It's a Sign: TTAC Finds Official NHTSA 2018 Mazda CX-5 Diesel Filing

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Mazda announced 11 months ago that the company “will introduce a diesel engine option to the North American market,” with the revamped CX-5, launched in the 2017 model year.

We’d heard such claims before. Three years ago, we were still waiting on the launch of the diesel-powered Mazda 6, at least until Mazda gave up on that idea. But Mazda’s insistence this time around produced less doubt. Mazda even revealed that the automaker felt it could generate 10 percent of CX-5 sales with the diesel model.

But last month, we began to wonder about Mazda’s claims of delivering a 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel in the second-half of 2017. The second-half, as you may have noticed, is quickly drawing to a close. Moreover, Mazda wouldn’t offer up any timing, saying only that, “We are working with the EPA and CARB and will have more information in the future.”

Mazda still won’t offer up any timing details. But TTAC’s resident government filing investigator, Bozi Tatarevic, came across some very interesting details at that reaffirm the forthcoming 2018 Mazda CX-5 Diesel.

In response to the TTAC discovery, Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown doubled down on Mazda’s commitment. “We promised the Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine would come to North America and have been working with the EPA and CARB to bring it to market.”

But what exactly did TTAC’s Tatarevic find? It all comes down to VINs: vehicle identification numbers. In July, when Mazda first filed VIN code information for the 2018 CX-5, Mazda only referenced one engine: the 187-horsepower, gas-powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder that serves under the hood of all but the current base CX-5.

Mazda then updated the NHTSA VIN code filing from July 25, 2017, with more information on October 18, 2017, two days ago.

The VIN begins with JM3. That means it’s a multipurpose passenger vehicle manufactured by Mazda in Japan. KF indicates a CX-5. If the sixth designation is an A, the CX-5 is a front-wheel-drive model; if it’s a B, the CX-5 is an all-wheel-drive model. The seventh moniker signifies trim level: Mazda shows SV, Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and SE as A, B, C, D, and E, respectively.

But with this October filing update, the eighth designation in the 2018 CX-5’s VIN could refer to a wider variety of engines.

M and L equal the aforementioned 187-horsepower, gas-powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder. If the eighth descriptor is a 7, that means the CX-5 has a 156-horsepower, gas-powered 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood. And if that M, L, or 7 turns into a 2?

Bada bing, bada boom. Voila.

That’s a 2.2-liter diesel producing 174 horsepower. In other markets, the CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D produces 310 lb-ft of torque, but the NHTSA filing doesn’t reveal torque figures.

Surely this is a sign. A sign of what, we’re not quite sure. We’ve yet to see any certification with the California Air Resources Board; there are no apparent EPA figures. But it seems like progress.

[Image: Mazda]

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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  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on Oct 20, 2017

    I'll just add that ignoring all my feelings on diesel initial cost, maintenance headaches, reliability, pollution, DPF, urea, fuel cost, and whatever else I'm sure I'm forgetting.... In Mazda's case especially, with their HCCI Skyactiv-X coming in just a year or two, why on earth would they bother with a diesel at this point??? Just suck it up with Skyactiv-G for now, avoid the regulatory headaches, costs, mechanic training, parts inventory, etc etc, and wait for HCCI in the CX-5. If it actually does what Mazda has talked about, a diesel will be pointless anyway.

    • Sjgsngl37 Sjgsngl37 on Oct 21, 2017

      Because they are going to offer both the skyactiv-D and skyactiv-x. The"X" will be in the cars mostly and the "D" will be offered in the CX-5. I am guessing they may offer the "D" in the CX-9 depending on how it sells in the CX-5. There are many diehard diesel fans out there.

  • Sjgsngl37 Sjgsngl37 on Oct 21, 2017

    For all you doubters, here is a little information I received from our Mazda dealership district manager. It was firmly confirmed that we should start seeing the first CX-5 diesel's towards the end of Nov. 2017. This is in the southeast region. Yes, Mazda has been trying to get a diesel into the US since 2010 but they didn't want to give up power and fuel economy to meet EPA standards in the US. Well they finally got to where they wanted to be and you will be seeing it soon. Some areas may see it before others.

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    • Isara Punjasthitkul Isara Punjasthitkul on Dec 06, 2017

      Any update from management on when we might be seeing the diesel? Or the 2018s, diesel or not, for that matter?

  • 3-On-The-Tree To say your people are total monsters is an unfair statement. You can judge the Japanese government but to say the citizens are culpable or responsible is wrong. That’s like saying every Caucasian person in the U.S is responsible for slavery or the civil rights era of violence and discrimination against African Americans and are benefiting from it. That’s 79 years ago, the average Japanese citizen born during WWII has nothing to do with what happened. Even my Japanese grandmother who was living in Yokohama whose home was firebombed was just trying to survive with 3 kids and a husband fighting in the war. Just like every war the citizens suffer, I saw it in Iraq. You can’t judge the people from the misdeeds of their government, my mom was born after the war, you really think she is responsible for what happened?
  • Irvingklaws Was a must have for my wife's new car. After years of windshield mounts, trying to keep the sun off the phone, wires running across the dash,'s been a welcome upgrade. Don't have it in my current (old) car, just a stock stereo with the aforementioned windshield phone mount and wires...which is fine enough for me. But if I upgrade the radio with an aftermarket unit, the first thing I'm looking for, after separate volume and tuning KNOBS, is Carplay. Note, I've yet to find an aftermarket head unit meeting these basic qualifications. The infotainment in my '17 GTI had both of these and was near perfect, I'd be happy with that unit in any car.
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  • Wolfwagen If there is no Rust or rot this would be a good buy when MB craftsmanship and engineering meant something. While I prefer the 500 or 560 for the larger engine, this is good
  • Wolfwagen Tim, Now you should ask the B&B who we want to succeed and why. You could limit it to EV or non- North American MFGs.