Why Did Honda Put a Vacuum in the Odyssey Instead of a Diesel Engine?

Suffice to say, I don’t usually sit back, watch the press releases roll over the wire and shovel out posts. But when I saw that Honda was showing an integrated vacuum cleaner in the new 2014 Odyssey at a New York Auto Show media preview, I got a bit steamed. Not to suggest that they should have added a steamer as well (who wants to arrive at their destination covered in crumbs and wrinkles), but it all seems a bit supliferous, considering the shape we’re in (lay off the out of shape jokes, kids). It’s just hard to understand why Honda continues to withhold their excellent clean diesel engines from America, knowing that they could provide a thirty percent improvement in fuel economy.

Would an integrated vacuum cleaner convince Mom that she had to have the Odyssey over the Town and Country?

With plenty of low-end grunt, diesel engines are ideal for minivans full of kids and gear. An aerodynamically designed minivan with the right diesel engine would be the perfect transportation device for sports-minded families to ferry the team from school to afternoon practice. But it’s not going to happen at Honda. At least not in 2014.

Honda has sold diesel engines in Europe for years on end. I had the good fortune to drive a diesel-equipped Honda CR-V diesel way back in the spring of 2008 at the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a splendid little SUV. The word (back then) was that Honda was holding back because of difficulties in meeting the US emission requirements with an automatic-equipped CR-V. The vehicle I drove was fitted with the manual transmission and it purred happily along in Las Vegas traffic.

Of all the manufacturers, Chrysler could be the first to finally offer a diesel minivan here in the states (considering what’s happening with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesels). This would set the Town and Country apart from the competition, while delivering something that Toyota will likely never offer. That said, a diesel-powered Transit Connect would be splendid move on Ford’s part, complimenting the larger Transit diesel.

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3 thoughts on “Why Did Honda Put a Vacuum in the Odyssey Instead of a Diesel Engine?”

  1. Of course, diesel would be great for long distance (vacations trips for example), but what I would like to see is a gas-electric plug-in hybrid minivan. I think it would be even more fuel-efficient because a lot of trips with kids are short distance and could be done on electricity only. Honda has that tech too in the new Accord PHEV. It would be great on the Odyssey.

  2. Dan, I know exactly what you’re talking about! I happen to have a silver 2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L, and YES it could use more low end torque for moving lots of stuff and people! I pay attention to the engine, and boy does it shift early! Half throttle, up a hill, 5 people in the car + groceries, and it still shifts at 2800 rpm! The little torque monster! The only problem is that the engine works too hard! It’s needed a new timing belt, engine mounts replaced, and (just today!) the charging system failed!!!!! If I hard to work that hard I wouldn’t recharge (sleep) either! If Honda put a diesel in the Odyssey, all our problems are solved!

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