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As mentioned, turbodiesel equipped vehicles possess large dollops of low end torque which will impress the masses, and in practice the initial takeoff from standstill is impressive. However, SkyActiv-D engines behave a little differently than ordinary turbodiesel engines, and instead of a fairly flat but narrow torque curve, Mazda’s cutting edge oil burners have an extended torque curve that peaks early around 2,000rpm and slowly tapers off towards 5,000rpm. In plain English, it means that the power delivery feels more gradual, unlike regular turbodiesels that pull very strongly but for a very short time before having to swap cogs. So there is a tradeoff here, but it doesn’t make SkyActiv-D less powerful than regular turbodiesels, just that the delivery is slightly different, mimicking high-capacity petrol engines instead.

Mazda CX-5 SKYACTIV-D front Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D front quarter

The 2.2 SkyActiv-D turbodiesel engine in the front wheel drive CX-5 and Mazda 6 is a 4-cylinder twin-turbocharged mill that puts out 173PS @ 4,500rpm and 420Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. Both cars come with Mazda’s SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed slushmatic for an effortless drive. Having 6 forward ratios is a good thing, but if the engine redlined at 4,000rpm then 6 ratios would’ve been buzzkill as the narrow powerband would necessitate too many gearchanges. Thankfully, a 5,000rpm redline in the SkyActiv-D engine with 6 well-spaced ratios make for a seamless cruise without much hunting in between gears. And being endowed with diesel torque means we were cruising mostly at 5th or 6th gear most of the time.

Mazda SKYACTIV-D: Clean Diesel

The buzzwords “ECO-FRIENDLY” and “DIESEL” rarely end up in the same sentence when it comes to emissions, but Mazda has upped the ante and have proven that the SKYACTIV name isn’t just a fancy moniker to sell more cars. One of the key goals of the SkyActiv program in engine development is to create clean-burning engines that are powerful yet leave as little carbon footprint as possible. In this respect, and encouraged by the countrywide availability of clean diesel (Euro 5), Mazda decided to jump head on and be the first to market its highly sophisticated turbodiesel engines in its range of passenger vehicles, besting the most stringent worldwide industry standards for diesel emissions by a fair margin, effectively raising the bar a few notches above everybody else.

Their engines are so clean that they meet and exceed Euro 5 emissions standards while fulfilling the tough Euro 6 standard without resorting to expensive treatment solutions to periodically clean them out. With SkyActiv-D, Mazda has proven without a doubt that they have achieved a level of emissions reduction that all others have thought impossible until now. Euro 5 diesel and SkyActiv-D would surely go into history books to slowly but surely create a paradigm shift away from the notion of smelly, chatty clunkers when it comes to diesel-powered vehicles.

Mazda SKYACTIV-D: All The Advantages, None of the Drawbacks

So at the end of the day, does the new SkyActiv-D launch signal a new dawn for an old fuel? Diesel fuel has been around for decades, but it is only now that people start to appreciate its huge potential because SkyActiv-D by Mazda promises many superlatives minus the usual problems associated with diesel such as smog generation, expensive after-treatments and astronomical reparation costs. Mazda has yet again delivered the next level of refinement without taking the easy way out and we the consumers are the eventual winners again. Mazda has indicated during the press conference that this is just the first chapter of the SkyActiv-D story, with many more chapters undergoing development at the time of writing.

We at Allcarschannel.com congratulate Mazda on their latest achievement and can’t wait for the next exciting SyActiv-D model to join the party.

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Text and images: Greg Yang