Some small diesels just don't add up

  • Small diesels may not be the cheapest way to cut your fuel bills
  • Cars with lower fuel consumption won't always make financial sense
  • You could pay more for it in the first place than it’ll save you

As the price gap between the two fuels continues to increase, diesel drivers must pile on the miles to avoid footing higher bills. Diesels command a premium price from new, and cash-strapped drivers should think carefully before ditching their petrol cars to save money.

We pitted six popular diesel city cars against their similar-sized petrol siblings to see how many miles it takes to get the extra cash back through fewer trips to refuel – some will take over ten years and one never recoups the initial outlay.

All figures are based on an average mileage of 10,000 miles per year. Those who cover higher mileages stand to get to the break-even point more quickly.

Fiat 500

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 Value your 500

1.3 Multijet Pop 3d 1.2 Pop 3d
£9495 £8095
67mpg 55mpg

Based on average mileage, Fiat 500 drivers need sixteen years to reap the rewards of the diesel model.

Citroen C1 (05 on)

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 Value your C1

1.4 HDi Rhythm 1.0i Rhythm
£9220 £8230
67mpg 61mpg

The diesel C1 never pays for itself as it costs more per mile to fuel and never catches its £990 premium up.


Vauxhall Corsa (06 on)

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 Value your Corsa

1.3 CDTi (90ps) SXi 3d 1.2i 16V SXi 3d
£12,235 £10,945
58mpg 46mpg

The 1.3 CDTi would take more than nine years before it paid owners back for its £1290 higher price tag.


Honda Civic Hatchback (06 on) Review

2.2 i-CTDi SE 5d

1.8 i-VTEC SE 5d

Mitsubishi Colt (04 on) Review

1.5 DI-D CZ2 5d


1.3 CZ2 5d


Nissan Micra (03 on) Review

1.5 dCi S (68ps)


1.2 S 5d