The long-rumored diesel engine from Mazda has finally materialized!
It took much longer than the Japanese automaker would have liked, but it made its way to Canada as an optional engine on the 2019 CX-5 – not the Mazda6 that was supposed to get this motor when Mazda first announced plans for a diesel variant.
My excitement over this new powertrain, which I was curious to test in comparison to the family’s gasoline-powered CX-5 everyday driver, was muted somewhat with the news the Mazda was set to put its first electric vehicle on sale in the near future.
Focusing on the case at hand, though, the diesel engine is available on the Signature trim of the CX-9, priced at $45,950. That’s $5,000 more than the gasoline-powered version of the trim.
And you aren’t likely to reap enough fuel savings to warrant that extra cost, so one must really want a diesel to consider this engine. And that is what Mazda is relying on here, convincing loyal diesel lovers to consider a stylish crossover that is loaded with features.
The engine itself is a 2.2-litre dual turbo 4-cylinder diesel engine that is paired to the usual 6-speed on the CX-5.
The diesel powertrain delivers 168 horsepower, far less than the 2.5L gas engine on offer, and 290 ft-lb of torque. The engine itself is quite smooth, with good acceleration.
As mentioned earlier, you aren’t likely to save money at the pumps. Case in point is the fact we failed to meet the estimated fuel economy of the diesel on the CX-5, coming in at 9.2 litres per 100 kilometres, compared to the combined estimate of 8.4 L/100 km.
Like its CX-5 brethren, the diesel variant is a handsome vehicle from front to back, and inside and out.
There’s the large front grille and sloping nose that make a striking first impression, while other body lines deliver a visually appealing style.
Inside, the Signature trim makes a good interior great, featuring upscale touches like Cocoa Brown Napa leather seating (heated and ventilated up front) and Abachi wood trim, not to mention ambient LED interior lighting.
The head-up display is also a welcome addition.
Overall, it’s a very well designed cabin with loads of creature comforts and adequate space.
And the technology in the 2019 CX-5 has been upgraded so that the infotainment system is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there’s a BOSE 10-speaker premium sound system in the Signature trim as well.
While upgraded, the system is still the older Mazda setup when compared with the one in the 2019 Mazda3 Sport AWD I also drove recently.
That being said, the system in the CX-5 is still very user-friendly and functional, with many functions handled through the centre console controls.
When you hit the road and start engine, there’s a subtle burble when you have the windows down or the radio off, but it’s hardly intrusive. And once you are rolling, there’s really no sound to speak of.
The CX-5 diesel delivers excellent power and the engine is quite impressive. Acceleration is smooth and it has no problem getting the CX-5 moving in a hurry when needed.
In the city and out on the highway, the handling is competent and steering response is good.
Diesels have fallen out of favour of late given all the scandals surrounding emissions, but there is still a demand – however niche – for these types of engines.
With a stylish package and upscale interior to match the modern and efficient diesel, the CX-5 is putting its best foot forward to potential consumers.
Time will tell if diesel’s days are done, or if there’s still a market for this type of vehicle.
2019 Mazda CX-5D Signature
Price as tested: $47,845.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.2-litre 4-cylinder dual turbo diesel/ 6-speed automatic
Power/torque: 168 horsepower/ 290 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Diesel (58 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 8.4 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 9.2L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/unlimited km (basic)
Competitors: Chevrolet Equinox Diesel, GMC Terrain Diesel, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid