Blog by Jeremy Harris. CEO of Arrow Cars SL – Flexible car hire solutions, Worldwide.
“You’re never far from your Arrow Car”
I remember when I saw my first diesel car. My school mates’ Mum and Dad (who were not short for a few bob) picked him up from school in their brand new VW Golf diesel. Not a turbo diesel, they weren’t available in 1980, but a clattery, smoky, smelly diesel. Having been brought up on a strict diet of petrol engine cars, I thought it was terrible. Why on earth would you buy something like this? Of course, economy didn’t cross my mind when I was 13 years old.
When I was old enough to appreciate economy over performance (I have always been a young fogey!), I bought my first diesel car, an old Vauxhall Astra. Again, this didn’t have a turbo and again, it was awful. The thing vibrated so badly at motorway speeds (or as close as I could get to motorway speeds) your fillings would fall out. I was still a petrol head.
Then, a few years later I discovered the turbo diesel. This was better. Faster than the equivalent petrol car, more grunt and more economical. It still smoked a bit and was a little clattery but I could put up with this for the extra grunt. I was sold. Oil burners for me from now on please.
And so this went on. I wouldn’t look at a petrol car. I tried to convince all my friends to try a turbo diesel. They didn’t know what they were missing.
Here at Arrow Cars, we have both modern turbo diesel cars and modern petrol cars on our fleet and do you know what? I am going back in time. I now think diesel engines are terrible and petrol is the better option.
Why? Well, we have many years experience with both petrol and diesel engines and over the last few years the advantages the modern turbo diesel engine enjoyed has almost disappeared.
Grunt – Up to about 2008, the modern turbo diesel engine had so much grunt when compared to an equivalent petrol car made it a no brainer. Even if it was more expensive, it was just a much nicer car. However, since around 2008, the diesel engine seems to have become slower and revier, much like a petrol engine. Environmental demands have made the manufacturers block the power of a diesel engine in an effort to keep them clean. Many of the latest turbo diesel engines are now so reluctant to move along they almost feel constipated.
Reliability – it is a well known fact that the diesel engine lasts longer than a petrol engine. The problem now is that the modern turbo diesel engine is packed so tightly with filters, sensors and electronics to keep them clean that they have become unreliable. Our diesels engines rarely break but the sensors, filters and electronics seem to give constant small issues. Our petrol cars require less maintenance and are more reliable than our diesel engined cars. They cost less too.
Economy – Yes the diesel engine uses less fuel than a petrol engine but it seems they are not as economical as we have been led to believe. The VAG diesel incident during 2015 is raising a few question marks over fuel efficiency of the diesel car. At the same time, petrol engines are becoming more efficient.
Cost – Diesel cars cost more than petrol cars. Quite alot more. Many people were prepared to pay this premium because of the benefits. In any case, over time an owner would recoup the extra cost by cheaper running costs and a higher resale value. With most of these benefits shrinking and now question marks over the actual fuel efficiency, the extra cost is possibly a price not worth paying.
So after all this. Which do I prefer? Diesel v’s petrol?........ Neither actually. Electric vehicles are the future. Give me a Tesla anyday!
CEO Arrow Cars SL