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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/automobiles/autoreviews/18DRIVE.html?_r=1&fta=y&oref=slogin

Oh goodness, where oh where shall we begin.

Around the Block

A Honda on a Diesel Diet

By LAWRENCE ULRICH Published: May 18, 2008

The diesel-powered Accord returned a remarkable 53 miles a gallon on the highway, 34 in the city and 44 in combined driving. < Using US diesel in NYC >
HONDA has spent decades establishing a reputation for fuel efficiency. But nothing in the company’s current lineup, including its Civic Hybrid, can match the mileage of the diesel Accord that I recently tested in and around New York City.
Minus its diesel powertrain, the European-market 2007 Accord that I drove is nearly identical to the car that Honda had been selling in the United States as the Acura TSX. That Accord < SHOULD READ " THAT ACURA"> should give a solid indication of the mileage and performance American consumers can expect when Honda offers a diesel option for the redesigned 2009 TSX.-

- Those miles included a bumper-to-bumper crawl through Manhattan, the worst possible conditions for fuel efficiency.
That huge torque relative to the engine’s size is a main advantage of modern turbodiesels, making them well-suited to small economy cars and to burly S.U.V.’s that need torque for towing and hauling. -
- The America-bound Acura will use a new version of the 2.2-liter engine that I tested.
While that cleaner emissions system wasn’t installed on the Honda I tested, engineers expect it to have no discernable effect on fuel economy.
However, the extra weight and volume of the new platform may have an effect..
As with other diesels I’ve driven recently, the Honda’s frugal highway mileage and versatile power are important advantages over the typical hybrid.
The Accord covered the zero-to-60 run in just under 9 seconds in my testing, which doesn’t sound spectacular on paper. < Beats the crap outta the 10.9 - 11.2 Prius tho > -

- But its passing power from 30, 50 or even 70 miles an hour was terrific, as the Honda easily shot past slower cars. < like the typical out of breath Prius >-

- And as more hybrid owners are discovering, their cars deliver little or no mileage gain on the highway.
Also unlike hybrids, which require drivers to go easy on the gas pedal, watch the speed limit and coast when possible to improve the mileage, the diesel Honda delivered brilliant economy with no special effort.

Even spirited driving didn’t dent the mileage much. The Accord delivered 50 m.p.g. even during a 75-m.p.h. cruise and 40 m.p.g. when I flogged it like a Nascar yahoo.
 

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This figures must have been faked or the author is lying through his teeth, because we all know the Prius is the king of fuel misers and nothing can ever or will ever get better fuel economy than the Prius.
 

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And as more hybrid owners are discovering, their cars deliver little or no mileage gain on the highway. That’s because battery packs and electric motors add several hundred pounds, and the system also contributes negligible energy at freeway speeds.
Bingo! I've been saying this for years. Hybrids are a major advance for the city - not so much on the highway.
 

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I can't wait to see this in a showroom, & to take a test drive. Presumably the TSX's will have extra sound deadening over Accords; having rode in a friend's 2008 Accord EX-L more road noise than I care to tolerate would be my only real complaint. Too bad there will be a longer wait for the Subaru diesel, as I'd prefer AWD over FWD.
 

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I'll believe it when I see it. They tested what I think might be the same engine in the much lighter Civic and got a real world 35mpg in mixed driving while adding 250 additional lbs to the front-end of a car that already has poor weight balance.

It's going to be hard to get the truth about some of these new diesel powertrains because anyone that buys them is overly proud of this hidden knowledge that no one else has about the secrets of diesel and their mpg advantages.

Certainly there are mpg advantages but they are usually greatly exagerated by diesel owners, especially now as a justification since the price of diesel is through the roof.
 

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Now I have to wonder if the premium price of the Diesel engine and fuel is worth it? It might get spectacular fuel economy, but will it save you money after spending thousands more on the engine and $1 more on the fuel it needs?
 

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Now I have to wonder if the premium price of the Diesel engine and fuel is worth it? It might get spectacular fuel economy, but will it save you money after spending thousands more on the engine and $1 more on the fuel it needs?
It would definitely be worth it if you could drive it like you stole it and still get 40mpg or 50mpg on the highway like the author claims. I don't think it will though because it seems like with these tighter regulations comes a slight loss of efficiency.

