Honda Gearing-Up for U.S. Diesels

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
honda gearing up for u s diesels

Honda is quite literally gearing up its California-compliant diesels for the U.S. market. A few months ago, Honda started telling everyone that their i-DTEC oil-burning engines were headed for the U.S. Diesel fans were all a-twitter– even if the high mileage, high torque powerplant was destined to sit in the new, overdone and overweight Accord (or more expensive but generally better looking TSX). What Car reminds us just how much prep is involved. Step one, emissions compliance with a particulate standard that's twice as tough as the European Union's. Step two, configure an automatic transmission to work with the damn thing. That's right, until now the Honda-branded diesels (in Honda cars) were stick only. As less than 10 percent of U.S. driver drive a manual car, a diesel-compatible autobox is mission critical. Other updates in diesel news: Volkswagen hasn't released any info about its 50-state diesel engine since it said it would be delayed… again. So no, that's not really an update. It's a complaint. Get on the ball VW, before Honda beats you to the punch.

Join the conversation
4 of 35 comments
  • M1EK M1EK on Feb 10, 2008

    I had to learn at 32, when I had to switch cars with my pregnant wife after she had a fender-bender in her old Civic hatch; and I was told I’d grow to love a stick; everybody does, after all.

    Baloney. It was just awful having to keep shifting while stuck in stop&go traffic; and when in free-flow conditions, I lost the ability to have my arm on the window like I did in the AUTO convertible I had to switch out of.

  • Mikey Mikey on Feb 10, 2008

    I,m of the belief that diesels will play a huge role in this 35mpg thing.G.Ms effort in the early 80s ranks with the Edsel,as one of the most massive blunders of all time.I think there is a market for diesel.Honda engines have a great reputation.I hope they can convince North Americans that the diesel is a viable alternative to the hybrid.

  • XCSC XCSC on Feb 10, 2008

    Late to the party here but I thought I'd comment. I grew up on a farm and thus believe I have different perspective (could be wrong though). I'm a firm believer that a turbo diesel and diesels in your basic sedan application are better suited to an auto tranny. I love my manual vehicles ('00 Passat GLX V6 & '05 Suby Legacy GT Wagon) but the low redline/rpm of a diesel makes shifting almost laborious beyond enjoyment. And today's autos can keep the diesel in it's optimum hp/torque producing rpm better then a manual would. A lot of this has to do with keeping the turbo spooled up - shifting manual simply takes a bit longer then some of today's autos, or a DSG (IMHO the holy grail), take. And ultimately this will affect your MPG which is what most of the diesel infatuation is about. My Old Man had a 1983 Pontiac 6000 diesel. This was the V6 that was designed as a diesel from the ground-up and not the disaster V8. The only problem he ever had was an o-ring going bad somewhere in the injector pump. It only had 85 hp (no idea on torque) but I could snap somebody's head off at a stop light with the immediate torque. Anyway, the automatic made that vehicle and absolutely helped it get the great fuel mileage it had (you could get 40+ on the hwy). As for Detroit not being interested in diesels somehow being an indicator of where the market is going? Let's just go over a small # of things Detroit wasn't "interested in" -small cars -four cyclinder engines -anything more than a three speed automatic tranny -anything more than a four-speed manual -hybrids -quality -refinement -variable valve timing I could go on but it's obvious where not being interested in these things has gotten them. Detroit got to the party late on nearly every advancement there has been in the last 35 years. Sure, Cadillac had the first electric starter but that doesn't matter today. With all that 2+ cents I can say that I'd be glad to purchase a Acura TSX with a diesel and an auto but even more so if it were a wagon with a DSG tranny.

  • Safe as milk Safe as milk on Feb 11, 2008

    i sold my '83 240d benz w/ 4 speed manual in 2006. someone paid my buy it now price on ebay 6 hours after the auction started. i was still getting email 2 weeks later from people who were interested. i think that the subset of people who are interested in diesels overlaps nicely with manual transmission fans.