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Petrol vs Diesel 4WD’s – Which is Better?

Petrol vs Diesel 4WD’s – Which is Better?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Petrol vs Diesel 4WD’s – Which is Better?
 
The age old debate of which type of fuel is superior has been rampant for eons now and proud supporters of both parties are fiercely passionate about the topic. Several decades ago, there was a much larger difference between petrol and diesel fuel but as technology progresses, these differences are getting smaller and smaller every year. Both types of engines have advantages and disadvantages and the type of driving conditions and personal preferences generally dictates which type of engine is better for your needs.
 
Characteristics
In the early days, diesel 4WDs were regarded as truck-like and sluggish while petrol 4WDs generally lacked torque and were less reliable in harsh off-road conditions. Nowadays, however, technology has improved the disadvantages of both types of engines to make them much closer in comparison. Diesel engines now have higher revs along with computer enhancements and turbochargers while petrol engines with traction control and engine management now have better low end performance. At the end of the day, there are many factors which should be considered when choosing which type of engine is best suited to your needs and some sort of trade-off is inevitable.
 
Price
You can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 more for a diesel 4WD but keep in mind that if you add a turbocharger, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect a $10,000 difference. The primary differences between the two 4WDs is that diesel vehicles have more expensive manufacturing techniques coupled with heavier duty components to cater for their high combustion engines. Considering that diesel vehicles are heavier, they require tougher suspension, steering, and associated components.
 
Availability &Fuel Economy
Diesel fuel is readily available throughout the nation considering that it’s the fuel of choice for the agriculture, road transport, mining, and rail industries. In rural areas of Australia, petrol simply isn’t available due to social problems such as fuel sniffing, so if you intend to drive long distances in rural areas, diesel is the clear winner.
 
While diesel is more expensive to purchase, the differences in availability in rural Australia is relatively small and therefore diesel is more expensive to run in metropolitan areas than in the country. Even though diesel engines consume roughly 20% less fuel than petrol engines over the same distance, petrol engines are widely considered to be cheaper to run and maintain over its lifetime.
 
Maintenance
There is a substantial trade-off between petrol and diesel vehicles in terms of maintenance. Petrol vehicles are serviced less often and are typically cheaper as oil quantities are smaller and filters are cheaper. On the other hand, while diesel vehicles require more regular servicing, their engine lasts roughly 30% longer than petrol engines given the same mileage.
 
Safety & Comfort
Petrol is very volatile so 4WD owners traveling through the outback with extra fuel on board need to be careful in extreme weather. The exhaust temperatures of petrol are also much higher than diesel which increases the possibility of starting grass or crop fires. On the contrary, diesel is far less volatile and stable but the trade-off is that diesel engines are much noisier, drive less smoothly, and create more smoke than petrol engines. Keep in mind though that the characteristics of both types of engines are improving dramatically each year.
 
Performance
This is the area that causes the greatest amount of debate between diesel and petrol supporters. Where petrol supporters argue that petrol 4WDs are cheaper and sportier, diesel supporters argue that the workman like quality of diesel is far superior in off-road conditions. While both sides are correct, it really depends on your driving conditions and personal preferences.
 
Driving a heavy diesel 4WD around the city simply doesn’t compare to the benefits of having a quick, zippy petrol 4WD, particularly when you’re paying significantly more for a diesel engine. Despite this, diesel vehicles are much more robust and durable in off-road environments. Driving over steep, rocky hills is a breeze in diesel 4WDs and they have amazing engine-braking capabilities in low range when controlling the descent.
 
In addition, diesel vehicles shine when it comes to water crossing as they easily punch through bonnet-deep water (assuming an airtight snorkel has been fitted) where petrol engines tend to splutter and stall. The towing capacity of diesel engines are also clearly superior even with a dinghy on the roof and a full load in the trunk! Despite this, petrol vehicles are cheaper, quieter, and have the quick acceleration needed to overtake a road train for example. Plus, they’re heaps of fun driving on sand and gravel!
 
Summary
While both types of engines have advantages and disadvantages, it’s clear that petrol 4WDs are better suited to the city and diesel 4WDs are better at towing heavy loads and navigating difficult off-road situations. If you’re still unsure which type of vehicle will best suitedto your needs, simply get in touch with TJM Australia who can provide professional and trustworthy advice. For more information, phone our friendly staff on 07 3865 9999.