Mazda's long-ago announced (and much-delayed) diesel engine for its CX-5 compact SUV might finally be ready to hit showrooms, given the appearance of its EPA fuel economy ratings (tip of the hat to Autoblog for alerting us to it). Unfortunately, the numbers aren't significantly improved over the CX-5's gas engines — which may be why this news wasn't accompanied by a trumpets-blaring press release from the automaker.
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With front-wheel drive, the turbo-diesel 2.2-liter four-cylinder is rated at 28/31/29 mpg city/highway/combined, while adding all-wheel drive causes a 1-mpg drop across the board to 27/30/28 mpg. Gas versions of the Mazda CX-5, powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and running on regular, are rated at 25/31/28 and 24/30/26 mpg for front- and all-wheel drive, respectively.
While city fuel economy is noticeably improved in the diesel version of the CX-5, highway fuel economy sees just a slight increase. If you're considering the diesel as a potential cost-saver, keep in mind the type of driving you'll be doing in the CX-5 as well as the relative costs of diesel and regular gas in your area.
The real difference is in the torque ratings. The gas engine produces 186 pounds-feet and, while we don't yet have official ratings for the diesel in the U.S., it's rated at 310 pounds-feet in foreign markets. Mazda has told us in the past that this is likely to be close to its U.S. rating. That extra torque should give the diesel CX-5 a little better pull off the line and make it a bit more useful for towing and hauling.
The only competing diesel compact SUVs available right now are the Chevrolet Equinox and its powertrain twin, the GMC Terrain. Those models have turbo-diesel 1.6-liter four-cylinders rated at 28/39/32 and 28/38/32 mpg for front- and all-wheel drive, respectively. Those are significantly better highway ratings and very similar city ratings. If fuel economy is your only deciding factor, the Mazda CX-5 diesel might not cut it.
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