By on February 11, 2020

The road to America is often a long one, and the 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder that finally set up shop in the Mazda CX-5 last year took a Donner Party-like detour after leaving Japan.

The Skyactiv-D engine was over half a decade late in arriving on these shores, and when it finally did — cleared by the EPA after certain modifications — journalists were underwhelmed by its power and economy. Now, it’s the midsize Mazda 6’s turn to try ditching gasoline. Will anyone be in line to greet it?

Its chances would have been more favorable had the engine appeared on time. Back when passenger cars still outranked SUVs/crossovers in terms of sales and the Volkswagen Passat TDI Sport was a hot and illegally efficient midsize entry.

It’s no secret that Mazda still intends to outfit the 6 with compression ignition, but a California Air Resources Board certification document filed at the end of January and uncovered by Autoblog shows its arrival is drawing close. Expect a launch later this year.

“Mazda has worked tirelessly with federal and state agencies to ensure that this diesel engine has passed each and every regulation,” Jeff Guyton, president of Mazda North American Operations, said during the CX-5 diesel’s New York unveiling last spring.

In that application, the Skyactiv-D — mated to a six-speed automatic — makes 168 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque; it’s expected the diesel 6 will see similar output, though the all-wheel drive promised by Guyton in 2019 isn’t confirmed for 2021 (or for a mid-year launch, which Mazda seems fond of). In the years following the 2.2L’s initial delay, Mazda saw fit to outfit the 6 and CX-5 with more power, offering a turbocharged 2.5-liter delivering 250 hp and 310 lb-ft on premium gasoline.

Image: Mazda USA

The CX-5’s sales continue to rise (the model now accounts for more than half of all Mazdas sold), but the addition of a new engine hasn’t helped the 6. Despite its refreshed exterior and cabin (which already looked sharp), inherent tossability, and optional turbo mill, 6 sales fell for a fourth consecutive year in 2019. While the arrival of all-wheel drive might change a few minds, the revamped Mazda 3 did not see its fortunes rise when it donned AWD for 2019. Quite the opposite, though other factors were at play with that model.

When the diesel 6 does arrive, Mazda may opt to follow the same course as the CX-5, which offered the engine as an option only on the top-flight Signature AWD trim. Then again, it might not, given that dealers seemed to have trouble moving them without steep discounts. In that model, the Skyactiv-D brought a $4k markup, placing the diesel CX-5’s after-destination price north of $42,000. Keep in mind we’re talking about a compact mainstream crossover here.

With more power offered by the turbo gas engine and fuel economy that, at least in the crossover, fell short of expectations, the diesel 6’s business case may be even more nonexistent than the oil-burning CX-5’s. Feel free to disagree.

[Image: Mazda]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

53 Comments on “Any Takers? Docs Herald Mazda 6 Diesel Introduction...”


  • avatar
    R Henry

    Attempting to market a diesel Mazda6 in today’s US market is ridiculous. Sorry, but Mazda deserves to loose any money invested in this crazy idea.

    • 0 avatar

      Totally agree with you Henry. Mazda executives are idiots. They should better spent all that money on EV development. They are risking to make themselves irrelevant not only in US market but also in Europe and China. Does not make sense to spend any money on development of ICE engines anymore and VW better than anyone one else understands it.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        @INSIDE LOOKING OUT,

        It is interesting how different countries perceive Diesels. In my country we view modern Diesels as a better and more environmentally friendly alternative than gasoline cars, in particular due to the lower CO2 emissions and much better fuel economy.

        Only a handful of German cities have enacted Diesel and gasoline driving bans, and these generally apply to older models from the 1990s. Some cities are planning on banning EURO5 Diesel cars, such as Stuttgart. Keep in mind that Baden-Württemberg (the state in which Stuttgart is located) is run by the Green Party. It would be equivalent to a more radicalized version of your current liberal government in California.

