It’s Official: The Mazda Skyactiv-D Diesel Is Now DEAD in the USA

Disappointing news, but hardly surprising

It's Official: The Mazda Skyactiv-D Diesel Is Now DEAD in the USA

Most people didn’t even realize that Mazda’s Skyactiv-D Diesel engine was available here.

The Skyactiv-D engine was supposed to be available in the U.S.-market Mazda6 way back in late 2012. Never happened. Delay after delay, piled up with the diesel-vilifying “Diesel-gate” nearly killed the Skyactiv-D’s U.S. debut altogether. Then, just as diesel fans lost hope, Mazda brought us a 2019 Mazda CX-5 powered by the Skyactiv-D – and promptly pulled the plug after a rocky start, according to Roadshow.

We were led to believe that the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D would be as impressive as Mazda’s other engines. Right now, Mazda builds some of the most enjoyable powertrains for driving enthusiasts. We expected this diesel to slot right in there too. Sadly, it didn’t. The 168 horsepower 2.2-liter, four-cylinder diesel makes 290 lb-ft of torque. It has an EPA rating of 28 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. That’s not too bad for an all-wheel drive vehicle. However, with a base price of $42,000 – you won’t see real savings over a frugal base model CX-5. The story may have turned out differently if Mazda offered the engine outside the top-spec Signature trim.

It's Official: The Mazda Skyactiv-D Diesel Is Now DEAD in the USA
Mazda’s 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D engine is more efficient than the 2.5-liter turbocharged gas engine, but not by as much as you might expect. (Photo: Mazda)

Aside from decent fuel mileage, it got a serious bump in its maximum tow rating; jumping up from 2,000 lbs to 3,500 lbs.

Honestly, everyone in the automotive industry was keen on seeing what Mazda could do with a diesel in our market. Overseas, their diesel engines are lauded for their power, smoothness and efficiency. It’s a shame they could not truly deliver that here. Mazda says they will continue to offer the powerplant overseas.

Why kill it?

Mazda has officially told media outlets that they are pulling the diesel option for a lack of consumer demand. Honestly, considering the nightmare Mazda had to go through just to federalize, market and sell the engine here, it’s a miracle that we got one at all. Mazda is a small car company, one that is extremely competitive with automakers several times their size. We understand why something that’s not selling has to be pulled, but it’s as if they should have quit while they were ahead.

Besides, Mazda just announced that they will bring in the PHEV MX-30, which has a rotary range extended, and it looks pretty cool. Hopefully, like other Mazda products, it will be fun to drive as well. On top of that; perhaps the MX-30 will remove the bad taste left behind by the failure of the Skyactiv-D in our market.