In quite a surprising move, Lexus has decided to produce a diesel vehicle. This is their first foray into the world of diesels. It surprised me quite a bit, seeing that there is no way that they could sell it on their home turf. Diesels have a worse reputation in Japan than America. That is saying a lot!!!
The IS 220d looks to be a nice car. A VERY nice car that will probably be out of reach for most people. Unfortunately, until America and Japan get their act together, this car will only be available in Europe. I would consider one if a) it were available and b) if I had the FUNDS available to actually purchase one.
Here are the fuel consumption specs listed by Lexus of Great Britain.
Urban (mpg/l/100 km) 35.8/7.9
Extra urban (mpg/l/100 km) 52.3/5.4
Combined (mpg/l/100 km) 44.8/6.3
CO2 emissions 168
Man if they come out with an SC-430 diesel, I'll break my rule about not buying new cars. Hardtop convertible 2 seater (I don't care how many seats it comes with, you can't get more than 2 people into one) with a diesel under the hood is exactly what the wife and I want.
I don't think diesels are ready for prime time time due to emissions controls. The particulate filters and urea injection on new diesels are going to make them more expensive, and a lot more maintenance intensive.
Capitalism: The cream rises. Socialism: The scum rises.
Not really. The urea and particulate filters are 100K mile maintenance items. Not bad. The fuel economy, or cost per mile, will more than make up for the added expense. Not to mention the inherent power available in a diesel. You can have a 50MPG diesel with 400 ft lbs on tap, makes for effortless passing.
I've already emailed Lexus and asked them to look into a turbo diesel for the SC-430. I can only hope they do it .
SVOboy: There isn't much info on the car yet as it is still really new. I had trouble finding much of anything on it, other than what the manufacturer has listed.
As for the U.S. and Japan, people need to re-evaluate their priorities and perceptions. Going purely on what other people say (as I never have owned a diesel, which should change pretty soon!), diesels give better passing power. Torque is what the American population needs. The black soot spewing diesels that you see on Japanese roads represent the worst that diesels are capable of. People need to examine what they are possible of producing when they are well engineered. The dirty diesel image needs to be fixed both in America and Japan.
Diesel takes less refining to be produced. It gives better fuel economy. The engines that use it are much more adaptable to alternative fuels. Pushing for cleaner diesel engines will help reduce green house gases. This is only acceptable if the auto companies are able to make the diesel clean burning, as people are quick to judge by appearances. A soot coming out of the tailpipe of a diesel could be infinitely better for the earth as it pertains to global warming, but if it is black, people will instantly think of it as being dirty. I'll admit that I am one of them.
I personally want a SELECTION of diesel-based cars. Every manufacturer should have more real choice in their lineup. I don't care for special versions, limited editions, four door/two door (well, maybe a little in this area), premium package, trim variation and all of the other nonsense that is used to make a boring lineup seem more exciting and full. I want REAL choices. Totally different cars that look and feel different. Keep a company image, but give the consumer some actual choice in what they buy. Differentiation baby. Hybrids are great, but diesels are sweet.
I think part of the stigma in Nihon is that to begin with cars are a little (extremely) pointless. That's what the damn train is for. However, in recent years, people drive (fools) has gone up in Nihon, so perhaps diesels will come into vogue. I wish people would just take the damn train though.
Nihon could probably benefit most from some decent EVs of a midrange variety for getting around tokyo and things, they could be smaller and less powerful and still do the job great, and the nihonjin would prolly love how quite they are.
SVOboy: You seem to be fairly knowledgeable about Japan. Are you taking Japanese classes, or do you just have an interest in the country?
Compared to America, it is true that cars are LESS necessary in Japan. Living in a big city, you would have NO need for one. It would actually probably just end up being a nuissance. Yen for yen, it is actually cheaper to ride the train than own a car in Japan, if the car is primarily used by one person at a time. I have done some comparisons on this, using my fiance's used car as a model. She could (and perhaps should have) just gone with taking the train to work. She could have had bikes on both ends of the route and used those to shorten her commute time. It would have saved here a lot of money. However, then we would be screwed when it came to wanting to go somewhere that the trains don't run...
Which brings us to... the fact that not all areas of Japan are tied to railways. I live in a place where the rail terminates. My stop is the second from last. Even with the extremely expensive rail rates (this was confirmed after my trip to korea where I was shocked at how cheap the railways are), some stations just don't make enough money to stay open. We have some high schools and colleges near us, so our station should stay open, but the last one on the track might end up closing.
So, while Japan does have one of the best public transportation systems in the world, it is not perfect. Some areas of Japan are still very secluded. I happen to work in one. It is just not feasible to run railways to these areas.
Now the SUV explosion over here is another can of worms that I don't even want to open...