Most affordable diesel SUVs, cars in India

There are only a handful vehicles left under Rs 15 lakh mark thanks to most brands shying away from diesel due to stricter emission norms.

By Saptarshi Mondal, Autocar India calendar 18 Sep 2023 Views icon4373 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Most affordable diesel SUVs, cars in India

If you’re in the market looking for an affordable, frugal-to-run diesel vehicle, your options aren’t many. Stricter emissions norms have resulted in several carmakers pulling diesel engines out of their line-ups, especially in the entry-level segments.

Diesels are, of course, known for their fuel-efficient and torquey nature. And while stricter emissions norms have aided in diesel vehicles becoming  a lot cleaner, there has also been a lot of discussion regarding the relevance of the fuel type amidst tightening regulations and rising pollution. To add to that, prices for diesel engine-equipped cars are also steadily going up. 

So here’s a look at the top five most affordable diesel cars and SUVs you can buy in the country.

1. Tata Altroz

Price: Rs 8.80 lakh-10.74 lakh

The Altroz is the most affordable diesel car in the country, and the only diesel hatchback you can currently buy, this powertrain also being the pick of the Altroz range. The 90hp, 200Nm, 1.5-litre unit has linear power delivery and a nice mid-range punch, although it’s not very refined. It’s only offered with a 5-speed MT gearbox. 

2. Mahindra Bolero/Bolero Neo

Price: Rs 9.63 lakh-12.14 lakh

The Bolero and Bolero Neo share a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder MT powertrain, producing 76hp, 210Nm and 100hp, 260Nm, respectively – it has good low-end grunt, and is more refined than you’d expect. Both are hardy, affordable workhorses with robust underpinnings and seating for seven, but while the Bolero is utilitarian, the Neo has a little more style and creature comforts.  

3. Mahindra XUV300

Price: Rs 9.90 lakh-14.60 lakh  

The 117hp, 300Nm 1.5-litre engine on the XUV300 feels energetic and has impressive refinement. Performance is strongest in the mid-range, and combined with a nice ride and handling balance, it’s quite nice to drive. It gets both MT and AMT gearboxes, the latter being the better pick, but the XUV300 feels a bit aged now.

4. Kia Sonet

Price: Rs 9.95 lakh-14.89 lakh 

The 116hp, 250Nm, 1.5-litre diesel on the Sonet is very refined, be it at idle or on the move. It's flexible to be in higher gears at lower revs, feeling responsive at all times. It gets an iMT gearbox that’s easy to use, but a proper MT is missed. As for the torque-converter AT, it’s the best in class, but makes the Sonet quite expensive at the top-end. 

5. Tata Nexon

Price: Rs 11.00 lakh-15.50 lakh

As with the Altroz, the 115hp, 260Nm diesel is again the pick of the Nexon range. It’s refined and pulls well from low speeds, but has an average mid-range and performance drops suddenly at the top-end. It gets MT and AMT gearboxes, and while neither is particularly smooth, the latter suits the engine characteristics better. The recent exterior and interior updates have made it expensive, but it’s quite a competent package overall.  

All prices ex-showroom, Delhi

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