There may be a strong antidiesel sentiment in Europe after the sordid Dieselgate saga that cost Volkswagen a lot of money and caused reputational damage, but oil-burner engines aren’t ready to exit stage-left just yet. Though VW, along with the motor industry at large, has committed to an electric-vehicle future in the mid- to long-term, combustion engines will continue to power a majority of vehicles for years. Whatever harm it may be doing pollution-wise, for now it’s still hard to beat the combined performance and fuel efficiency of a diesel engine, a fact I was reminded of during a road trip with VW’s Caravelle and Caddy in the Eastern Cape last weekend. I have been asked, as a motoring journalist, which of the umpteen number of engines available gives the best combination of power, driveability and economy; and my answer has been a 2-litre turbo diesel. No brand in particular, although I am quite partial to BMW’s and VW’s TDIs.

In the road trip that VW SA staged in the Ea...

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