For the first time ever, Honda is offering a diesel car with an automatic gearbox.
And if – like us – you’re wondering what exactly took the Japanese maker so long, remember, Honda didn’t offer any diesels at all until 2004.
Honda has a very thorough engineering-based approach, and the delay is due to it wanting to develop the new gearbox in-house, rather than rely on a having a transmission manufacturer build one for it.
Which begs the question: if you’re going to go to all that trouble, why give the automatic just five gears? Most of the competition now offers six.
Anyway, the new gearbox is available on all versions of Honda’s latest Accord. It comes in combination with Honda’s second-generation diesel, the 2.2-litre i-DTEC turbodiesel, and is intended to help lure high-mileage business drivers to the Honda brand. Diesel automatics play a key part in fleet sales.
Good fuel economy
Honda claims the new automatic is smooth, responsive, and sporty, ‘with practically zero lag between kick-down and gear shift – especially when using the steering-wheel mounted [shift] paddles.’
Top speed for the Accord diesel auto saloon version is 129mph, with average fuel economy of 44.1mpg and 170g/km CO2 emissions. The Accord Tourer estate claims 126mph, 42.8mpg, and emits 173-174g/km.
The new diesel automatic Honda Accord ES is on sale from January 2009, priced at £22,400 for the saloon and £23,700 for the estate.
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