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New Mazda Diesel Headed for U.S.

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer

Mazda's newest diesel engine is headed for the U.S. market. The automaker recently showed off the new powerplant, a member of its highly-efficient SkyActiv engine family, promising the engine offers the torque of a traditional V6 but with significantly better gas mileage.

According to Mazda, the 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is already launching in Japanese versions of its compact CX-5 crossover, which was unveiled in production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month. There, the engine will produce an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque, though Mazda expects 30 percent fuel economy gains despite its muscle. While the automaker hasn't released official figures, we'd expect that means around 24 miles per gallon in city driving and close to 30 mpg on the highway.

The automaker also announced the engine utilizes a low 14:1 compression ratio, circumventing costly oxygen treatment systems used by upscale automakers like BMW and Mercedes. Also included is the automaker's i-Stop start/stop technology, which turns the engine off during long periods of idle, including traffic lights and heavy traffic. According to Mazda, that means the SkyActiv diesel will comply with all worldwide emissions regulations, including the strict Euro6 guidelines which take effect in 2014.

But the biggest news about Mazda's SkyActiv diesel is the automaker's commitment to use it in the United States. While American consumers are increasingly accepting diesel engines, the technology mostly remains little known and poorly understood. But as automakers scramble to meet federal fuel economy guidelines, diesel technology will likely become more widely accepted in the near future. 

As for Mazda, it remains to be seen when the SkyActiv diesel will debut and which U.S. model will feature the technology, though the midsize Mazda6 sedan and U.S. versions of the CX-5 are likely candidates. Either way, considering diesel's potential to couple massive torque figures with remarkable fuel economy, we hope the automaker isn't shy about offering the engine wherever possible.

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New Mazda Diesel Headed for U.S.