Honda's Earth Dreams clean diesel technology will Amaze you
What about the International Honda Civic i-DTEC 2.2 liter 4-cylinder,or the 2014 Honda CR-V 1.6 i -DTEC.? Both cars are receiving positive reviews and brisk sales in South America and Europe, but nowhere to be found in the United States.
52% of all sedans produced or sold in Europe are diesel engine powered, not so in the U.S. For the North American market, Honda seems intent on expanding its Hybrid offerings, while presenting Fuel Cell alternatives to an ecologically aware clientele.
History tells us that diesel technology received a bum rap in the U.S. thanks to early attempts by G.M., Mercedes and others to corner the diesel automotive market of the 1980s.
It actually goes back a bit further than that. I’ve found memories of my grandparents under-powered 220 D of the 1960s. As a kid, I found the dash mounted “ glow plug” indicator to be fascinating. Gramps loved the 40 miles per gallon. However, finding fuel was problematic, and performance wise, the car was a dog. The 190, 200 and 220 D series would go on to become a mainstay for the taxicab industry; worldwide.
The car rattled and smoked a bit, but was a solid as a rock. Their 220 had the laughable tail fins, cream on red interior, with just enough chrome to fit into the American market of the 1960s.They would soon trade the Mercedes off for a Pontiac Catalina. Today, if you can find a 190 or a 220 D, the car is a collectible.
I would later own a 1980s Mercedes Benz 300 turbo diesel 4 door. Back in the day, I loved it. Sure, it was a little clunky and smokey compared to my gas 280 SL, but the reliability and mileage was second to none. The big boat would average 30 mpg in style and comfort. A comparable gas model of the day? 14 mpg + or -. The Mercedes was handed over to a brother-in-law 2 years ago. It registered 380,000 miles on the odometer and was still running.Bullet-proof reliability...
On the ‘affordability’ front of the 1970s and 80s, Volkswagen would reign supreme with the introduction of the “ Rabbit,” diesel 2 door and Rabbit based pickup truck. Toyota and Nissan took a stab at the market, but retreated back to the profitable entry sedan and gasoline fired sports class. With plentiful and relatively affordable gasoline, consumers were not purchasing enough diesel engine equipped automobiles to justify the retooling and marketing expense for domestic and foreign import manufacturers.
So what killed the advancement of the diesel fueled automobile in North America, and why don’t we see more of them on the road today? Let’s take a look.
With all major domestic and import manufacturers pushing “clean diesel” technology on the American consumer, why is it that Honda has not introduced an entry level diesel powered sedan to the North American market?
My guess is E.P.A emission standards. However, I could be wrong. Manufactures including Audi,Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz and 2013 entry Chevrolet, have met and surpassed E.P.A. exhaust emissions standards with “clean diesel" technology. Some have successfully sold diesel powered passenger cars in America for decades.
While Honda does offer the 60 mpg Honda Civic i-DTEC in Europe, you won’t find it on the streets and highways of North America. Granted, a gasoline fired Honda Civic Si is claiming upwards of 40 mpg, but the DTEC has fuel efficiency ratings approaching 60 mpg.So why go to diesel fuel, especially on the West Coast where #2 diesel approaches $4.60 per gallon.15 to 20 % higher than “regular” grade gasoline? For me, the note worthy statistic here is that “clean diesel” technology is producing fewer measurable pollutants than its gas counterpart.
Could consumer perception effect Honda’s decision to hold off on entering the North American market?
As to Crossovers and S.U.Vs, the 2014 Honda CRV 1.6i DTEC is a big hit in Europe and South America. But you can’t buy it in the U.S., and here’s why.
My research indicates that Honda’s hesitancy to enter the North America diesel market may be one of math, not E.P.A. concerns.
American automobile sales records( D.M.V.) indicate that fewer than 2.5% of car buyers purchased a diesel powered vehicle prior to 2012. However, this trend may be slowly changing.
With the current offering of “smart” and “clean”diesel technology, refined, low vibration, low noise and high average high mpg ratings, diesel power is gaining market support in the younger buyer demographic. “ Bio Diesel is as trendy as tofu and gluten-free wheat bread in this Eco-awareness, low impact crowd, and the modern age Echo Tech and clean technology diesel automobiles will burn it. And, who doesn't like the idea of an engine that may live past the 200,000 mile marker?
In 2012, Honda announced that it would most likely be 2015 before Honda of North America offers a diesel powered sedan of SUV to U.S. consumers. A rather ' stand back and wait' commitment from the company that brought you the 2014 Honda Civic Si sedan and coupe.
In the mean-time our counterparts all over the world are driving metric quality, affordable, high mileage, low polluting “Earth Dream” clean diesel powered Amaze,Civics and CR-Vs. With Chevrolet,Mazda and Volkswagen offering new diesel powered models in 2014, has Honda missed the boat?
This question's for you , the reader. I’d like to read your opinion, always welcome here at Torque News.