Friday 23 March 2018

You could be waiting EIGHT years to get back higher cost of a diesel car

Skoda Octavia
Skoda Octavia
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The figures are hard to ignore if you drive 15,000km a year. You could be waiting EIGHT years to get back the extra money you spend on a (costlier) diesel car over a petrol model.

If you do 20,000km annually you'd spend six years filling up before you'd starting benefiting financially from your diesel purchase.

These are figures computed for us by Skoda who, remember, sell a lot of diesels. But they - like so many others - sniff change and see petrol coming back into its own.

However, we are so hooked on diesel as a nation and I don't know how long the even-partial turnaround process is going to take.

Meantime, if we are to believe the figures, we will spend more buying a diesel car and then waiting up to eight years to recoup the additional running-costs outlay.

Agreed, your diesel might be worth more secondhand and that isn't taken into account in the calculations. But it's still a strong case, don't you think? Or is it? Let me know.

The extent of the 'time lag' was unveiled to us as Skoda let us off in their Octavia with a new1-litre 3cyl petrol under the bonnet.

Significantly, they say performance is up there with the 1.6-litre diesel; It's certainly more powerful and greener than the 1.2-litre petrol it replaces. It arrives in Ireland next month. There is no price increase (from €22,880 for Ambition trim).

While smaller than the 1.2-litre, it produces 5bhp more; road tax is €190. Developed by Volkswagen, it is by far the smallest in an Octavia thus far.

There has to be a catch, right? Well, not so we could see. I drove it nice and hard, nice and slow and nice and moderately and I can only say you'd never think it was a 3-cylinder or a 1-litre. Loads of pulling power down and up the revs. Smooth too. It does give the 1.6 TDI 110bhp diesel a run for its money. Just for balance: it uses 1.1 litres more per 100km than the 1.6 TDI 110bhp.

Now I'm as guilty as most of asking about engine size. We need to stop that and think output and pulling power.

Put it this way: If you were my passenger when I was driving this and I said nothing about the engine, I think you'd have assumed it was a 1.6-litre petrol at least.

And remember, the first petrol Octavia (18 years ago) was a 2-litre 8-valve (110bhp). Now one half its size produces more power (115bhp) and uses less fuel. It costs only €1,300 more in real money, despite being light years ahead on technology, design, safety etc.

This little 1-litre is another example of technology revolutionising petrol engines. An attendant plus is the significantly lower levels of NOx emissions compared with diesels.

So there you have it. A 1-litre Octavia.

Other changes and/or options for the car is the adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control for versions starting from 150 PS.

And there is a Phonebox for connecting and inductively charging a smartphone.

We also gave the Octavia RS230 a little bit of a lash. Seeing as we were in the Czech Republic, like. But I'm still looking forward to giving that 1-litre - or should I say 115bhp petrol - a big, big drive on Irish roads.

Indo Motoring

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