First test drive of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel: we want to like it

First test drive of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel: we want to like it

Mazda has been bothering us with diesel engines for far too long. It is now available in the Mazda CX-5, but is it too little, too late? In fact, too expensive and too late may be the best way to formulate it. The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Diesel unveiled at the latest New York International Auto Show is available exclusively in the Signature Edition at a high price of $ 45,950. It is rare that we start a first test drive talking about price, but in this case, we must.

First test drive of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel: we want to like it

You see, while I was driving to Toronto to drive the Mazda CX-5 Diesel for the first time, the only thing that really made me curious was how Mazda intended to position his diesel. I expected very good performance from the diesel version of the Mazda CX-5. I expected it to be more enjoyable than a GMC Terrain Diesel or a Chevrolet Equinox diesel (more on those two later) and a quick comparison test in the first test drive confirmed it. I had no worries about the vehicle itself, just the market it was about to enter car cover.

Mazda says there are still diesel enthusiasts and they have nowhere to go. They are right about it. If you really wanted a compact diesel SUV, your only options were the aforementioned GM products, which probably did not resonate with diesel fans. Mazda is known for its driving dynamics and the sportiness inherent in its products is more likely to appeal to diesel enthusiasts who also tend to be driving enthusiasts.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel makes sense, but it would have made more sense if the price was more reasonable. As a Signature model, the CX-5 Diesel is fully equipped and includes several additions, including 19-inch wheels, abaci wood, cocoa Napa leather seats, heated and cooled seats, dual-mode air conditioning, the Bose Premium audio system, i-Activsense active safety technology, power-operated seats and, basically, everything you could need in your CX-5.

But that’s $ 45,000, which is over $ 4,000 more than the CX-5 GT. That’s a lot of money for a compact SUV and will probably dissuade many buyers who were waiting to learn more about diesel before making a final decision. Those who will stay are fans of diesel with a budget above average and are willing to spend to enjoy their favorite engine. Just how many of these people there are, I’ll let you guess. Even Mazda does not know. You can say that Mazda will play a waiting game with the CX-5 diesel. They bring it to the market and adjust the supply according to the demand. Now let’s talk about the vehicle itself.

On the road in the Mazda CX-5 Diesel 2019

The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Diesel is powered by a 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D engine producing 168 horsepower and a 290-pound-foot torque. Mazda’s philosophy has always been to try to get the most out of each engine by tweaking each component. The SkyActiv diesel power train is no different. By reducing the weight of the crankshaft by 25% and the weight of the pistons by 25% and making the engine block aluminum compared to the cast iron to save an additional 25 kg, Mazda has developed a diesel engine very efficient which uses a very low compression ratio of 14.4: 1 to get the maximum of every drop of diesel. They also worked to eliminate knocking and make the engine quieter by developing what Mazda calls a natural sound attenuator inserted into the piston head.

The engine uses a sequential turbocharged configuration that uses a small turbocharger offering low-end performance and a larger variable vane turbo as the rpm increases. The new 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D engine has been the subject of many scientific studies and many modifications, but what really matters is how you feel on the road. It’s fast, actually. Chevrolet has in the field and the Equinox. The CX-5 Diesel is as precise and agile as any other CX-5 and, like its brothers, is one of the most connected and sporty compact commercial vehicles on the market.

As for the power, it’s not bad at a standing start, but it misses a little something when we are on the highway. On the other hand, a five-hour drive between Toronto and Montreal confirmed the silence of the engine and cabin. Whatever the version, the CX-5 is as comfortable as it is fun to drive and the CX-5 Diesel is no exception.

This long road also confirmed the fuel economy benefits of the CX-5 Diesel. The average diesel consumption was estimated at 7.1 liters per 100 kilometers, which is always nice to see in a vehicle with nearly 900 liters of cargo capacity. That said, Mazda confirms that it has turned the CX-5 Diesel so that driving pleasure comes first, followed by fuel economy. That means it does not get the same efficiency as a diesel GMC Terrain.

However, it does not matter anymore, because the GMC Terrain Diesel is gone. General Motors confirmed that it was removing the diesel power train from its compact SUVs just days before our Mazda CX-5 Diesel test drive. This means that the latter is currently virtually alone in its segment and is the only diesel option in the compact SUV segment.

Will this result in sales? Not sure. The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Diesel is an excellent vehicle and its fuel economy is impressive, but the rest of the CX-5 range is just as great and efficient. The only tangible benefit of diesel is its 3,500 lb towing capacity, 1,500 pounds more than other CX-5 models. Apart from that, you must really want a diesel. And so, all that remains to be done is to see how many people really want a diesel.