Top 5 most fuel efficient diesel cars in India : The sparing fuel sippers

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We recently peaked into the world of India’s Top 5 most fuel efficient petrol cars. Now, we realise that most petrol cars have come a long way and now boast impressive frugality figures. But as you’re about to see, on account of absolute distance covered to the litre, the oil burners will hold their candle in this match quite easily. Diesel cars have been the country’s favourite choice for a while, even though petrol cars are playing catch up. That said, this is our list of the Top 5 most fuel efficient diesel cars in India. Note: All of the below stated figures are ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) claimed.


5. Chevrolet Beat:

Believe it or not, the Chevrolet Beat is the only hatchback/small car on this list. It also, quite expectedly, is the most affordable and comes powered with the smallest engine here. In fact, the engine under the bonnet of this Chevy is the smallest capacity oil burner in India as of now. This Beat houses a 1.0-litre XSDE SMARTECH, three-pot engine which is helped along by a small turbocharger. The net outcome is 57.1 PS at 4000 rpm and 142.5 NM of shove from a lowly 1750 rpm.

Chevrolet Beat interior

The Beat has an interesting cabin layout and it’s all quite funky.

The Beat diesel comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox and an interior that isn’t the last word for boring. ARAI has rated the fuel economy score of the Chevrolet Beat diesel at an impressive 25.44 km/l. This makes it more frugal than the most frugal petrol car in India, which is the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 (24.07 km/l). The top-end diesel Beat is priced at INR 6,59,441 (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Having said all that, it still only makes it to number 5 on our list.

  • Engine capacity – 936cc
  • Maximum power – 57.1 PS
  • Peak torque – 142.5 Nm
  • Fuel economy – 25.44 km/l

Chevrolet will bring in an all-new model of the Beat and for details on that, click here.


4. Honda Amaze:

The Honda Amaze occupies a very competitive segment in our market – the sub-4 metre class of cars. When Honda plonked in one of their ‘Earth Dreams’ series of engines in the Amaze, the Indian car buying public went gaga over this Honda. We have raised some dislike towards this car’s oil burner, mainly courtesy to its clatter entering the cabin due to less insulation. However, we have no qualms with the ‘Earth Dreams’ 1.5-litre 4-cylinder, DOHC i-DTEC engine’s power and fuel efficiency figures. The former reveals 100 PS at 3600 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm, the latter (1750 rpm) being the same as that on the Chevy Beat.

Honda Amaze images india (59)

The ‘Earth Dreams’ unit uses liquid-filled mounting points to lower engine vibrations.

Honda’s slick 5-speed manual tranny shifts through the cogs smoothly and the taller gearing lends its assistance on frugality. ARAI claims a figure of 25.8 km/l for this sub-compact saloon. The all bells & whistles model is priced at INR 8,66,586 (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

  • Engine capacity – 1498cc
  • Maximum power – 100 PS
  • Peak torque – 200 Nm
  • Fuel economy – 25.8 km/l

For our comprehensive review of the Honda Amaze diesel, click here.

New 2014 Honda City exterior (30)

3. Honda City:

The City has been one of the best selling cars from Honda and this 4th generation saloon, is no different. Not only is this the second Honda on our list, but it also has the same ‘Earth Dreams’ diesel motor under the bonnet. Despite weighing 100 kg or more than the Amaze, the City actually makes better use of its diesel fuel. The engine is the same 1.5-litre four-pot, DOHC i-DTEC unit that gets an identical fixed geometry turbocharger like in the Amaze. Though Honda claim to have made minor tweaks to the motor, power figures are exactly the same as found in the Amaze.

New Honda City petrol engine (2)

Power figures are the same as that found in the Amaze. Fuel economy isn’t, in a good way.

The 1.5-litre engine churns out 100 PS at 3600 revs and 200 Nm of twist at 1750 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a smooth and quick acting 5-speed manual gearbox. Honda has improved the NVH levels of the powertrain, but the diesel clatter still makes it to the cabin. Albeit, it isn’t as bad as that experienced in the Amaze. ARAI rates a figure of 26 km/l, which is more than impressive for a car in this segment and as you saw, it’s more frugal than its younger stablemate. The top-end VX variant with every option ticked and the manual box is priced at INR 12,42,354 (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

New 2014 Honda City India review (41)

The City also offers more goodies and it got some more recently.

  • Engine capacity – 1498cc
  • Maximum power – 100 PS
  • Peak torque – 200 Nm
  • Fuel economy – 26.0 km/l

For our full review on the Honda City i-DTEC, click here.

