Honda’s Pilot Aims for Diesel?

January 15, 2008

Honda’s confirmed its plans for adding a diesel engine to its lineup, but which vehicle would carry that engine has been a mystery. Other sources are pointing to a future Acura inheriting the oil-burner, or possibly the Accord and Civic.

But what about Honda’s Ridgeline and the closely related new 2009 Honda Pilot, which was shown in Detroit as a thinly disguised concept? With America’s acceptance of diesels in pickups and SUVs, would the Pilot be a good start for Honda’s new diesel push?

“We’ve always said a diesel makes sense in larger vehicles,” said John Mendel, while offering no specifics.

Honda's diesel technology is expected to meet emissions regulations for all 50 states, but unlike diesels from BMW and Mercedes, would not need to use the additive urea to meet strict new diesel standards. Honda’s diesel is said to use a three-phase catalytic converter that would convert nitrogen oxides into ammonia.

Mendel did confirm that the new Pilot would come in a new luxe Touring trim, and also confirmed that the Element will return for the 2009 model year, which would mark its sixth year on sale on its current platform.

Lastly, other sources at Honda say the company’s target for Accord sales in 2008 is 400,000 units. The Toyota Camry exceeded 430,000 sales in 2007, but many sales were to fleets, our source added.

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