Mazda is launching its new CX-90 with a diesel option, even as this engine type gradually disappears from large crossovers – and it plans to keep diesels in its line-up for the foreseeable future.
“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,” said Mazda CX-90 program manager Mitsuru Wakiie through a translator.
While Mazda has invested a significant amount in its new inline six-cylinder engines, one of which is a 3.3-litre turbo-diesel, there is a limit to its investment.
The company wouldn’t commit, for example, to upgrading the diesel-powered CX-90 to offer a greater braked towing capacity – despite having done so for the petrol model to satisfy the US market.
“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,” said Wakiie-san.
“Compared to the demand for the towing capacity for the petrol version, we didn’t receive as strong a request for the towing capacity for the diesel and that is the reason.”
Mazda says the petrol CX-90 has an additional cooling system to support the extra strain of towing a heavy load.
Diesel popularity was red-hot in Europe for years but is cooling quickly, while oilers have long been niche players in the North American market – Mazda sold a diesel-powered CX-5 in the US for a single model year before dropping it due to low demand, and won’t offer the diesel CX-90 there.
In Australia, diesel-powered passenger cars may have dwindled in popularity, but this fuel type remains popular in body-on-frame SUVs and utes.
Mazda’s BT-50, for example, mirrors most of its rivals in exclusively offering diesel power.
Outside the BT-50, Mazda offers the option of a diesel engine in the CX-5 and CX-8 crossovers, but it has otherwise thinned its ranks of oilers.
In Japan, however, there’s a bevy of diesel options at Mazda showrooms.