10 most fuel-efficient diesel cars in India in 2021

10 most fuel-efficient diesel cars in India in 2021

Diesel prices have begun to rise again following the announcement of election results in four Indian States. With fuel prices expected to increase in the immediate future, it’s important to know which cars will be able to stretch a litre of diesel the furthest. Without further ado, here are the 10 most fuel-efficient diesel cars on sale in India today.

10. Honda WR-V              23.7kpl

 

Honda’s Jazz-based cross-hatch is powered by the familiar 1.5-litre, four-cylinder i-DTEC engine. Making 100hp and 200Nm of torque, this engine helps the Honda WR-V diesel pip compact SUV rivals like the Ford EcoSport (21.7kpl), Tata Nexon (22.4kpl) and Hyundai Venue (23.3kpl) in ARAI’s fuel efficiency tests. As we found out in our WR-V facelift review, this frugal engine has a tractable nature but is quite audible. It’s also the engine of choice for the WR-V, with the other being a meek 90hp, 1.2-litre petrol unit.

Honda WR-V diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, 4 cyl turbo-diesel
Power 100hp
Torque 200Nm
Manual gearbox 6-speed
Automatic gearbox
ARAI mileage (MT) 23.7kpl
ARAI mileage (AT)
Price range Rs 9.85-11.05 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

9. Ford Freestyle          23.8kpl

 

Ford’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit is an excellent example of a small diesel engine done right. In the Ford Freestyle cross-hatch, it can go 23.8km on a litre of diesel. Of the two engine options available – the other is a 96hp, 1.2-litre petrol mill – it is the diesel unit that is far better suited to the Freestyle’s fun-to-drive nature. The Freestyle is the only diesel cross-hatch in its class; neither the Maruti Suzuki Ignis nor the Mahindra KUV100 NXT have that option.

Ford Freestyle diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, 4 cyl, turbo-diesel
Power 100hp
Torque 215Nm
Manual gearbox 5-speed
Automatic gearbox
ARAI mileage (MT) 23.8kpl
ARAI mileage (AT)
Price range Rs 8.37-9.02 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

8. Kia Sonet        24.1kpl

 

Although the Sonet was recently updated for 2021, it continues with the same powertrain options. In diesel-manual form, the Kia Sonet may be powered by the same 100hp, 1.5-litre engine as the Hyundai Venue, but the former can go 0.8km further on a litre of diesel. An ARAI figure of 24.1kpl means the Sonet is the most fuel-efficient diesel compact SUV currently on sale. When specced with the 6-speed automatic gearbox, the Sonet gets a bump in output and is rated at 19kpl, making it one of the most frugal automatic cars currently available. Interestingly, this diesel-auto combination is also available with the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos (which has a revised line-up for 2021), which are rated at 19kpl and 18kpl, respectively.

Kia Sonet diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, 4 cyl, turbo-diesel
Power 100hp (MT)/115hp (AT)
Torque 240Nm (MT)/250Nm (AT)
Manual gearbox 6-speed
Automatic gearbox 6-speed torque convertor
ARAI mileage (MT) 24.1kpl
ARAI mileage (AT) 19kpl
Price range Rs 8.35-13.25 lakh (ex-showroom, India)

8. Fifth-gen Honda City                 24.1kpl

 

Sharing the eighth spot with the Sonet is Honda’s fifth-gen City. It is powered by the same 1.5-litre diesel unit as the WR-V but has a 0.4kpl advantage over the cross-hatch. In addition to the pros of this i-DTEC engine – tractable from low revs, minimal turbo lag and a linear build of power – our Honda City road test showed it feels more refined in this application. The new Honda City is one of the most expensive cars on this list.

2020 Honda City diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, 4 cyl, turbo-diesel
Power 100hp
Torque 200Nm
Manual gearbox 6-speed
Automatic gearbox
ARAI mileage (MT) 24.1kpl
ARAI mileage (AT)
Price range Rs 12.60-14.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

7. Ford Figo & Aspire          24.4kpl

 

In the Ford Figo hatchback and Aspire compact sedan, Ford’s excellent 1.5-litre diesel goes even further on a litre of diesel. Despite the approximate 15kg difference in kerb weights, both models have an identical ARAI rating of 24.4kpl, which could be due to the different gearing on the 5-speed manual. The Figo diesel is an arch-rival to the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, while the Ford Aspire diesel directly takes on the Hyundai Aura and Honda Amaze.

 

Ford Figo and Aspire diesel technical specifications
Figo Aspire
Engine 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel
Power 100hp 100hp
Torque 215Nm 215Nm
Manual gearbox 5-speed 5-speed
Automatic gearbox
ARAI mileage (MT) 24.4kpl 24.4kpl
ARAI mileage (AT)
Price range Rs 7.92-8.37 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) Rs 8.37-8.72 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

6. Honda Amaze          24.7kpl

 

Speaking of the Amaze, Honda’s compact sedan is powered by a 100hp, 1.5-litre diesel engine that is mated to either a 5-speed manual or a CVT-automatic gearbox. The diesel-manual version is rated at 24.7kpl, while the Amaze diesel-CVT has an ARAI rating of 21kpl, and output figures that are 20hp and 40Nm of torque lower. The Honda Amaze diesel is the second-most efficient compact sedan by a margin of 0.3kpl.