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz front (8)

2. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz:

When we did our Top 5 list of most fuel efficient petrol cars, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz saloon only took the fifth spot. However, the diesel variant of the Ciaz has made a better case for itself by making it to the second spot here. Like with most Maruti oil burners, the diesel variant of the Ciaz gets the familiar 1.3-litre DDiS, 4-cylinder with DOHC and a variable geometry turbocharged engine. This powerplant produces 90 PS of max power at 4000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1750 revs. That said, despite being fitted with a VGT, we have found turbo lag below 2000 rpm.

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz diesel engine (3)

This DDiS motor only comes to lift post 2000 rpm, despite the variable geometry turbo.

Unlike Honda’s ‘Earth Dreams’ motor, this unit is fairly refined and there’s isn’t much cabin intrusion. That said, post 3500 rpm, the audible diesel clatter makes itself heard, albeit not intrusively. The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz diesel comes with a 5-speed manual transmission and we didn’t find any major niggles with this unit. The diesel Ciaz has been given a ARAI fuel efficiency figure of 26.21 km/l and considering the size of this saloon, that’s quite a remarkable number.

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz center console (2)


The newly introduced ZXi+ and ZDi+ variants offer even more equipment than this.

The top-of-the-line ZDi+ Ciaz retails for INR 10,91,019 (ex-showroom, Mumbai). These top-spec models are only available with the 5-speed stick shifter for now.

  • Engine capacity – 1248cc
  • Maximum power – 90 PS
  • Peak torque – 200 Nm
  • Fuel economy – 26.21 km/l

For our full take on the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz (petrol and diesel), click here.


Image for representation purpose, only.

1. Maruti Suzuki DZire:

Of course most of you saw this coming, didn’t you? The Maruti DZire has been one of the best selling cars in India and on our earlier list of most efficient petrol cars, the DZire sub-compact saloon managed to reach the number 4 spot. Plonk the diesel engine under the bonnet, and the Maruti DZire tops our list of the most fuel efficient diesel cars. The engine in question here is almost the same basic unit found in the Ciaz diesel, except for a fact that the DZire loses out on the VGT and only comes with a fixed geometry turbo.

Dzire engine bay

This DDiS mill comes with a fixed geometry turbo, thus making less power than the Ciaz.

The 1.3-litre turbocharged, CRDI unit has 4 cylinders, making 75 PS of maximum power at 4000 rpm and 190 Nm of shove at 2000 rpm. The power is sent via a 5-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels. The 2015 model comes with 13% better mileage figures than the previous iteration, according to Maruti Suzuki. The fuel efficiency figure, as rated by ARAI is 26.59 km/l and that is quite amazing.


We are still not a fan of that stubby boot design. 2012 model shown here for reference, only. 

The top-end Maruti Suzuki DZire ZDi variant is available for INR 8,12,935 (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Of course, as will all of the cars on this list, the real-world figures will most possibly vary. That said, one can’t deny that the 2015 Maruti Suzuki DZire clearly takes the crown of the most fuel efficient diesel car in India. As of now, at least.

  • Engine capacity – 1248cc
  • Maximum power – 75 PS
  • Peak torque – 190 Nm
  • Fuel economy – 26.59 km/l

For our full review of the Maruti Suzuki DZire (2012), click here.

For the whole story on the 2015 model of the DZire, click here.

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  • […] deliver 27.62 km/l (ARAI figures) and that makes the Maruti Suzuki Celerio 125 DDiS the most fuel-efficient diesel passenger car in the country. Also, due to its lightweight construction, this diesel engine only […]

  • Vishak says:

    Fiat supplies multijet (DDIS) engines to Maruti. But dont understand why Fiat cars namely Punto and Linea are not listed here. Chevroelt beat itself is carrying the 3 cylinder Multijet engine license produced by GM. Why this biased approach against Fiat. Also the Renault, Nissan diesel cars offer very good fuel efficiency which is not part of this list. I have a few friends owning Honda Amaze who all report less than 20 kmpl mileage if driven with a soft foot at less than 100kmph sane speeds. Even Honda service center folks claim that the claimed mileage figures are achievable if driven at 70kmph Speed. Please share these information based on user’s experience and not based on company claimed figures and please dont be biased.

  • Sherkhan says:

    Just another Honda advertisement

  • Dimple says:

    Leave ARAi aside .ask the customers… My sunny gives me more 26 kml .