Skyactiv-Dead: Mazda Abandons Diesels in the U.S.

Skyactiv-D, we hardly knew ye. After years of anticipation, Mazda is finally calling it quits on its diesel engine in the United States. That means there will be no diesel-swilling Mazda 6 mid-size sedan on our shores, nor will we see a return of the diesel-powered CX-5 compact SUV, which the automaker briefly sold in the U.S. for the 2019 model year.

Admittedly, the news of the Skyactiv-D’s death in America comes as little surprise to us. After all, opting for the turbo-diesel 2.2-liter four-pot to the 2019 Mazda CX-5 added thousands to the model’s price while barely improving on the fuel economy of the SUV’s standard gas-powered 187-hp 2.5-liter inline-four. Nor was its performance particularly noteworthy, with the CX-5 Diesel’s acceleration from a stop falling short of the run-of-the-mill CX-5’s, too. Predictably, the SUV’s available 227-hp (250-hp on premium fuel) turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder proved the true athlete of the bunch. Plus, with 310 lb-ft of torque available at a low 2,000 rpm, the gas-powered turbo engine topped the diesel’s torque total by 20 lb-ft.

In fact, the only real benefit to choosing the diesel was its 3,500-pound towing capacity—1,500 more than its gas-powered counterparts. It’s likely a diesel-powered Mazda 6 would have struggled to make a case for itself in the same way it did in the CX-5, with the sedan’s naturally aspirated gas-powered kin offering similar fuel economy and straight-line performance, and the available gas, turbo engine bettering the diesel’s low-end grunt. All for a lower price, too. 

The engine’s one saving grace in the CX-5, it’s improved towing capacity, likely would not have made a difference in the Mazda 6, either, as the automaker does not recommend using the sedan for towing. In other words, we assumed for some time the Skyactiv-D’s days (in the U.S.) were numbered. Now, however, it’s official.

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