I replaced my diesel Octavia with a petrol Avensis and have saved a lot of money.

I was interested in your correspondent RY of Peterborough's comments about diesel engines. After 10 years of driving new and nearly new Volkswagen Group diesels and experiencing many of the problems your readers report, my 4-year-old DSG Skoda Octavia diesel suffered a significant turbo leak at 99,000 miles. Combined with the cambelt full service it shortly needed, the total bill would have been over £2000 when the car was worth £4000. I set out to buy an auto estate that did not have a particulate filter, DMF and DSG and decided that the current 10p per litre differential would make petrol as attractive as diesel. After much research I eventually bought a new Toyota Avensis 1.8i CVT Tourer at about £2000 less than the diesel version, and with a negotiated £3000 off list price and five years' manufacturer's warranty. It does absolutely everything I want, is so quiet and smooth it might be electric, and I'm amazed to get 44mpg with a light foot on the motorway and 37mpg in town: almost exactly what Toyota says I should get. The big bonus is that after a year and 12,000 miles, my petrol car (average 42mpg) has cost just £170 more on fuel than the previous diesel (50mpg). So, after three years with £2000 less on purchase costs but £500 more on fuel, I’m still £1500 ahead, with none of the diesel maintenance and repair costs and heartache. (I do contribute to www.honestjohn.co.uk/realmpg.)
Many thanks. That is one of the cars and drivetrains I regularly recommend. The 1.8i Valvematic Multidrive S CVT is almost as low in CO2 and almost as fuel efficient as the diesel auto, and much nicer to drive. The Toyota RAV4 with 2.0 Valvematic and Multidrive S CVT is actually lower CO2 and more fuel-efficient than the RAV4 diesel automatic. Extra emissions equipment means that diesel cars are becoming more expensive to make and more expensive to repair when they go wrong to a decreasing advantage in economy over petrol.

Recently I was driving a 170PS Afa Giulietta Multiair petrol TCT with an EC fuel economy figure of 54.3mpg, a Renault Megane with a new chain cam 1.2 115PS petrol engine and an EC figure of 53.3mpg, and the remarkable new Ford Focus 999cc 3 cylinder 125PS Ecoboost petrol with an EC figure of 56.5mpg combined. The reality will gradually become apparent at www.honestjohn.co.uk/realmpg.
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