To me this appears to be the local newspaper car guy that relies on local dealerships to give him an endless supply of cars to review so he can keep his job. If you read the reviews by our local guy you would not believe the review matches the car most of the time. Every review is a glowing endorsement and if the car is a real pile it will still get feint praise.
 

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Well, the economics behind choosing between gas and diesel is simple math, really. Some will view it simply as such, a few may buy blindly, some will be bought by diesel-heads. Different strokes for different folks, there is no one right answer.

I'm sure that like with anything else there will be the die-hard fans that embelish the truth to some degree, but I'm confident that the truth will come out in terms of real world economy. Hey, it did with the Prius.

I personally love the idea of having a turbodiesel car, and may be more willing to spend a bit more upfront to have it. I am bothered by the much higher price of diesel fuel however.
 

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It would definitely be worth it if you could drive it like you stole it and still get 40mpg or 50mpg on the highway like the author claims. I don't think it will though because it seems like with these tighter regulations comes a slight loss of efficiency.

To me this appears to be the local newspaper car guy that relies on local dealerships to give him an endless supply of cars to review so he can keep his job. If you read the reviews by our local guy you would not believe the review matches the car most of the time. Every review is a glowing endorsement and if the car is a real pile it will still get feint praise.
Personally I just wait until consumer reviews come out and see what owners have to say. Or even check out a forum dedicated to the car. If the Diesel Accord does well maybe we will see a Diesel Malibu in our future?

If I seriously considered a Diesel car I would have to crunch the numbers and compare them to the gasoline version. Even if the Diesel costed less in the long run I would still be sore about paying $1 more for fuel that less refined than gasoline. :mad:
 

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I just filled the Chevy up at $6 a gallon. Gasoline here is around $5.25... so that's a less than 15% premium.

Looks like the diesel/gas price gap is slightly larger in the US... that'll work against this Honda, and in favor of hybrids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
The numbers need to be adjusted to reflect the extra cost of diesel fuel here in the U.S.
Gasoline is currently 17% less than diesel.

44 highway
28 city
37 combined
Well, OK.

Might as well cover the whole range of gasoline/diesel spreads possible during this vehicle's lifetime.

That would mean as a reasonable guesstimate -15% up and thru +30% . (Short spikes above and below are probably at least possible).

But then lets be sure to factor in something for battery and ( almost mandatory for some ) battery related replacements on the hybrid.

Don't forget the labor either.

For a Prius, that would mean an average expection of 4500.00 thru the-skys-the-limit....... say, 10,000.00 as the outside limit 8 years from now. ( Could be worse. )

In terms of todays dollars its unlikely to go below the current typical price range of 4500.00-6000.00.

The nifty thing about batteries is they definitely have a finite lifespan whose primary derterminant is time NOT mileage.

The other for sure thing - that nobody wants to talk about is that batteries degrade before they 'fail'.

No matter which hybrid you talk about under which set of assumptions you will get this degradation effect for some period before failure/replacement.

Will that effect fuel economy ?

The correct answer is "it depends" and the real question is "by how much" and the direction is always downward.

Now, what was that about diesel prices and premiums ?
 

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Ah, Prius is spanked by a car you can't buy in the US! Toyota's probably not too worried about it today. And in other news, Americans rush to buy even more Priuses... with a new version coming soon!

Sorry man, I actually do think that it's impressive for a car the size of the TSX to get such great mileage... but the Prius is the hottest eco-oriented vehicle out there, whether any of us like it or not!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Ah, Prius is spanked by a car you can't buy in the US! Toyota's probably not too worried about it today.
They are in Europe - as Lexus and parts of Toyota continue to fail faster and harder there - partially because they no gots a decent diesel.. It will be stateside soon anyway.
And in other news, Americans rush to buy even more Priuses... with a new version coming soon!
I'll make you a friendly wager that when the oil bubble pops Prius sales will deflate almost as rapidly.

