Mazda finally speaks. Kind of.
For a few years now, Mazda has planned to bring its SkyActiv-D diesel engine to the US market. It had two models in mind for the oil burner: the Mazda CX-5 and Mazda 6 Sedan. Just last month, we learned that the 2020 CX-5 diesel has an uncertain future. Mazda refused to confirm details but there are less than 50 unsold 2019 model year CX-5 diesels remaining on dealership lots. It's possible this engine will be a one-year-only deal. Why? The most likely reason is supply issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. But what's the status of the Mazda6 diesel? Will it finally arrive for 2021?
Motor Trend asked Mazda that very question and the response was less than ideal. A company spokesperson said that it "cannot confirm when the SkyActiv-D engine will be offered for the ."
Combine that statement with the grim status of its CX-5 oil-burning counterpart, things aren't looking good. Interestingly, Mazda still has an official website page for the diesel sedan with an option for interested customers to receive email updates. Chances are, they too haven't heard much lately. The engine in question here is the same 2.2-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder found in the 2019 CX-5 diesel, where it produces 168 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque.
Aside from the pandemic, there could be another reason for Mazda's delayed diesel: fuel efficiency. You see, the CX-5 diesel only has marginally better fuel economy than the base 2.5-liter inline-four gasoline engine, which returns 25/31/28 mpg city/highway/combined.
The diesel, meanwhile, has an EPA rating of 28/31/29 mpg. The base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 6 sedan returns 26/35/29 mpg. There's just not a significant difference that would warrant its expected higher price tag. Another SkyActiv-D drawback, at least in the CX-5, is that it's slower to 60 mph than its gas counterpart.
Is it possible Mazda is currently improving the SkyActiv-D to fix these shortcomings? Yes, but without any confirmation one way or another, it's looking more and more likely Mazda's diesel time in America has run out.