By on September 27, 2017

2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel info page - Image: MazdaUSA.comThe potential for success is limited, but Mazda nevertheless announced in Los Angeles in November 2016 that the revamped 2017 Mazda CX-5 would be available with a 2.2-liter diesel torque monster.

Diesel? 2017? The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal that broke in late 2015 ended diesel’s run at Volkswagen of America and eventually ended with the withdrawal of diesel engines in Mercedes-Benz USA’s lineup, as well.

Yet diesel persists. General Motors, for example, is selling diesel variants of the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox and the Equinox’s GMC Terrain sibling. And with Mazda’s decision to sell a 310-lb-ft diesel CX-5, compact crossover shoppers would have three choices.

Mazda said last year that “it will offer the Skyactiv-D 2.2 clean diesel engine in the all-new Mazda CX-5 for North America from the second half of 2017.”

Only half of the second half remains, and still lists the 2017 CX-5 Diesel as a future vehicle. So where’s the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel we were promised?

It’s not at Mazda dealers, that’s for sure. And it’s not on the way to Mazda dealers, certainly not at this moment.

Car And Driver asked a similar question after spotting a diesel-badged CX-5 roaming Michigan roads, apparently undergoing testing by Bosch. We decided to ask Mazda about the CX-5’s diesel timing, as well, curious if Mazda still planned to live up to its promise to sell a CX-5 in 2017, paticularly as Mazda’s consumer website continues to call the CX-5 diesel a 2017 model.

“We are working with the EPA and CARB and will have more information in the future,” a Mazda spokesperson told TTAC yesterday.

Seeking clarification, we asked if it’s safe to say the CX-5 is, for sure and for certain, still destined for U.S. sale.

The response was the same. Timing is a total unknown.2017 Mazda CX-5 - Image: MazdaSeeking further clarification, we reached out to Mazda Canada. The response is similar: “We continue to work with EPA and CARB on final certification, and will have further information about on-sale dates as soon as certification is complete,” Mazda Canada’s spokesperson says. But in this case, there is an apparently greater level of certainty. “Mazda remains committed to bringing a Skyactiv-D diesel engine to the North American market in the Mazda CX-5.”

Beyond our journalistic skepticism, Mazda’s history leads us to doubt. Upon revealing the current Mazda 6 in Los Angeles in November 2012, Mazda said the new midsize sedan would be sold from January 2013 with a gas-powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder. “The Skyactiv-D-equipped version will follow suit in the second half of the year [2013],” Mazda said at the time, “making Mazda the first Asian manufacturer to offer a modern-technology clean-diesel engine in a non-commercial vehicle.”

The Mazda 6 diesel, promised four years ago, never materialized. By the second-half of 2014, TTAC was covering the diesel’s absence, a delay caused by an apparent need for more after-treatment.

Fast forward to 2017 and we’re still waiting on Mazda’s Equinox competitor with no anticipated on-sale date. Diesel-powered versions of the Equinox, meanwhile, are beginning to trickle into dealers — lists nearly 300 in its inventory.

Mazda had anticipated that 10 percent of CX-5 buyers would choose the 2.2-liter diesel. It appears increasingly unlikely that Mazda needs a diesel engine in order to boost CX-5 demand. At a brand where non-CX-5 sales are down 9 percent, the CX-5 is up 10 percent, tracking toward a fifth consecutive year of growth thanks to year-over-year growth in seven of the last eight months. Easily the brand’s best seller, the CX-5 earns four out of every ten U.S. Mazda sales.


Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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21 Comments on “We Still Don’t Know When the Mazda CX-5 Diesel Will Arrive in America...”

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    so, never?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t believe never. Once Mazda has completed its move to being an more upscale and 2%-of-the-market brand it will be offered – but only after the Mazda 6 Skyactiv-D is in the dealerships.

  • avatar

    EPA is probably parsing the software line by line looking for Bosch Easter eggs.

