We hoped, crossed our fingers, and maybe even prayed, and the benevolent product planners at Mazda listened. The all-new 2014 Mazda 6 sedan will offer an optional diesel engine when it goes on sale here later this year.
Mazda showed off its thrifty new diesel engine in foreign versions of the new 6 sedan, but until now it wasn't certain whether the engine would be offered stateside. The automaker promised earlier this year it would eventually install the SkyActiv-D 2.2 diesel in an American vehicle without naming any particular car.
Automakers don't often bring diesel engines to our market for a variety of reasons, among them Americans' traditional distaste for compression-ignition engines. But Mazda executives publicly committed to selling more diesel engines (as well as more upscale models) in the U.S., and doing so should help Mazda even further bolster its fuel-economy credentials.
While Mazda hasn't confirmed outputs for the 2.2-liter turbodiesel inline-four in the U.S., the European 6 extracts 173 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque from that engine. It will be offered with a choice between manual and automatic transmissions with six forward speeds -- but don't expect to see many stick-shift 6s on our shores. Fuel economy should easily meet or beat the 40 mpg mark on the highway. The diesel model can reportedly hit 62mph in as little as 7.8 seconds, so it's no slouch.
The standard engine in our Mazda 6 will be a 2.5-liter gasoline inline-four with 184 hp and 185 lb-ft. Though there are no official fuel-economy predictions yet, Mazda expects this engine to return "class leading" highway figures, probably 37 mpg or higher.
The gasoline-fed 2014 Mazda 6 goes on sale in January 2013, with the diesel version following in the second half of the year. Mazda will announce pricing for both versions of the car later this year.