Sorry man, I actually do think that it's impressive for a car the size of the TSX to get such great mileage... but the Prius is the hottest eco-oriented vehicle out there, whether any of us like it or not!
True enough for USA ONLY - note - not even Canada, or Japan, or anywhere else - just US really.

It took upwards of 3.50 a gallon to get it moving consistently strong w/o hidden marketing help and thats not counting the Yen subsidy or Jim Press's remarks about development costs.

We still lack anything definitive concerning profit and the more important number of 'normal' profit.

Its also not just about maxed fuel economy numbers either, as this article points out in so many ways.

Then there is the reality of a Euro Accord or if you prefer an American TSX versuses a Prius - in all other aspects.

Take current prices and its virtually no contest.

You know what the Priuses current success reminds me of the most - even if its a little weak ?

The Chevette , yeah, the Chevette - first year out.

We seem to forget that at introduction and for about a month or so after - people lined up, and waited for up to 4 and 1/2 hours outside in the cold and snow and rain - just to 'see' one in a showroom - and maybe get to sit inside - real quick.

Yeah, its true, its an imperfect analogy. The Prius never generated that kind of excitement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Yeah, I don't believe him. If he DID drive it that hard, it should get like 70 mpg driven normally!
A gasser yes, a diesel not neccessarily - better 3/4s built - definite nope.

TurboDiesels in really 'high' , 'hot' and 'heavy' situations can run as much as 100% better than a gasser pushed to the wall the same way.

Typically ( not always ), way before expected, you just can't use the chasis enough to try and pound the number lower - which happens with a gasser also - but much later and with a 'lousier' result.

Some of the Audi R8 V12 TDI high speed road tests ( mostly in Europe for obvious reasons ) illustrate this.

Don't forget that in this same situation ( ok, approx. the same - yes, the Toyota hybrids can't even pull that hard to begin with ) - HSDs are usually shutting down while loosing power - or worse.

If you run one hard enough to matter but soft enough to avoid overheat and/or complete depletion of the allowable battery charge you will find yourself with substantially less fuel economy than its conventional gasoline counterpart in the same situation.
 

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great. but when diesel is a dollar more a gallon....how quick is the payoff??? diesel around me is 5.09, gas is 4.14 for regular
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
great. but when diesel is a dollar more a gallon....how quick is the payoff??? diesel around me is 5.09, gas is 4.14 for regular
Truthfully, none of us know because none of us know future fuel prices with a useful degree of accuracy or certainity.

Motortrend's current issue tries to deal with this and deals with it reasonably and fairly.

In that article, some diesel vehicle payoffs are ranged between 15,000 - 156,000/177,000 depending on your fuel assumptions for the two fuels.

Then there are the issues of duty cycles and user/use factors - run from those that make broad overgeneralisations about one size anything fits all - because that sure as hello is not the case.

Even Toyota has backed away from this kind of nonsense concerning their hybrid programs.

If you seriously want a personal decision model thats simple get out a pad and paper and nail down your assumptions first.
 

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The numbers need to be adjusted to reflect the extra cost of diesel fuel here in the U.S.
Gasoline is currently 17% less than diesel.

44 highway
28 city
37 combined

This is truly a tempest in a teapot. The TSX will be a nice addition to Honda's worst-of-the-semi-luxury-brands-that-no-one-visits. Acura is Honda's Saturn.

They are not putting this vehicle head-to-head with the Prius because it would be splattered and pancaked by the Prius juggernaut. It is stuck away in a low-volume niche at a premium price with the need for premium cost of fuel.

Comparing the numbers is ludicrous because these are not EPA numbers; c.f. VW's egg-splattered face as it tries to pull the new Jetta TDI out of the mud with it's barely-better-than-Corolla/Civic-EPA numbers.

Even if the eventual EPA numbers fall close to the actual results here, let's argue that they do, then they would compare like this

City.... 34 .... 48
High.... 53 .... 45
Comb.. 44 .... 46

But with diesel being 20-25% higher in cost than gasoline, in addition to the Acura premium for the vehicle, this playground scuffle is over before it starts.
'Get outta here little rich kid before I push your face in the mud.' 'Now where's that Jetta kid.'
 
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