Accord's 'Whispering' Diesel | Part Two

Moreover, with an output of 140 PS at 4,000 rpm, it delivers a level of responsiveness and acceleration that together with low engine noise and vibration make for extremely relaxed and comfortable motoring. High torque gives excellent acceleration and responsiveness at low speed for in-town driving, superior responsiveness and acceleration in the mid-range and sustained high speed driving at low engine speeds; it also brings the added benefit of minimal gear changing. 0-62 mph is despatched in just 9.4 seconds (Tourer 10.1 seconds) and 50-75 mph in 11.2 seconds.

This all-round performance is rounded off by low CO2 emissions – 143 and 153 g/km CO2 for the saloon and Tourer, respectively. And it surpasses with ease the stringent Euro IV requirements. That means that Accord diesel company car drivers sidestep the 3% benefit in kind tax penalty that affects many competitors.

Behind these statistics is a specification that includes second generation common rail direct injection, four valves per cylinder, DOHC, variable nozzle turbocharger and intercooler. Particularly significant and of paramount importance in realising the aims of the development programme is a special aluminium, closed-deck cylinder block construction. This has been made possible by an original, Honda-developed production technique that uses a semi-solid casting method to create a highly rigid, compact and lightweight engine.

The engine was developed by Honda Senior Chief Engineer Kenichi Nagahiro. Mr Nagahiro created the concept of Honda’s pioneering variable valve timing system; he was also responsible for the Indycar engine design and development programme, which in turn led to the current Formula One programme. Now he is the man in charge of the turbo diesel engine project.

Mr Nagahiro’s appointment says much about Honda’s determination to succeed with the project and is a measure of how seriously the Japanese company views the burgeoning European diesel market. Annual sales of diesel powered passenger cars in the D segment have grown dramatically in the last 10 years in the five main European markets: from just over 400,000 in 1990 to more than 1.2 million in 2002. This represents 60% of all D segment sales.

Here in Britain, sales of the Accord diesel start in February 2004. The model will be offered in Saloon and Tourer body styles, and in Sport and Executive trim variants – with equipment broadly similar to the equivalent 2.0 litre i-VTEC petrol model. The diesel is expected to take approximately one third of all UK Accord sales, or approximately 6000 units per annum.

Published 5 September 2003 Melanie Carter

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