In 1993, when I first joined a motoring magazine, diesel was just getting into its stride as petrol engines stumbled.
Mainstream petrol engines were in the transition from leaded to unleaded and from carburetors to fuel injection. Catalytic convertors had just been made compulsory.
The upshot was that petrol engines had been castrated, losing their torque and punch in the race for cleaner exhausts.
At the same time a new generation of smooth, quiet, turbo diesels were arriving on the market. Peugeot-Citroen’s 1.9-litre unit was swift, frugal and pretty refined. I was a fan.
Early diesel sales, however, never got above 15 percent of the UK market. It was the arrival, in the late 1990s, of new direct-injection diesel engines that finally grabbed the attention of the mainstream.
They offered serious grunt (I remember the first 150bhp Golf GTD which would spin its wheels in third…) and great economy, even if they did make a bit of a racket. Business drivers loved the new-gen diesels because they made motorway progress effortless.