2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel Confirmed - 310 Lb-ft of Torque in an Equinox Fighter Not Named TDI

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Chevrolet won’t be the only automaker attempting to woo former Volkswagen TDI owners with a diesel-powered compact crossover. Mazda North America confirmed this afternoon the soon-coming availability of a 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder in the thoroughly refreshed 2017 Mazda CX-5.

Thought to be a sure bet before major setbacks seemed to become insurmountable impediments, we reported earlier this week that the reveal of a new CX-5 would include a diesel engine. Then, in press releases from both Mazda USA and Mazda Canada last night, the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D was included in the list of otherwise carryover powertrains offered.

Today, at a press conference not 24 hours after a design-oriented reveal of the 2017 CX-5, Mazda made it clear. Consider it confirmed, validated, and verified. Mazda’s best-selling model is about to gain 68 percent more torque.

Mazda’s executive vice president, Akira Marumoto, touting 24-percent global sales growth over the last four years and the CX-5 as a vehicle responsible for one-quarter of the brand’s global volume, eventually homed in a very market-specific message.

“As part of the full model change for the CX-5, I’m also delighted to say Mazda will introduce a diesel engine option to the North American market,” Marumoto announced, who surely did not accidentally call the 2.2 Skyactiv-D a “clean diesel.”

Calling this a tough time to launch a diesel, Mazda nevertheless believes there is enough demand to support a diesel-powered CX-5 beginning in the second-half of 2017.

The outgoing CX-5’s 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel offered in many global markets produces 173 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Compared with the 2.5-liter gas-powered inline-four currently topping the North American range, that’s a 12-horsepower drop and a 125 lb-ft increase in torque. Consumption, based on comparisons between the 2.5 Skyactiv-G and 2.2 Skyactiv-D, should decrease by more than 20 percent, suggesting combined EPA fuel economy of 34-36 miles per gallon.

While Volkswagen’s TDI-powered diesel cars formed a small slice of the overall automotive industry pie in the U.S., the market for such affordable diesel-powered cars was long since secured by Volkswagen. Because of Volkswagen’s now 14-month-old diesel emissions scandal and the consequent removal of TDIs from Volkswagen lots, rival automakers are stepping into the small, abandoned diesel space in search of a unique consumer subset.

Except now, without Volkswagen’s dominating presence, these automakers don’t have to fight an uphill battle against the one automaker that had a loyal following.

Whether Mazda will take diesel a step further by offering the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D in the Mazda 6 midsize sedan (or any other North American-market Mazda) is currently on the list of TTAC’s known unknowns. The Mazda CX-5 generates more than double the volume achieved by the Mazda 6 in the United States.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

More by Timothy Cain

Join the conversation
2 of 68 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Nov 17, 2016

    Mazda's engine experiments don't always work out so well. The obligatory rotary version surely must be under development.

  • Brettc Brettc on Nov 17, 2016

    Intriguing. I'm glad that it's finally coming. Who knows, maybe I'll end up with a used CX-5 diesel in 2018 when I turn in my TDI. This engine option promises more horsepower and more torque than the Equinox diesel, so that's something.

  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.
  • Kat Laneaux I get the point that Musk is making. I wouldn't want everyone to know my secrets. If they did, they could or would shout it out to the world. But then, if Musk certified certain folks and had them sign Confidentiality agreements, which would allow them to work on cars that Musk had made, that could allow others to work on his cars and not confine vehicle owners to be charged an arm and a leg for the service. It's a catch 22. People are greedy little buggers. If they can find a way to make money, they will even if it wrong. People...sad.
  • 285exp I have been assured that EVs don’t require maintenance, so this seems pointless.
  • Slavuta "The fuel-economy numbers are solid, especially the 32 mpg on the highway"My v6 Highlander did 31 over 10 hour highway trip
  • Aja8888 As I type this, my 4 months old Equinox's Onstar module that controls the phone is broken. Yep, 4 months (never worked right from day one). Replacement will be a REFURBISHED unit since no new ones can be obtained (from China?). I really don't miss the phone via Bluetooth. And I have a great Garmin that I have used for years for trips which has free lifetime maps and traffic.