It’s hard not to conclude that the 2.0 TDI is the engine with it all: extremely strong performance coupled with exceptional fuel consumption and correspondingly low CO2. Compared with the 1.6 diesel, it’s over 20 percent quicker to 62mph but not even 10 percent less economical.
What the figures won’t describe is the mid-range torque of the big diesel, or how quiet it is at cruising speeds. The size of its all-round performance envelope makes it quite clearly the engine to have – provided, of course, you can afford the substantial premium charged for it.
The good news for those who can’t or won’t is that the 1.4-litre petrol motor is no kind of poor relation at all. It has 148bhp at its disposal and although its torque figure is less than the diesel unit, those figures reveal nothing about how that power is delivered.
First, the engine is startlingly smooth and quiet, enough to make the diesel feel quite unrefined under strong acceleration. It is also exceptionally flexible, providing maximum torque at just 1400rpm, lower than either diesel variant, and capable of maintaining it all the way to 4000rpm. This means it can maintain peak torque over a band 2600rpm wide; true, the 2.0 TDI engine has far more torque, but it can maintain it for less than half the range.
The bottom line is that, whichever of the two core engines you choose, you are unlikely to regret it, as long as it is appropriate to your circumstances.
Buyers looking to stray from these core engines need not be disappointed, either, the 1.6 diesel returns impressive running cost figures and enough pace to keep up with the ebb and flow of traffic. However, there is nothing remotely inspiring about its pace; it'll keeo up, but never more.