Smaller Mazda diesel on the way

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Mazda will use a new smaller SKYACTIV-D turbo-diesel to power a range of new variants and help build sales in the all-important European marketplace.

The new engine displaces 1.5 litres and features Mazda’s latest high-rpm, low-compression SKYACTIV-D turbo-diesel technology. It joins the company’s 2.2-litre powertrain and promises to deliver outstanding economy and at least class comparable performance when it arrives in 2014.

The new engine will debut in European versions of the new generation Mazda3, but it is also expected to be offered in the CX-5 in both all-wheel and front-wheel drive versions. Just how soon the engine will be launched (and whether it will come Down Under) is still not clear.

Mazda is yet to finalise outputs for the new powerplant, but was told the power and torque benchmarks for the engine were a step above Volkwagen’s latest 1.6-litre turbo-diesel. That engine is available in a range of power outputs from 65 to 82kW and maximum torque levels of around 250Nm.

Our Mazda insider suggests top performance figures for the 1.5 SKYACTIV-D will be in the region of 90kW/320Nm. He stresses, however, that Mazda’s aim is to emulate the free-revving characteristics of its large SKYACTIV-D turbo-diesel rather than the low-rev torque peak the VW TDI engines deliver.

Mazda’s lack of a smaller diesel has hamstrung it in some European markets where engines are taxed on capacity as well as, or instead of, CO2 outputs. There is also a perception in Europe that a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel is too large for a car like the Mazda3.

Locally of more interest will be the fact Mazda will match the smaller turbo-diesel with a six-speed automatic transmission. To date the Mazda3 Diesel has only been offered in a manual variant.



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Words by Mike Sinclair, from