refinement really is top notch and combined with a well judged, supple ride, both driver and passengers continue to comment on its comfort levels.
The fact that our car comes with the standard 17-inch alloy wheels no doubt helps, as does the Alcantara and leather seats that add a plush, upmarket feel to the cabin.
|Date arrived:||24th July 2012|
|Mileage to date:||5,544 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||65.7mpg (official combined)
47.4mpg (on test)
Renault Megane Sport Tourer GT Line TomTom dCi 110 driven by Adam Sloman
So another month with the Renault has come and gone.
The versatile French estate has been spending quite a bit of time with my wife Sarah and the kids. As with me, the Renault has proved quite popular, though she has pointed out a few minor niggles.
Firstly, the Megane only features rear parking sensors and at five foot four inches tall, she finds it difficult to see the front end of the car when parking, a situation worsened by the fact that she doesn’t feel able to raise the seat high enough to see.
The second minor issue is tied to the Megane’s clever central locking.
Walk up to the car with your key card in your pocket and there’s no need to push a button, just tug at the door handle and the car will open. Great when it’s pouring with rain and you’ve got kids and shopping to load, not so great when you’re unloading and move ever so slightly too far away from the car and it locks itself automatically, and particularly annoying when you’re dropping the kids into the house, get one in, only for the other to be locked in automatically. It’s The Crystal Maze of cars it seems.
Still, they really are minor gripes and, so far, the Megane is proving to be a really good fit for our little family of five.
It’s good looking, a decent drive, well specified and most importantly, there’s room for all of us.
|Date arrived:||3rd July 2012|
|Mileage to date:||7,570 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||80.7mpg (official combined)
46.6mpg (on test)