Starting 2011, Mazda began to introduce a new family of engines known as SkyActiv. The technology debuted on the Mazda2 in 2011 and spread to several nameplates by 2016, including the Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5, and the CX-3 and CX-5 crossovers. Consisting of four-cylinder units the SkyActiv-G and SkyActiv-D powerplants deliver great fuel economy and exceptional driving dynamics no matter their displacements. Although the 1.3- and 1.5-liter engines didn’t make it Stateside, Mazda brought both the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter gasoline mills to the U.S. Unfortunately, the 2.2-liter powerplant, the sole representative of Mazda’s diesel SkyActiv technology, is not yet available in North America.
That could change soon according to Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai.
reports that Mazda still wants to bring its SkyActiv-D engine to the United States, and that Kogai even has an internal timeline for the launch. Although he refused to say when it will happen, chances are the diesel powerplant will cross the pond when Mazda introduces its second generation of SkyActiv technologies in 2019.
“We are not giving up,” Kogai said about the U.S. diesel engine, adding that Mazda still has certain regulatory hurdles to overcome. “Environmental performance must be compatible with driving dynamics.”
Available in the Mazda6 and CX-5 outside the U.S., the 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D engine actually made its debut in North America, but not in a road-going vehicle. An upgraded version of the oil burner was run in the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series season and helped Mazda win the GX manufacturer’s championship. Not a bad debut, huh?
Why it Matters
Given the fact that Mazda promised there will be a diesel engine in the U.S. as early as 2013, it’s quite frustrating that the SkyACtiv-D has yet to make its debut on these shores. On the other hand, the huge Volkswagen diesel scandal and rising suspicions that other automakers might have cheated on their tests means that the U.S. market isn’t exactly a friendly turf for oil burners. Regulations are changing, emission rules are about to become stricter, and Mazda could face serious challenges if it were to introduce the 2.2-liter diesel now. Bringing it to the U.S. in its second-generation form makes more sense given the current circumstances. Not to mention that the new-generation engines are supposed to return better fuel economy and handling, among other improvements. Fingers crossed there are no more delays and the new SkyActiv-D is on track for a U.S. launch by the end of the decade.