When it comes to fuel efficiency and getting the most out of a full tank, nothing comes close to a diesel engine. While there are hybrid and electric vehicles on sale in the Philippines the convenience and the power of having a turbo-diesel engine is something we can't deny. For those who are traditionalists and want to stick to the tried and true combustion engine, the toss-up between gasoline and diesel can be a no-brainer for some; diesel for great torque and impressive fuel economy, and gasoline for more horsepower for that top-end speed and slightly more refinement. We say slightly refined because modern diesel engines have caught up in terms of smoothness and engine noise over the past few years; it’s not as quiet as gasoline, but it’s close.
In any case, you’re here because you want to know which diesel vehicles in the Philippines have the best fuel economy numbers. With the sheer number of vehicles across mainstream and premium brands having diesel offerings, it was tough to narrow down the list. We also had to consider the vehicles we’ve driven and had real-world and first-hand experiences with, and you’ll find that we’ve tried to choose at least one vehicle from each category that exhibited the best fuel numbers. Do take note that the following models are not arranged in any particular order so without further ado, here are the most fuel-efficient diesel cars in the Philippines.
The Isuzu mu-X stands out as an excellent performer in the fuel efficiency department with the 1.9-liter RZ4E diesel power plant, offering usable and efficient power that suits everyday needs. You can still seat up to seven people in comfort and enjoy the impressive torque delivery coming from a small engine, making the Isuzu mu-X the practical midsize SUV of choice for those looking to maximize your budgets. Expect 8.6 km/L in urban driving and a respectable 18.2 km/L on longer highway drives. Eat up the kilometers without sipping too much fuel.
Hailed as one of the most powerful contenders in its class, the Ford Everest can be had with a 2.0-liter Biturbo diesel engine that can only be paired with a 10-speed automatic. Despite its strong pulling power, the midsize SUV still registers good fuel economy figures. On EDSA, the Everest Biturbo 4x4 returned 8.5 km/L, while faster paces on provincial roads at around 60 km/h registered 13.5 km/L. On the highway, I was able to clock in 18.9 km/L with the cruise control nailed at 90 km/h.
The Ford Ranger shares the same platform as the Everest, the midsize pickup even offers the same set of engines including the 2.0-liter single-turbo diesel engine paired with a 10-speed automatic gearbox. Our most recent test of the Wildtrak 4x2 variant gave us good fuel economy figures. In the city, we were able to get 8.8 km/L, while out on the highway, the midsize pickup registered 15 km/L. Note that there are also other variants in the lineup with a 2.0-liter Biturbo motor under the hood if you want more power and torque.
The Kia Sportage happens to be one of the few models in its segment to have a diesel option that's not only peppy, but it's mighty efficient too. Having driven the GT-Line variant with a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine left us with great satisfaction all thanks to its good handling and impressive fuel economy figures. In heavy city traffic, the Sportage clocked in 8.8 km/L, while faster paces on a Sunday at around 60 km/h registered 15.3 km/L. Highway stints with the cruise control set at 90 km/h read back an impressive 20.6 km/L.
Out of all the pickup trucks we have tested thus far, the Mitsubishi Strada has stood out thanks to its excellent fuel efficiency numbers. It comes powered by a 2.4-liter turbo-diesel motor that pushes out 178 horses and 430 Nm of torque which is mated to a traditional 6-speed automatic transmission. Despite its size and pickup truck body style, it was able to get 7.0km/L in heavy city traffic. When the roads opened up it was able to get 10.8 km/L and on the highway, it was able to get between 14.7 to 17.9km/L.
The Maxus T60 happens to be one of the newest names to enter the midsize pickup battle. It's also one of the most affordable 4x4 pickups you can buy today, plus, it comes with a good amount of features including a 10-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. As for fuel efficiency, the Maxus T60 did 8 km/L during heavy traffic, speeding up to 60 km/h registered 11 km/L on the clock. Increasing its speed by up to 90 km/h on the highway returned 15 km/L.
The Mazda CX-5 does not only have drool-worthy looks and superb driving dynamics, but it's mighty fuel-efficient too. Its range of SkyActiv engines includes the 2.2-liter turbo-diesel that puts out a healthy 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque. Aside from its extensive torque, the engine paired with a 6-speed automatic returns impressive fuel economy. During heavy city traffic for an hour read back 9.1 km/L while faster paces on a Sunday clocked in 16.8 km/L at an average speed of 60 km/h. Lastly, cruising on the highway at 90 km/h registered 26.1 km/L.
Like the Navara, the Nissan Terra is known to be one of the most comfortable-riding SUVs in its segment all thanks to its rear multi-link coil spring suspension setup. Aside from ride comfort, this diesel-powered SUV also delivers in terms of fuel efficiency. During bumper-to-bumper traffic, the Nissan Terra still managed to get 7 km/L. During a Sunday stroll, speeding at 60 km/h yields about 10 km/L. While on the highway, the Terra averages about 16 km/L cruising at 90 km/h.
In the land of the 7-seater compact crossover, the Honda CR-V reigns as one of the most frugal in the fuel department. Sporting Honda’s 1.6-liter diesel engine, the first diesel to be released by Honda Philippines in the country, you get impressive numbers of 10 km/L in congested streets, and a whopping 23.3 km/L on the highway. This is just another highlight of the CR-V, while still offering top class safety, tech, and attractive looks.
Hyundai’s very popular diesel offering in the subcompact sedan category has always been a solid contender for one of the most frugal small cars on the market. Now on its fifth generation, the Hyundai Accent retains the tried and true 1.6-liter diesel mill in six-speed automatic or manual, adopts Hyundai’s ‘Cascading Grille’ design language, plus, a number of new interior touches, and redone materials. You can get highs of at least 23 km/L on highway stints, and EDSA crawls will still get a respectable 8 km/L.