Should You Buy a Hybrid or a Diesel Car?

Diesel vs Hybrid Car

The Bharat Stage(BS) VI norms are hitting the car buyers exactly where it hurts – new car prices in India. However, in the short term this has created a sweet spot for new car buyers – heavy discount on new diesel cars until BS VI is implemented from April 2020. Indian buyers have long preferred diesel variants of popular cars because of their great fuel efficiency in the long run. Now that the BS VI norms are about to kick in from April 2020, major automakers have already declared that they will do away with the diesel variant of some of their most popular variants altogether in the sub ₹10 lakh price range

You might start frowning upon the demise of the beloved diesel variants, which were saving the cash in your pocket. Hybrid vehicles provide the exact compromise that Indian car buyers seek for cost efficient and yet affordable cars. Hybrid cars come with a technologically superior powertrain that runs on diesel or petrol and also runs on an electric powered battery.

Now that you know the basics, let’s get started with the discourse to compare cars: Hybrid Cars v/s Pure Diesel Cars.

The Case for Hybrid Cars

Hybrid cars are somewhat an anomaly on the face of global automobile trends. Why would you still buy a car that runs partially on fossil fuel, when there are electric variants available? While this rationale might hold true for a developed economy, for the automotive ecosystem in India, this does not make sense because there is not a readily available infrastructure for electric vehicles. Hence, hybrid cars will serve as the bridge between fossil fuel powered cars and electric vehicles, till India prepares itself to go completely electric.

There are actually quite a few reasons why you can choose to buy a hybrid car in India:

1. BS VI Compliance

Majority of the vehicles available in the hybrid car segment, are compliant to BS VI norms. This way, you will not have to worry about the vehicles going obsolete or their resale value going down in the near terms only because of policy changes.

2. The Fuel Efficiency

Maruti Suzuki has claimed that its hybrid variant of Baleno is the most fuel efficient of the new cars in India, giving the best mileage in its comparable class, of about 28 km/l. This is a stellar number for any car to achieve and there is no doubt about the fact that hybrid cars tend to be more economic than pure diesel cars.

3. Environment Friendly

While this factor may not impact your daily commute, you can still have some satisfaction in the fact that your car causes less pollution than the equivalent pure petrol/diesel variants.

Furthermore, the ecosystem for hybrid cars in India will only grow from here. The government has just launched the ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India Phase II (FAME India Phase II)’, which will incentivize automakers and dealers to produce and sell hybrid cars. The key challenge here would be to make the technology more affordable for the Indian car buyer; because the buyers may not necessarily shed extra bucks just to stay environment friendly.

The Case for  Diesel Car

The government’s decision to tighten the ropes around diesel engines will mean that in the entry level cars segment and in the sub ₹10 lakh price range or automatic hatchbacks space, we will miss the diesel variants. From April 2020, several major automakers will stop selling diesel variants of their popular models.

That said and done, if you are in the market to buy a new car now, you can actually consider a diesel only car. Here are a few reasons to support this thesis:

1. The Power

It goes without saying, that if power is your only prerequisite, diesel cars are a better option. When it comes to factors like raw torque and top speed available, diesel cars tend to perform better than their hybrid variants by a margin.

2. Distance Travel

If you are commuting more than 50 km every day, it would actually make sense to buy a diesel car today, even if it will go out of production next year. This works because you will be using the car very frequently and hence due to wear and tear, you will any way replace it in a few years. Thus, the capital saved in the refuelling can be used later on to upgrade to a hybrid model.

3. The Cost

You save on the refuelling, which is obvious. But, you also save on the ex-showroom price of the car itself. Hybrid powertrains are more high tech and hence more expensive. Thus, if cost and car on-road price are your key criteria – it would still make sense to go for a diesel car.

The Verdict

The hybrid cars are posing as a quick fix available for the time being. Japanese automakers will soon populate the market with these variants and they surely have a great case for themselves. That said – if diesel cars have always interested you, you are in a rather favourable space right now – because the market is under pressure to clear BS IV complaint inventory by April 2020. Hence, you can expect sweeter deals on diesel cars for the very near term, starting right now.

Thus – if price and cost saving are your criteria, diesel is what you are looking for. If you are looking for a very long term and less frequent usage, hybrid will be a great alternative.

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