        The car world and car experts agree: Diesel still has potential. Lots of it. Our politicians are simply following the EUSSRs strict and frankly unrealistic emission regulations, which essentially mean the death of both gasoline and Diesel cars in favor of questionable EV mobility.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        “They are risking to make themselves irrelevant not only in US market but also in Europe and China.”. It could be argued that Mazda is fairly irrelevant in the USDM now as it is no longer mainsteam and has declined to pretty much a niche-brand manufacturer.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    I’m interested.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Stats on the 2.5 ltr gas turbo are far more attractive to me.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I don’t get why any U.S. consumer would buy a diesel engine in any vehicle smaller than an F-350. Engines are heavy, down on power, and maintenance-intensive compared to their gas counterparts. Despite all efforts they still make diesel sound and diesel smell. In many places, the fuel price is higher enough to offset any fuel savings. And evidence suggests many of the engines are out of emissions compliance from the factory, although the relatively poor performance turned in by Mazda’s suggests it may be legit.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      For 20 years plus my experience owning diesel VW TDI and gasoline vehicles as well as a diesel pickup I enjoyed very much the ownership experience and attributes of diesel. Cost of ownership was lower for the diesel vehicles compared to gasoline. Fuel cost was lower, maintenance cost was lower, and retained value was higher. Diesel engines typically provide superior power than comparable gasoline engines.
      Diesel engines in 2020 are very different from 1990’s and 2000’s era. Will have to evaluate the Mazda 6 when it’s actually available.

      I like diesel, gasoline, and electric power-trains in vehicles. I have an open mind.

      • 0 avatar

        Wake up, try Tesla. Cost of ownership is substantially less than anything running on oil.

        • 0 avatar
          Carrera

          The article about the guy who bought the used Tesla which was later stripped of its electronic options over the air, really freaked me out and made me worried about buying a used electric car like a Tesla..even with very low miles. And if I had $ 45,000 to burn, it won’t be on an electric car that’s for sure.

          • 0 avatar

            I seriously considered Tesla. I have parking and already have a very big wire in my garage (formerly used to power a clothes dryer). What made it a no are the many horror stories about getting parts, which is a company fail, nothing to do with electric.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          So my Fiesta ST was 16.5k out the door new. It’s pretty good on gas. In 2 years it hasn’t cost me anything other than fuel and 3 oil changes. I mean you are talking half the upfont of a Tesla.

          Now yes, the Tesla is nicer, but my car does “run on oil”, is a ton of fun to drive and my electricity isn’t free either so I am really curious to see that Math.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Math available at https: //www.energy .gov/eere/electricvehicles/saving-fuel-and-vehicle-costs

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Ooooh, so in my home state I’d need to keep it 33 years based on fuel costs. Factoring in the average maintenance and out of warranty repairs over the life of my cars you are talking 24 ish years. SIGN ME UP!!!

            Ironically, I am strongly considering a Mini EV, but not because I am under any illusion that it is going to save me a dime other than on my taxes.

          • 0 avatar
            Oberkanone

            I tried the calculator from alternative fuels data center. Electric vehicle cost $0.05 cents per mile higher (base Tesla 3) and the delta in ownership costs only gets larger at time goes on. At 15 years there is over $20K higher cost of ownership for Tesla.

            I’m not fixated on cost. Other factors including no dealer, no factory repair facility, extremely limited availability of parts outside of OEM, very limited charging infrastructure impact the appeal of electric vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Oberkanone

          Think, try math.

          Tesla 3 lease $525 plus per month

          Toyota Camry lease $333 per month

    • 0 avatar
      Fleuger99

      dal20402 you obviously have not owned one. I have a 2018 X5 35d and my wife drives a 2012 Touareg TDI that is still going strong. Yes, HP might be lower than an equivalent gas engine but torque wise and day to day driving usability the diesel is better. My X5 has 250 HP but 419lbs ft torque at 1500 RPM. I’m seeing (real numbers not car’s computer) 28.3mpg in mixed driving on on a long distance trip last summer with 4 people in my X5, I was getting 33.4mpg highway or 640 miles on a tank.

      The biggest expense for my Touareg has been tires, mechanically it has been very reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        sorry, but in the age of GTDI engines the “Torque” argument falls flat. turbo GDI engines are just as torquey as diesels of similar displacement.

        all that leaves is the fact that diesels aren’t “great at torque,” they suck at making horsepower.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Last year I’ve driven Toyota Pro Ace 4 cyl diesel with manual. This is a 9-pass van and was loaded with 6 passengers and their cargo. And this thing was moving, I must say. So, yea, if it (‘6) came with MT….

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    I’m surprised that Mazda followed through on this promise which they made ~7 years ago. It will be interesting to see what fuel economy numbers are on this vs the CX5 and whether it’s offered on the lower trim models.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Mazda can’t justify the cost of continuing to offer manual transmissions in the 6 but they can justify adding a Diesel engine?

