By on October 20, 2017

2017 Mazda CX5 - Image: MazdaMazda 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?mazda-cx5-filing-3Bada 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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18 Comments on “It’s a Sign: TTAC Finds Official NHTSA 2018 Mazda CX-5 Diesel Filing...”

  • avatar

    Mazda seems to make cars I like to drive. Not the fastest cars on the road but they get the steering and suspension mostly right in an affordable car. I respect that.

    Local dealer is pretty good, too, which evidently isn’t the norm. I’m also living in an area with limited snow/salt in the winter so rust hasn’t been an issue, either. The complaints about the noise are spot on but Mazda seems to be addressing that in their latest cars.

    But the two things that they seem to mess up are “diesels are coming” and “Android auto and Carplay are coming”.

    Really, if they just hadn’t announced anything it wouldn’t be a problem. But the constant press releases making promises (they don’t deliver) gets old.

  • avatar

    Not gonna happen. Don’t hold your breath.

    • 0 avatar

      I work at a Mazda dealership and we were told by our district manager that we will see the first CX5 diesel around by the end of Nov.2017. so not sure where you get your info but I will certainly believe my district manager over you.

      • 0 avatar

        So its Jan 2018 – Where’s the CX5 Diesel? I think your DM is full of shyt. No one knows when this will come out except for Mazda themselves. I have a feeling they are struggling meeting the strict EPA ratings and have had to make major adjustments to the NA version. They may skip us altogether but we’l see at this years auto show.

  • avatar
    westside auto

    You know what the most important thing in telling a joke is? Timing!!!

  • avatar


    Perhaps of the end times. Although if you are a VW/Mazda dealer (and I know at least ONE) you might be happy with this just to see if you can talk any former TDI owners into giving a diesel from a different brand a try.

    • 0 avatar

      The VW dealer I bought my TDI from also sells Mazdas, so I’m sure they’d be happy to finally be able to sell an SUV with a diesel that isn’t a Toe-rag.

      If only VW hadn’t cheated, there could have been be a diesel Tiguan now and Mazda might have had the diesel CX-5 in showrooms long before now.

  • avatar

    Ehh. This doesn’t really mean anything *yet*.

    Without EPA / CARB approval, all Mazda’s effectively doing is registering interest with the Feds that they might perhaps like to – at some point – put diesel CX-5s on US roads. Given how long emissions testing can take (and I would imagine that diesels are under even more scrutiny now), unless they’ve had the 2.2 diesel in emissions testing for the past several months, mid- to late-2018 would likely be the earliest on-sale date for the CX-5 assuming it starts emissions testing today.

    This is a good example of, “believe it when you see them on the dealers’ lots.”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mazda’s diesel is the real Yeti.

  • avatar

    This sounds like it could be the Japanese version of the GM diesel of the late 70’s early 80’s. Meaning a hot mess.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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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