Mazda has confirmed long-standing rumors that it will be making a diesel car for the U.S. market. Although the company has not announced which model will be the first to receive an oil-burning engine in The U.S., many say the CX-5 is the most likely candidate.
U.S. more receptive to diesel than hybrids
A survey released in January from Pike Research concluded that the American public is showing a decreased interest in electric and hybrid vehicles. Mazda, which has been concentrating its efforts on hybrids, is responding to the U.S. markets rejection of hybrids and a slowly growing acceptance of diesel-powered vehicles.
Diesel to follow gas-powered Mazda 3
Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes told Car and Driver:
“It’ll be here between 15 and 18 months behind the launch of the Skyactiv-G gasoline engine in the Mazda 3.”
The Mazda 3 with the Skyactive-G gasoline engine went on sale in the U.S. in October. So that means the diesel version of the Skyactiv engine — Skyactiv D — could power cars out of U.S. showrooms as early as January 2013, and no later than April of the same year.
While Barnes mentioned the Mazda 3, it is not likely that it will be the first diesel version on U.S. shores. Car and Driver and Autoevolution are both predicting that the CX-5 is more likely.
Already in Japan and Europe
A 2.2 liter diesel model of the CX-5 is already available in Japan and Europe, where buyers have not been as reluctant as the U.S. to go diesel. According to Car and Driver, Mazda’s 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D diesel four is probably the automaker’s choice for the U.S. market. The European version offers either 173-hp and 310 lb-foot of torque, or 148-hp and 280 lb-foot.
Other Mazda models may follow
According to Autoevolution, if the first Mazda diesel does well, diesel version of the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 6 are likely to follow.