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2003 debut for Honda-produced turbodiesel car engine

Honda has revealed that its first in-house turbodiesel passenger car unit to enter production will go into the new-generation Accord in 2003.

Announced here on the eve of the Tokyo motor show, the move comes two years after Honda dropped the Rover-sourced diesel when it launched the current Accord.

Honda UK managing director Ken Keir said: “Changes in tastes have opened up a massive opportunity for us and we see no end to the rise in popularity of diesel cars. Registrations have grown by 30% so far this year and it's possible that diesels could soon be accounting for 50% of new car sales in the UK. We can't afford to remain outside this area any longer - it's essential we compete.”

Using second-generation Bosch common rail injection to rival prestige German turbodiesels, the new 2.2-litre unit develops 140bhp at 4,000rpm and provides 243 lb-ft of torque from just 1,750rpm.

Honda product planning chief Kazushigi Toshimisu said: “In the past, we concentrated on petrol power because most of our business was done in the US. But we now realise we must offer diesel if we are to compete in Europe and we believe we have achieved our target of equalling BMW and Mercedes in refinement.”

The diesel unit is said to be barely audible either on idle or at 100mph, when it is spinning at only 3,600rpm in fifth gear. Likely to be offered with a choice of five- or six- speed manual gearboxes or in five-speed automatic form, it is said to return 51mpg on the combined cycle. (October 30, 2001)

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