    Uh huh.

    Pointless. Utterly pointless. Doubly utterly pointless when they have Skyaxtiv-X as well. Why don’t they bring that as the super-efficient option?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Manual availability in the new 3 is down as well. Ridiculous.

      My guess is testing and development for the diesel was so far along that they thought it wouldn’t cost much more to go ahead and release it. They already wasted the money on it, so sell it for a couple of model years and put it in the loss column.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Low rent sootmobile priced like a premium set of wheels. I’d rather have an upmarket mid-size hybrid with all the bells and whistles than this thing.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    Mazda can’t afford to pissing away resources on stuff like this. Can’t imagine how they think this will help them long term. Hybrid CX5’s and 6’s would sell ten times better than an underpowered, overpriced diesels, and likely at a real profit.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m only interested insofar as to say I’m curious to experience diesel motoring. I’ve never driven one, let alone gotten to experience the alleged benefits. That said, I’m extremely happy with the two vehicles I’ve driven equipped with the naturally aspirated 2.5 and acknowledge I’m not likely the intended audience. It’s powerful enough and efficient enough for me, though the winter mileage is a bit crap

    My commute is relatively short and I don’t know if my monthly 200 mile round trip jaunt to visit my brother is enough to regenerate the soot filter (I’m not sure of that’s the technical term for it) and I’d likely have issues based on my usage patterns.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I like choices but in this case it is a little to late. Mazda needed this back in 2014-2015. Also, just like the CX5, it will be offered, more than likely, in their top of the line so probably looking at $36-37,000. Plus, the turbo 2.5 is probably its biggest competition. I am interested in the CX5 diesel but at $40,000 it is a no go. I’ve driven modern diesels while visiting Europe and I’ve been very impressed with their fuel consumption and torque but there, the diesel engine option is offered throughout the range. In USA, usually that doesn’t happen. Manufacturers generally speaking only offer the diesel engine in their top trims, then they wonder why they don’t sell. Also, in Europe a premium of $5-1000 was expected, not $ 4-5,000 like in USA

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    I’m a diesel fan and have owned several. But, even I have to admit that the days of diesel are over. This isn’t really enough of a comparison, but several months ago I had a base Jetta as a rental. It had impressive power and tons of torque and got fuel economy near to what my ’10 Golf Waagon and’13 Passat TDI got.

    Heck, if I’m a little conservative with the throttle in my ’19 GLI I can get darn close to the TDI mileage.

    The fuel mileage and torque were always the selling point for me and those advantages are largely gone.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    A couple of tanks of biodiesel will bring that chicken home to roost. Good luck with warranty coverage on that one. Just ask Mercedes how that worked out. It leaves me asking where the hybrid or ev version is. What a great buggywhip at a changing auto landscape.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      The only way I would consider running a diesel now is if I could run used restaurant deep fryer oil which means an old, possibly mechanical diesel. It would be my style of a motor adventure.
      I’ve moved on and now run a plugin hybrid.
      The only thing I love about new Mazdas is the fabulous red colour they have and that is nowhere close to getting me writing a cheque.

  • avatar
    brn

    Being new to offering a small diesel in the US, I have to wonder if they’ve worked out the details on how to cheat on emission tests.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    I am a Diesel driver. Diesels are great for those of us who have to drive a lot and rack up a lot of mileage, particularly in regards to driving fast while still achieving impressive fuel economy (I live in Germany).

    In terms of refinement they have come a long way. The 150-horsepower 4-cylinder TDI in my wife’s 2019 Skoda Octavia v/RS Combi is smoother, quieter and far more responsive Diesel V6 in my 2007 GL320 CDI 4Matic, which itself is no slouch, reasonably smooth and fairly quiet. The TDI motor in the Octavia, once warmed up, could be mistaken for a quiet gasoline engine. There is also no smell thanks to quick-acting emission control systems. The Diesel Skoda is a very agile driving machine and provides tremendous driving pleasure thanks to the low-end torque and excellent DSG transmission. My wife is very happy with it.

    Costs will vary depending where you live. In Germany dealerships will charge more for Diesel engine maintenance and the ownership taxation on Diesel cars is higher, almost double (sometimes even triple) that of an equivalent gasoline car. For my driving requirements a Diesel pays off due to the simple fact that I tend to drive over 40,000 km a year and Diesel fuel is still cheaper than gasoline. The Diesels I have owned have been very reliable despite the high-speed stress I tend to unload on them (I am a passionate fast driver on the Autobahns).

