Someone has to do it, so let’s celebrate the great big diesel engine and the vehicle it is attached to. Huge oil-burners deliver effortless torque, the ability to tow a small hamlet with ease and potentially many thousands of miles at half-decent economy. Emissions aside, the downside can be that the highly stressed engine could give you some very expensive ECU and injector-based grief. When they work, though, they can do a very big job indeed.
It would be easy to just fill this page with pug-ugly 4x4s and Bentley Bentaygas but there are svelte and almost sexy Audi A8s to consider. Admittedly, a 2010 car is getting old for some people, but it’s brand spanking new for me, and an A8 4.2 TDI SE Tiptronic quattro with just 76,000 miles is worth a go. It has a full dealer history and, according to the paperwork, a massive £22k worth of options, including night vision. The cost? It’s £13,989, which is not cheap but not really that expensive when you look at all the tech on offer.
There are diesel estates, of course, and shopping outside of the obvious candidates throws up a 2005 Saab 9-5 with a V6 TiD in Linear spec for £1295. It does have just under 160k miles. There’s quite a detailed service history and it’s for sale at a dealer (as a part-exchange), so if there is a problem, at least there will be a warranty. There’s bags of room inside, the 9-5 still looks the part and it’s not much to pay for a big diesel.
There’s tempting big saloon action with an oil-burning Infiniti. These posh Nissans really are getting better value by the day and a 2012 M saloon with a 3.0 TD V6 in S Premium trim and just over 60k miles is all yours for £8995. There are plenty of SUV-like Infiniti FXs around, but I think that these saloons are rarer and better value.
When it comes to putting a hard day’s work into some towing or other proper grafting, then it is worth travelling back in time to find a short-wheelbase three-door Isuzu Trooper with a 3.0 V6 diesel. Indeed, I’ve just come across a 2002 example that has been owned by the same person since 2004 and that may explain the fairly modest 112k mileage. We know they will go to the moon and back, too, and all this is just £1800. There was an insurance Category C advisory, which was traced to a 2017 minor cosmetic incident that the owner repaired themselves, so that’s not a biggie, in theory.
There you have it, then: thumpingly efficient diesels that don’t have to be flaky Range Rovers. Essentially, don’t be frightened of them, but possibly avoid some of the more complicated ones, depending on your budget. The future may not be oil-coloured any more, unless you happen to be clever.
Tales from Ruppert's garage