It seems like we've been waiting forever, but the wait is finally over. Mazda has finally launched a diesel version of the CX-5 for the U.S. market, unveiled at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. Specifically, the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D turbo-diesel engine will be offered in the higher-end CX-5 Signature AWD, part of what Mazda calls its "path to premium," as the company continues to set its sights on some of the more expensive competition.
The Skyactiv-D 2.2 makes use of a sequential twin turbocharger that employs a smaller turbocharger first at low rpm for quick throttle response, after which a valve opens to spool up a larger turbocharger at higher rpm. Mazda says this provides "smooth and linear response from low to high engine speeds, and greatly increases low- and high-end torque." Mazda estimates the output of the engine to be 168 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 290 pound-feet of torque from a low 2,000 rpm. The engine has a rev limit of 5,500 rpm.
As of right now, it's only in the all-wheel-drive version and only in the Signature trim level. As such, it gets a ho-hum EPA fuel economy rating of 27 mpg city, 30 highway and 28 combined. We previously saw fuel economy figures for a potential front-drive diesel CX-5 getting just slightly better fuel economy, at 28 city, 31 highway and 29 combined, but no word yet on if and when that'll be made available.
The mediocre diesel fuel economy, while expected given the midstream shift from one emissions strategy to another, is particularly disappointing in context. The non-turbo CX-5 AWD, which makes 187 hp and 186 lb-ft, gets 24 city and 30 highway for 26 combined mpg – just 3 mpg less in the city and 2 mpg less overall than the diesel. The much more powerful CX-5 Turbo, which makes 250 hp and 310 lb-ft, gets 22 city, 27 highway, and 24 combined.
Mazda is taking pre-orders for the 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D 2.2 starting now, at an MSRP of $42,045, including $1,045 in destination fees. We have to point out that this is a sizable jump in MSRP from a CX-5 Signature AWD with the more powerful turbo engine, which lists for $38,235 – a $3,810 difference in fact. Given the lackluster fuel economy and considerable decrease in power and torque, we're concerned that the diesel may be a tough sell at this sort of premium. Regardless, the diesel CX-5 will be available in four colors: the standard Jet Black, or the more expensive Snowflake White Pearl, Machine Gray Metallic or Mazda's signature Soul Red Crystal.