    If someone were to give me this Mazda Diesel I would gladly accept it, tough I prefer large full-size SUV type of vehicles. This would still be a relaxing long-distance cruiser where range and fuel economy are top priority and not blowing the doors of a Porsche at a stoplight.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “There is also no smell thanks to quick-acting emission control systems.”

      Ask the bicyclist behind you if that is really true.

      Especially on colder mornings, I “get” to sample all sorts of exhaust odors on my bike commute. Even the brand-new German diesels still have that distinct sooty diesel smell about them, and when cold they tend to emit puffs of black smoke. Meanwhile, the older ones (the vintage of your GL) are stinky no matter whether they’re cold or not.

      • 0 avatar
        Add Lightness

        +1
        Also, as a cyclist, by far the worst are the stock domestic pickups.
        Why are these things allowed a pass on emissions?
        BTW, here in BC, the most dangerous thing on the road is a Dodge pickup (by observation)

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Also, as a cyclist, by far the worst are the stock domestic pickups.
          Why are these things allowed a pass on emissions?”

          they aren’t, chances are the owner is an immature wannabe-redneck jerk who took all of the emissions hardware off.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        @DAL20402,

        My old GL320 CDI has a Diesel odor because it is an older model, but I can assure you that is not the case with my wife’s Skoda. Upon start-up there is no black smoke and no penetrant odor.

      • 0 avatar
        Fleuger99

        dal20402 You’re talking complete nonsense. My X5 diesel, I’ve put my hand for 30 seconds at the exhaust and there is ZERO smell or residue on my hand.

        Maybe go out for yourself and see the reality versus regurgitating nonsense.

    • 0 avatar

      Thomas, in all due respect Diesel is so 19th century. I thought it was already illegal to drive cars with Diesel engine in Germany, isn’t that true?

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        @INSIDE LOOKING OUT,

        It is interesting how different countries perceive Diesels. In my country we view modern Diesels as a better and more environmentally friendly alternative than gasoline cars, in particular due to the lower CO2 emissions and much better fuel economy.

        Only a handful of German cities have enacted Diesel and gasoline driving bans, and these generally apply to older models from the 1990s. Some cities are planning on banning EURO5 Diesel cars, such as Stuttgart. Keep in mind that Baden-Württemberg (the state in which Stuttgart is located) is run by the Green Party. It would be equivalent to a more radicalized version of your current liberal government in California.

        The car world and car experts agree: Diesel still has potential. Lots of it. Our politicians are simply following the EUSSRs strict and frankly unrealistic emission regulations, which essentially mean the death of both gasoline and Diesel cars in favor of questionable EV mobility.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Thomas, most Americans’ experience/exposure with diesel automobiles is very limited due our gas being always much cheaper than in Europe. We never had much need for 55mpg plus diesel sippers when gas was cheap. Yes, heavy duty pick ups were traditionally diesels but until recently those weren’t too refined engine wise. Also, let’s not forget those of us who had an uncle who had a friend in the 80s with an Oldsmobile Delta 88 diesel which was a GM failure from the inception. Mercedes Benz, and BMWs diesels were fairly rare and VW was always an acquired taste in USA due to their traditionally bad reliability. Diesel VWs had a 20% take overall which is a lot but overall VW Auto group sales hasn’t been much in USA anyway. So 20% of nothing isn’t much. Most of us haven’t experienced the smooth, quiet and powerful Toyota and Honda diesels ( RAV4, Crv, Accord, Civic, Avensis, Hilux, etc) or the Hyundai and Kia diesels or the French diesels which as French cars go weren’t that bad. I moved to USA from Europe when I was 17 years old therefore I did not have a driver license in Europe since most countries allow you to drive when 18, however on my visits to Europe I’ve always driven diesel cars and was always amazed. I’ve tried to explain my American friends what a 1.5l diesel car can do but they all knew an uncle who had a friend in 1985 with a diesel Oldsmobile Delta 88.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        and remember those ’70s and early ’80s German diesels were *painfully* slow. As in “could get walked by an Iron Duke Camaro.”

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          “As in “could get walked by an Iron Duke Camaro.”

          As the former owner of an Iron Duke third gen, that may be the most remarkable thing I have ever read on these forums.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        @CARRERA,

        Interesting feedback, thank you!

