A couple of weeks ago, I started a poll running at the Lowyat forums asking folks whether they have any qualms about driving a diesel powered vehicle. Out of the 166 people who responded, almost 75% of the people agreed that they are ok driving a diesel vehicle. Funnily enough, the comments in the thread does say otherwise.
Some of the key reasons people were reluctant about getting a diesel car can be factored into the reasons below.
- There aren’t any diesel cars available for sale in Malaysia under the RM100,000 price range (cars and not pickup trucks)
- Afraid of the constant diesel shortage at certain petrol stations, especially at the end of the month
- Some associate the diesel clatter with that of trucks and lorries, gives a bad impression
- Can’t stand the sound of the diesel clatter in the car
- Perception that diesel is noisy and smelly
- Price of diesel is quite close to Ron95 (since both is subsidised)
There were some very interesting points and I do agree with some of them. Let’s go through each of them one by one.
There aren’t any diesel cars available for sale in Malaysia under the RM100,000 price range
This is an important point as there aren’t any diesel cars which were sold at below RM100,000. The last I could remember was when Proton offered a 2.0L diesel Wira. If my memory serves me well, they didn’t sell that many about. The other diesel cars available were from Ford, Peugeot, BMW and Mercedes. Of course this isn’t including the 4×4 and pickup trucks. Compared to elsewhere where diesel cars come in multiple offerings and the first one which came to mind was the one Richard Hammond used in their fuel economy challenge where he drove the Blue Motion Polo 3 cylinder diesel 800 miles to Brighton.
Afraid of the constant diesel shortage at certain petrol stations, especially at the end of the month
Again a very valid point. Due to certain stations being closer to the commercial vehicle routes, I have encountered unscrupulous individuals who pump diesel into multiple tanks for the trucks. Because of that, certain stations do run out of diesel when nearing the end of the month. Some stations do practice a quota system, whereby when it is closer to the end of the month, the maximum amount of diesel I can pump is around 40 litres at one go.
Some associate the diesel clatter with that of trucks and lorries, gives a bad impression
I have to disagree with this point from a personal stand point. My diesel car is noisier than a truck! There I was standing in a parking lot at KLCC when a Ford Ranger drove by me. I could barely hear the diesel clatter until I fired up my engine and let the wonderful sounds fill the echo of the level 3 basement in KLCC. Some older folks tend to look at the car a lot more but hey, no other standard car would draw as much attention. Another impression I got was when I first purchased the car. I drove it to a nearby Petronas filling station and went ahead to pay via my credit card and slotted in the diesel nozzle into my tank. Next thing I know, a god-like sound came over the speaker, “Encik, encik, jangan pump la, itu diesel, itu diesel”. And that particular sentence was repeated a couple more times which of course made all the other customers to look at me. While the lady at the counter started waving and trying to grab my attention, a simple thumbs up gesture sort of cleared the air.
Can’t stand the sound of the diesel clatter in the car
As much as some people say that some premium brands the noise insulation is so good that you can’t hear the diesel clatter, let me assure you, you can hear it. If you are the type that don’t like the sound of the diesel clatter, then I wouldn’t suggest a diesel car for you. As cars get older and driven more and more, you will hear more and more noises out from the road, wheels and surroundings. Thats a fact, all cars are like that and you can’t completely block out all the sound unless you spend a lot of after market insulation (we can talk about those options privately :P).
Perception that diesel is noisy and smelly
Whenever I drive into the porch of my house, my wife closes the door and complains about the smell of the exhaust. I guess thats my point. There have been schools of thought that certain brands of diesel produces different types of smells from the exhaust. Other people think that because of our biodiesel mixture, it does produce a sort of sweet smell. All I can say is, learn to breathe with your mouth instead. Or better yet, don’t reverse into your house.
Price of diesel is quite close to Ron95
It is. Do you really need a calculator for that? In our world of subsidised fuel, yes, prices are pretty close but if you look elsewhere in the world, diesel can be either both costing more than regular petrol or be way more expensive.
So, with all of the points mentioned above, what is it that drives owners to love their diesel powered vehicles?
- Great fuel consumption, being able to boast that with a single tank of diesel they can travel 1,000km
- They love the torque, climbing up hills are a lot easier and also a lot more fun
- Being able to “smoke” people, literally, because the cars emit black smoke from the exhaust
What are your thoughts? Join us in our conversations over here.
Photo Credit: Ruben de Rijcke
*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Autofreaks.Net