Mazda6 Diesel Delayed Yet Again, But There’s a Silver Lining

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 19th, 2014

2014 Mazda6 Diesel Sedan

It’s been almost 2 years since the new Mazda6 was overhauled with its SkyActiv suite and award-winning Kodo design language. However, Mazda had hoped to launch a diesel-powered version of their sedan alongside the conventional Mazda6. There aren’t too many really well-received diesel sedans in the US, and Mazda thinks they can compete with Volkswagen’s Passat TDI Clean Diesel for a piece of the pie.

Unfortunately, the Mazda6’s diesel engine has been inexplicably delayed twice in 2013, then was given an “indefinite” launch date at the beginning of 2014.

After a certain amount of time it becomes hard to believe that Mazda is sincere about a diesel Mazda6 for NA, but a new report from TTAC sheds some light on what’s going on behind the scenes.

Apparently, Mazda has been stuck figuring out a way to offer a diesel engine that meets the strict and varied diesel emissions regulations of all 50 states, including California. The problem is that Mazda is trying to avoid the use of an after-treatment to reduce the engine’s emissions, but so far that’s been impossible to do.

Here’s a more detailed version of what happened:

The original diesel engine that Mazda was ready to launch a few months after the Mazda6’s launch wasn’t clean enough for the EPA. No problem – Mazda just re-tuned the engine in order to meet the emissions standards.

Simple enough, right?

Not quite. The cleaner engine gave up too much “Mazda-appropriate driving performance,” and the engine was deemed too weak to put in the sedan given consumer expectations.

So, after a year and a half of failed attempts, Mazda is back to the drawing board and reconsidering the use of an after-treatment emissions system. We’re not really sure what all the resistance was for anyways, since nearly every other diesel in the US uses a diesel exhaust fluid or some other after-treatment system.

If the Mazda6 diesel is successful, then the Japanese automaker will likely attempt to launch diesel versions of their other SkyActiv models too, such as the Mazda CX-5 or Mazda3… Maybe even the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

In the end, even though this may seem like just one more hold up in a long line of delays, we think this one is different. For starters, Mazda is no longer quoting “indefinite” as the launch date. The new report tells us to expect a SkyActiv-D Mazda6 in approximately one year’s time as a 2016 model year. Incidentally, this may coincide with a mid-cycle refresh that Japanese automaker is planning for the 6, at least if the folks over at Automotive News can be believed.

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