Is it still a good idea to buy a diesel vehicle?
Scandals could hit future resale values, but for those set on diesel, the Jaguar F-Pace is capable and fuel-efficient
We are currently driving a VW Golf station wagon and would like to replace it with another diesel car, perhaps a little more comfortable for long-distance driving. We are retired and it may be our last car, but because of the recent scandals, it looks like there are not many diesels available. We worry that auto diesel fuel may not be easily available. So under the current circumstances, is it wise to buy a diesel car? Would you recommend the Jaguar F-Pace? We need a reliable, safe car. – Alina and Vladimir, Toronto
Lightstone: Ah, diesels. North America was so close to finally jumping on the kerosene-fuelled bandwagon before it all went south with dieselgate. Let's focus on your top choices: I'm all for the Jaguar F-Pace 20d all-wheel drive – it's a capable crossover that drives more like a car and offers stellar design and fuel efficiency with that peppy little 2.0-litre, turbocharged engine.
Richardson: You think it's better than the gas version, Miranda? And what's this about a crossover? The F-Pace is an SUV, surely.
Lightstone: Its fuel consumption is nearly 5.0 litres/100 kilometres better on average than the gas version, so yes, I do indeed think it's better. And by definition, the F-Pace is most definitely a crossover: It shares a chassis with the Jaguar XE, a car, and a pretty nice one at that.
Richardson: The lines all blur so easily these days. I must admit the F-Pace seems a lot closer to a car than a truck – I just can't think of Jaguar making trucks.
Lightstone: Neither can I, but Jaguar's not what it used to be. There's been a lot of investment in the company since Tata Motors bought it in 2008.
Richardson: Alina and Vladimir seem more concerned about the long-term future for diesel, though, and they have a point. If there are fewer diesel vehicles on the road after Volkswagen's dieselgate scandal, it is possible stations will cut back on the number of pumps.
Lightstone: I hate myself a little for writing this, but you're right. And truthfully, it's already a challenge to find a diesel pump at times in North America.
Richardson: I've found this is only an issue in an unfamiliar town, since many stations don't include diesel. It's never actually been a problem for me, though. There's always somewhere and you quickly learn where the stations are on your usual drive routes. But diesel isn't going away in our lifetimes – trucks and school buses use diesel, and the cost to replace the pumps and tanks and reconfigure the refineries just won't be worth it anytime soon.
Lightstone: The real question is probably about resale value. Nobody anticipated dieselgate, so nobody can be sure of the fallout from it five or 10 years from now. That F-Pace's diesel engine could make the vehicle drop in value like a stone. More likely, it won't have any effect at all.
Richardson: It could even help it, since diesels have greater torque and reliability and are generally cheaper to run. If they're tough to find in a few years because we hesitated to buy them now, they could hold their value really well.
Lightstone: It's a crapshoot sometimes, isn't it?
Richardson: 'Fraid so. Like the stock market. But buying a car isn't only about value – it's about finding the vehicle you really like. And I reckon Alina and Vladimir will really like the F-Pace. It's a premium vehicle, so it costs more than a mainstream car to buy and maintain, but you get what you pay for. A dealer will be more than happy to walk you through the expected costs.
Lightstone: Again, I'll have to agree that they'll likely fall for the diesel F-Pace once they go for a test drive. Jaguar making crossovers; Miranda agreeing with Mark; what's happening with the world?
What car should you buy? Write to Miranda and Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.