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.
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.
– by Daniel Gray