Honda Accord Diesel and New Hybrid Coming for 2009 Model Year
By Chris Haak
At the Tokyo Auto Show, Honda confirmed that the 2009 US Accord will have an optional 2.2 liter diesel engine. Boost levels, and therefore output, have not yet been finalized, but it’s expected to make at least 150 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque, while likely eclipsing the fuel economy of both the old V6 Accord Hybrid and the current Toyota Camry Hybrid.
This will be an impressive engine for several reasons. Other than the respectable power and torque for a four cylinder and expected strong fuel efficiency (likely well over 40 miles per gallon in the real world), the engine will mark the debut of Honda’s Clean Diesel technology in the US. The engine will be 50 state-legal (unlike many 2007 model year diesels), and unique to Honda, the engine will not require a urea injection as Mercedes and larger VW diesels to remove harmful NOx from the exhaust (Mercedes calls their diesels BlueTec, and the urea injection liquid, which must be periodically refilled at the dealer, is called AdBlue). Instead, Honda’s solution is a NOx converter that – without adding any chemicals – produces its own ammonia through a chemical reaction that reacts with the NOx to produce harmless nitrogen and water.
Honda is also planning to begin sales of its new dedicated hybrid model, likely to compete directly with the popular Toyota Prius. The new Honda hybrid (which still does not have a name) will be a five passenger vehicle. This vehicle may be followed later by a smaller, sportier hybrid model similar to the Honda CR-Z concept (shown to the left) previously shown by Honda.
The best news about these new engines and vehicles is that Honda has directly addressed one of the biggest criticisms of hybrid and diesel vehicles: that is, diesels and hybrids typically save fuel, but the added complexity and components makes the vehicles too expensive to have any kind of economic benefit. Instead, Honda expects that the breakeven point (where fuel savings have equaled the additional price premium for a diesel or hybrid) will be two years for these new models. An earlier rumor on the Accord Diesel’s pricing was that it would slot somewhere in the middle of the lineup, so it certainly seems plausible. If Honda keeps the pricing in that sweet spot, 2009 Accord Diesel sales should take off.
Editor’s note: Since this was published, Honda has released a statement regarding the diesel engine in the Acura TSX. Click here for that story.
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