Biodiesels are gaining more importance as a promising alternative energy resource. Engine performance and emission characteristics of unmodified biodiesel fueled diesel engines are highly influenced by its ignition and combustion behavior. This review article presents the literature review on ignition delay (ID), combustion and emission characteristics of biodiesel fueled diesel engine. More than hundred articles report which have been published mostly in the last decade are reviewed in this paper. The investigation results report that the combustion characteristics of bio fueled engine is slightly different from the engine running with petroleum diesel. Most of the investigation results have reported that as compared to diesel, biodiesel has early start of combustion (SOC) and shorter ID of between 1–5° and 0.25–1.0°, respectively. Higher cetane number (CN), lower compressibility and fatty acid composition of biodiesel have been identified as the main elements for early SOC and shorter ID. In addition, it is also found that, the heat release rate (HRR) of biodiesel is slightly lower than diesel owing to the lower calorific value, lower volatility, shorter ID and higher viscosity.