Mazda CX-5 Diesel already seeing discounts as high as $10,000

Is this a bellwether for the future of Mazda's diesel engine in the US?

With or without the diesel engine, the Mazda CX-5 offers sharp styling and great driving dynamics.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

It took Mazda nearly a decade to bring its diesel-powered CX-5 crossover to the US. And now that it's here, well, the CX-5 Diesel is kind of a let-down. Sure, the CX-5 itself is a wonderful compact SUV -- one of the best-driving vehicles in its class, with a premium interior that punches well above what you might expect in this segment. But with a starting price north of $40,000, not to mention unimpressive fuel economy, the diesel option doesn't appear to have been worth the wait.

That's a guess based on the fact that the diesel CX-5 is already being offered at substantial discounts just a few months after going on sale. According to a CarsDirect report on Thursday, some dealers are offering as much as $10,000 off the starting MSRP, taking the original $42,045 price tag down to just $32,045. That's a full $6,000 less than a top-trim 2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature with the gas-fed, 2.5-liter turbo engine.

Right now, Mazda only has information for the 2019 model year CX-5 with the diesel engine. You can't build and price a 2020 model on the company's website, and there is currently no EPA fuel economy data for a 2020 CX-5 with the diesel option. Whether or not this means the SUV's future is in jeopardy is unclear. "At this time we don't have information to share on a 2020 CX-5 Skyactiv-D," a Mazda spokesperson told Roadshow.

Will Mazda continue to sell diesels in the US much longer?

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Furthermore, this doesn't give us much hope for this engine being offered in the Mazda6. The Japanese automaker has been talking up its diesel-powered sedan for almost as long as the CX-5, and a landing page for the Mazda6 Skyactiv-D is still live on Mazda's website.

At the time of launch, Mazda expected the diesel engine to account for only about 10% of all CX-5 sales. We don't have an official sales breakdown, but it stands to reason that even this number may have been optimistic -- especially in light of these recent discounts.

The 2019 Mazda CX-5's 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D engine is rated to produce 168 horsepower and a healthy 290 pound-feet of torque. With front-wheel drive, the EPA estimates fuel economy numbers of 28 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. For comparison, a Mazda CX-5 with the 2.5-liter turbo engine is estimated to return 23 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined with front-wheel drive.

In our in-depth review of the diesel-fed Mazda CX-5, we found it to be as enjoyable to drive as any other version of the crossover. We had no troubles hitting the EPA fuel economy estimates, and appreciated the added low-end torque of the diesel engine. Unfortunately, we ultimately deemed the CX-5 Skyactiv-D to not exactly be a worthwhile upgrade, especially given its hefty price tag.

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Originally published Jan. 17, 11:00 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:32 p.m.: Adds comment from Mazda representative.