  • avatar

    I distinctly remember 2007 or 2008 being promised a Mazda6 with Diesel. Who exactly are they stringing along at this point? Selling Diesel today is like trying to make a new ska album: No matter how good it is, people are going to reject it on trendiness alone.

    Everyone who looks like me is my friend.

  • avatar

    The diesel option, if it ever comes to be, won’t provide much of a sales bump anyway. Even diesel lovers like myself will have a difficult time justifying the added cost and complexity. It will have to be a phenomenal experience to gain much traction – especially with skyactiv-X right around the corner. A 2.5T option, on the other hand, would be less expensive than the diesel, and would be more in line with Mazda’s “Driving Matters” campaign. The sales bump from such an offering would be both immediate and substantial.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If Mazda really thought it could make money on diesel variants in the US, it would make diesel a reality. They’re probably rethinking their “10%” claim, and that 10% probably aren’t even incremental sales.

    Mazda’s diesel is the most vaporous of ‘vaporware’, just behind Faraday Future and the triumphant return of Saab.

  • avatar

    Mazda should look up the word ‘credibility’.
    At this stage, not sure that Mazda could spell the word ‘diesel’ let alone deliver a product.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, they already got the Wankel and Miller cycles down, so maybe they’re just bored. /s

      • 0 avatar

        They’re having an internal corporate race between diesel and Skyactive HCCI. Both are currently ahead of Elio.

        Meanwhile two entire evolutions of heavy duty diesels have come to market…Cummins has dumped EGR for Euro V.

    • 0 avatar

      Deliver in the US, you mean. The product exists, it’s just not sold here yet.

      Japan: 74% of CX-5 sales are diesel.

      Europe: 58% of CX-5 sales are diesel.

      • 0 avatar

        And considering how VW got around emissions & what happened to them, Mazda dodged a bullet. As far as credibility goes, I feel they still have more than everyone tagged by the emissions scandal. Not reaching a goal is one thing, lying to regulators & breaking by the law is another.

    • 0 avatar

      …”could spell the word ‘diesel’…”

      Oh, stop. They understand diesel fine, and they are selling thousands in other global markets. But it’s one thing to design a system that meets the US regulations, and it’s another thing to build that system and sell it profitably.

      And tell me again how many sales they are losing by delaying the introduction of diesel? Maybe a couple of thousand per year, at the most? Not much, when you balance it against the cost of regulatory compliance.

      Will GM still sell diesel engined small cars and small SUVs in 5 years? I don’t think it’s a certainty.

  • avatar

    The likely answer is never.

    If a miracle somehow happens, why don’t they shove this in the CX-9 also?

    • 0 avatar

      Their decisions on engine options are a head-scratcher. All fit in the same envelope (that was a design requirement), so where the 2.5L fits, they could drop the 2.5T or 2.2L diesel. They should already have the 2.5T in the 6 and CX-5.

  • avatar

    The diesel Equinox mentioned in the article sounds interesting. Unfortunately, I’ve already owned an Equinox. And, my spouse doesn’t want another. So, I’m probably out of luck if Mazda doesn’t soon come through with the diesel CX-5. It’s probably, once again, off to the Volvo dealership. Or, maybe, this time, off to the Toyota dealership for some sort of hybrid powered Toyota since the local Toyota dealership is closer and has a very good reputation. I’ve noticed there are some 2018 Camry hybrids and RAV4 hybrids available. And, by the way, where is Mazda’s new CarPlay system?

  • avatar

    I have 14 years of diesel ownership under my belt. They were fun and interesting for having an outlier as a fuel source, but they’re just too hard to justify anymore. They’re terrific machines when they function optimally, but also terrifically expensive to service and repair when components break. Americans very often make irrational vehicle choices, but the subset of people for whom a diesel variant makes sense over a gas one is really small.

  • avatar

    Called around to a few dealers in the NJ area and one actually got back to me that they are currently expecting the CX-5 Diesel in February.

    Whether that will be pushed back, I do not know, but that seems to be the current timeline.

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