By Asian Journal Auto Editor

After a long wait, Mazda’s diesel engined version of its popular CX-5 Mid -sized crossover is finally here. Although the CX-5 was just updated two years ago, the addition of the diesel motor has been long awaited. Offering stellar fuel economy, massive torque and reliability, the new Diesel engine option brings a new dimension to the CX-5. First up, the Mazda CX-5 is one of the better-looking SUVs out there, with sleek, slinky styling, a real sporty, fun to drive nature, and awesome looking cabins. With the new Signature line of luxury equipped Mazda vehicles, the brand is rapidly moving into the niches occupied by BMW Lexus and Acura Meanwhile the Mazda is hoping its new Skyactiv-Diesel engine will add even more of a fillip as fuel consumption is rated at (L/100 km): 9.8 city/7.4 Hwy.

The normally aspirated CX-5 arrives in the base 2.0L four-cylinder, or the 2.5L four-cylinder with 187 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque. The new diesel unit option on the top tier Signature model includes a SKYACTIV-G 2.2L diesel engine with 168 horsepower via twin sequential turbochargers, hooked up to a SKYACTIV-AT 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and Drive Selection switch.

We tested top line Signature Edition CX-5 MRSP priced at $40,950. Our Soul Red Crystal Metallic tester came with the diesel engine which is a hefty $5,450 premium. The final tally came to $48,295 including freight and PDF.

Options on our tester were extensive, with as follows: 19″ alloy wheels (gunmetal), i-ACTIVSENSE safety technology, wide-angle rearview camera, LED headlights with lighting signature, i-ACTIV AWD, 7” colour touchscreen display with Mazda Connect, HMI Commander, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, 2 front-seat USB ports, rear seat center armrest with 2 USB ports, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (outboard), heated steering wheel, power rear liftgate, glass moonroof, automatic dual-zone climate control, advanced keyless entry (proximity and ignition), windshield-projected Active Driving Display, Bose® Premium Sound System with 10-speakers with Centerpoint® 2 Surround Technology and AudioPilot® 2, SiriusXM Traffic Plus and Travel Link® services, Homelink® wireless control system, 7″ digital LCD gauge display, Nappa leather upholstery, Abachi wood trim, premium cross stitching detail on steering wheel, and premium black interior roof lining.

Interior wise, the Signature models upscale interior featured a high quality fit and finish. Plastics and textiles are superbly executed while ergonomics are driver focused. I like the neat, unfussy, dash, instrument layout and controls. The cabin layout provides good headroom and legroom. The CX-5 has a typical Mazda sporty look and feel, with sharp styling, comfortable seats and a high driving position dominate, the available 40/20/40 rear seat folds at the push of a button. The clever tri- split seat allows you to seat two people and still carry a long load. Cargo capacity is 966 liters (34.1 cu. ft.) behind the rear seats and 1,852 liters (65.4 cu. ft.) with the rear seats folded.

On the road, the 2.2-litre, four-cylinder Skyactiv-D turbodiesel engine pumps out 168 horsepower and, more importantly, 290 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800 rpm. Traction control is standard along with Dynamics Stability Control. The twin sequential dual turbochargers ensure there is plenty of acceleration and a wide power band of usable torque, especially in the mid – range. There is wonderfully linear, quick and crisp acceleration with minimal turbo lag.  Occupants are also well insulated from rough rods thanks to the well- sorted suspension, with little lateral body roll. Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system also adds refinement to the performance with sharpened handling adding some downforce on the front tires. During cornering, keeping understeer under manners. The all-wheel-drive system offer superb traction by the way.  Apart from a much-muted diesel clatter at idle there is very little to let you know the diesel engine is under the hood. There is no smoke or even a little diesel glow plug light to remind you of what you are driving.

Not much negative to say, initial acceleration is a tad slower than the normal gas engined versions as the low end kick torque kicks in, and of course the diesel is hefty priced option at $5000 extra. But is still worth the dosh if you intend to hold on to the CX-5 for a while. Mazda have a winner on their hands here as they have chosen the ideal sized vehicle in the CX-5 to add the diesel option too with its sporty dynamics and excellent packaging. A superb offering and highly recommended, if fuel economy and sport driving is what you are after.

2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature priced at $40,950. Diesel engine option tester $48,295 including freight and PDF. More info