Demand for diesel vehicles has been steadily declining in recent years following the Dieselgate scandal. While oilers have never been especially popular in North America, diesel-powered cars and SUVs were a real hit in Europe some five years ago. Last month, however, sales of electric vehicles surpassed deliveries of diesel models on the Old Continent for the first time in history but that doesn’t mean the automakers are going to abandon that technology. In fact, Mazda says it will keep it available as long as the customers want it.
Last year, the Japanese company surprised the industry by launching two new inline-six-cylinder engines, including a 3.3-liter turbocharged diesel. In Europe, it is available for the CX-60 where its peak output is up to 251 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque in mild-hybrid form. Those are solid numbers for a non-premium mid-size crossover in Europe and Mazda recently said it will keep the diesel offering available if there’s enough demand for it.
Gallery: 2022 Mazda CX-60 studio photos
“If customers want diesel, as long as we can comply with the emissions regulations in an efficient manner, as long as we can do that we would like to continue providing diesels,” Mazda CX-90 program manager Mitsuru Wakiie is quoted by CarExpert. “Demand for diesel is really weakening these days, so the need for a diesel engine may not expand so that’s why we provide this unit in an efficient manner to the markets that want the diesel engine, like Japan, Australia.”
The CX-90 is another new Mazda SUV that is sold with the 3.3-liter turbodiesel in Australia. In the United States, that three-row family hauler is powered by a choice of either a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain or a 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-six gas engine. The latter has an output of 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, making the CX-90 Mazda’s most powerful production model in history. Both the CX-60 and CX-90 use the same Large Product Group rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive car platform designed for a longitudinal engine layout.
Historically, diesel engines gained popularity due to their fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions compared to their gasoline counterparts. However, various factors have contributed to a sharp shift in consumer preferences. According to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), in 2017, diesel cars accounted for approximately 44 percent of the new car market share in the European Union. However, by 2021, this figure plummeted to around 25 percent. June this year saw another major drop to just 13.4 percent.