5 most fuel-efficient non-hybrid diesel cars in SA

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Ford Fiesta diesel
The diesel-powered Ford Fiesta is one of the most frugal vehicles in SA.

If we were to list the most fuel-efficient vehicles currently on sale in South Africa, the top ten would be made up mostly of posh hybrids, each with a price-tag on the wrong side of R1-million.

So, in an attempt to make the list more relevant to the everyday consumer, we decided to cut hybrids out of the picture altogether. And, since we’ve already covered the most frugal petrol-powered models in SA, we decided to look at diesel models only this time.

Take note, of course, that this list is based on claimed combined fuel consumption figures from the manufacturers themselves (we’ve already written about the most frugal vehicles we’ve tested here).

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So, take a look at the five most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid, diesel-powered vehicles currently on the local new car market…

1. Volvo V40 D2: 3,4 L/100 km

The most frugal diesel-powered vehicle in South Africa is the V40 D2, which employs a 2,0-litre four-pot worth 88 kW and 280 N.m. If you’re all about efficiency, you probably don’t care much for zero to 100 km/h sprint times, but for the record, the V40 D2 completes the obligatory dash in 10,5 seconds.
Price: R351 100

2. Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCi: 3,6 L/100 km

By far the cheapest vehicle on this list, the turbodiesel Fiesta makes 55 kW and 185 N.m. Ford says it’ll sip at 3,6 L/100 km, which translates into a theoretical range of 1100 km from the 40-litre tank. The sprint to three figures, though, is more of a hurried walk, taking some 13,5 seconds.
Price: R241 900

3. Renault Captur 66kW dCi Dynamique: 3,6 L/100 km

This little French crossover employs the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s popular 1,5-litre turbodiesel engine, which provides the front wheels with 66 kW and 220 N.m. The Captur’s claimed fuel economy matches the Fiesta above, and it is four-tenths quicker to 100 km/h, too.
Price: R289 900

4. Audi A3 1,6 TDI S: 3,9 L/100 km

The A3 can be had in three-door, Sportback or sedan configuration, but the claimed combined fuel consumption figure is the same regardless: 3,9 L/100km. All three models are fitted with a 1,6-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine (77 kW/250 N.m) mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which allows a dash to 100 km/h in a smidgen under 11 seconds.
Price: R425 000

5. BMW 120d auto: 3,9 L/100 km

The German automaker’s 2,0-litre turbodiesel is at its most frugal when married to an eight-speed automatic transmission in a 1 Series body, managing to match the Audi A3 above. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this hatchback is underpowered. No, with 140 kW and a hefty 400 N.m on tap, the obligatory sprint to seen off in just 7,0 seconds.
Price: R484 500