Honda Amaze diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel
Power 100hp (MT)/80hp (AT)
Torque 200Nm (MT)/160Nm (AT)
Manual gearbox 5-speed
Automatic gearbox CVT
ARAI mileage (MT) 24.7kpl
ARAI mileage (AT) 21kpl
Price range Rs 7.68-9.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

5. Hyundai Verna           25kpl

 

The Hyundai Verna is the only other diesel mid-size sedan on this list. Recently updated with a new 115hp, 1.5-litre diesel engine which is shared with the Creta, the Verna sure has appeal for buyers with lots of driving. The Verna diesel-manual delivers 25kpl while the smooth auto is good for 21.3kpl.

Hyundai Verna diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel
Power 115hp
Torque 250Nm
Manual gearbox 6-speed
Automatic gearbox 6-speed torque convertor
ARAI mileage (MT) 25kpl
ARAI mileage (AT) 21.3kpl
Price range Rs 10.81-15.25 lakh (ex-showroom, India)

4. Hyundai Grand i10 Nios          25.1kpl

 

Hyundai’s 1.2-litre U2 CRDi unit is the smallest diesel engine currently available in India. In the Grand i10 Nios, this three-cylinder engine makes 75hp and comes with the 5-speed manual and AMT gearbox options. The diesel-manual Nios has a fuel-efficiency figure of 25.1kpl. While the Nios diesel-AMT’s ARAI figure is yet unknown, one can expect it to be close to the manual’s. Although the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios diesel is the most frugal diesel hatchback in its class, it is only the third most frugal hatchback in India.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-diesel
Power 75hp
Torque 190Nm
Manual gearbox 5-speed
Automatic gearbox 5-speed AMT
ARAI mileage (MT) 25.1kpl
ARAI mileage (AT)
Price range Rs 7.17-8.45 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

3. Tata Altroz           25.11kpl

 

The Tata Altroz premium hatchback uses a 90hp version of Tata Motor’s 1.5-litre Revotorq engine and is only available with a manual transmission. This combination has an ARAI-rated economy of 25.11kpl. The Altroz loses the title of ‘most efficient diesel hatchback in India’ to the new i20 by a 0.9kpl margin. As we found out in our i20 vs Altroz diesel comparison, on a budget, the Tata is our pick between the two diesel premium hatchbacks. However, those with a bit more spending power will find the Hyundai is the more rounded package.

Tata Altroz diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel
Power 90hp
Torque 200Nm
Manual gearbox 5-speed
Automatic gearbox
ARAI mileage (MT) 25.11kpl
ARAI mileage (AT)
Price range Rs 7.00-9.46 lakh (ex-showroom, India)

2. Hyundai i20   25.2kpl

 

The third-gen Hyundai i20 is the most frugal hatchback currently on sale. It shares its 100hp, 1.5-litre diesel engine, which is known for its flexibility and efficiency, with the Venue. We found out in our review that in diesel form, the 2020 i20 is an easy hatchback to live with, both in town and on the highway.

Hyundai i20 diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.5-litre, 4 cyl, turbo-diesel
Power 100hp
Torque 240Nm
Manual gearbox 6-speed
Automatic gearbox
ARAI mileage (MT) 25.2kpl
ARAI mileage (AT)
Price range Rs 8.21-10.76 lakh (ex-showroom, India)

1. Hyundai Aura          25.40kpl

 

Hyundai’s 1.2-litre diesel engine also does duty in the Aura compact sedan and it’s at its most frugal here. Interestingly, the Hyundai Aura diesel-AMT has an ARAI-certified fuel economy of 25.40kpl, stretching each litre of diesel the farthest, which makes it the most fuel-efficient diesel car in India right now. The diesel-manual also impresses with its 25.35kpl figure.

Hyundai Aura diesel technical specifications
Engine 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-diesel
Power 75hp
Torque 190Nm
Manual gearbox 5-speed
Automatic gearbox 5-speed AMT
ARAI mileage (MT) 25.35kpl
ARAI mileage (AT) 25.40kpl
Price range Rs 7.91-9.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Also see:

India’s most fuel-efficient BS6 petrol cars

10 safest cars in India as rated by Global NCAP

5 best petrol-manual mid-size sedans on sale in India

Best bikes in India: Top 5 under Rs 2.5 lakh

Best bikes in India: Top 5 under Rs 1.5 lakh

5 best petrol-automatic mid-size SUVs on sale in India

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