By 2003, Honda will finally have a diesel engine of its own - a 2.2-liter, 144hp common-rail unit that will be installed in European versions of the Accord.
The 1.7-liter turbodiesel used by European versions of Honda's new Civic is based on an Isuzu engine block and is built by Isuzu in Poland. Isuzu will help develop the new 2.2-liter unit but Honda will build it on its own.
The light-alloy common-rail has 330Nm of torque and is claimed to offer smooth performance and high acceleration rates without lots of gear changes.
Honda also says the new engine is very environmentally friendly.
The Japanese carmaker says emissions have been cut by 40 percent, including particulates, compared with rival engines of an equivalent size.
This has been achieved, says Honda, by introducing a special kind of 'swirl' in the fuel-air mixture inside the combustion chamber. A special valve controls the swirl direction to maximize the energy contained in the mixture - and produce the least emissions.
During a brief drive in Honda's test grounds in Tojigi, Japan, the engine reacted very quickly to pressure on the throttle and did not sound harsh even at high revs.
Honda engineers say the new diesel will meet European 2005 emissions regulations without the need for a particulate filter.