        I cannot speak for the rest of Europe, but in Germany Diesels became popular on their own due to their inherent better fuel economy and cheaper fuel cost. Pricing wise they were always more expensive than a comparable gasoline car, but it paid off due to better reliability, lower fuel costs and so forth.

        Another interesting story is that Diesel cars were popular with farmers because they had plentiful Diesel fuel reserves on their farms which were needed to run farm equipment. In the 1950s all the way to the 1970s a farmer was a well-paid profession in my country, and they could easily afford a Mercedes Diesel and essentially refuel it on their farm.

        In the 1990s and from then on Diesels were being pushed in Europe because of lower CO2 emissions. The Volkswagen Diesel scandal has hurt their image, but the newer Diesels fulfill the emissions requirements and even ‘clean the air’. Apparently, the air that leaves the exhaust pipes of a current EURO6 Diesel is cleaner than the air which is sucked in at the front of the vehicle.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Mazda for years seemed to have this shoot itself in the foot DNA, going off on tangents for years that most everyone watching said were going nowhere.

    Rotary engines, no more MazdaSpeed, no we don’t need torque said the top brass, not needed. Forego previous performance variants but keep the zoom zoom ads, thinking people won’t notice. Now diesel in a mid size car, hello?

  • avatar
    V16

    DUMB and DUMBER at the auto show.

    MAZDA–Diesel option.
    CADILLAC–Blackwing V8, State of the art engine. Dead on arrival.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    The issue that few speak of.concerning diesel is particulates. Engineers can mist a gas molecule to burn cleaner, they have yet to achieve this with diesel. I’ve witnessed ultrasonic experiments misting diesel, however cost, longevity of the equipment and electronic interference prevent incorporating into current designs.

    EPA regulations require particulate entrapment thus various sub systems are employed creating failure points and rob overall mpg. So while gas engines advance creating more power with less fuel, diesel technology is multiple sub systems required without offering improvements. True power and torque is increase but that only creates more particulates.

    Finally it’s not mpg but cost per mile and overall reliability that is the measure in business applications. Every 5-6 thousand mile trip I take, the siren song of diesel calls, particularly when it comes to range, however putting math to real world applications, including maintenance cost,the split is 1-2 cents per mile and not enough to transition to diesel

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      a group at Sandia National Lab has come up with a concept called “Ducted Fuel Injection” which- if it’s practical in the real world- promises to drastically reduce soot generation. Normally with diesel you have a “soot/NOx” trade-off where anything you do to reduce generation of one will increase generation of the other.

      besides, GDI engines have a particulate issue as well, but they can use much smaller and simpler particulate filters because the higher exhaust temps of gas engines means they tend to just “naturally” regenerate themselves.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I honestly don’t know what is going on at Mazda. Their fails are mounting.

    – Skyactiv-X needing a supercharger AND hybridization to hit its targets
    – Skyactiv-D just sucking in general
    – Generally poor packaging efficiency
    – Neutering the 3’s dynamic prowess and then launching the CX-30
    – Talking down on electrification and then showing the MX-30
    – The MX-30’s name

    Etc.

    They have all the pieces to actually make the premium push they want, and the partnerships to hit FE targets without all these whackadoodle holy grail powerplant moon shots. But we are where we are.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    On my last trip to Europe I rented the infamous brown, diesel, manual wagon (Fiat Tipo). The power train was easily the worst part of the car. No torque until almost 2k rpm, then it runs out of breath 1000 rpm later and I need to shift. First gear is too short, second is too tall. Very awkward to crawl around town.

    If that car is at all representative of diesel in general or even diesels on that class of car, then I don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Fiat Tipo represents all modern diesels in as much as Dodge Charger Hellcat represents all modern gas vehicles.

      In as much as Smart ForFour EQ represents the best electric vehicles have to offer.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Detroit-X: To me, the Venza was an unusual advanced initiative (for Toyota) of a trend that never materialized, yet....
  • Dave M.: Not sure what you mean by Subaru’s expensive durability problems, but with the exception of a rear...
  • SCE to AUX: It’s about time consumers realize that other vehicles can navigate wet roads to carry a pet to...
  • dukeisduke: If they were hanging out with Toyota and Lexus, they might pick up some reliability.
  • dukeisduke: I never could figure out what the original Venza was supposed to be. A crossover? A pseudo minivan? A...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber