Speaking with representatives from Mazda at the Motor Press Guild’s annual Track Day event last night, a venue where auto journalists and industry professionals are able to congregate en masse, we received confirmation that the Los Angeles Auto Show be a busy place for our favorite zoom-zoom brand. At dinner, we were told that the 2014 Mazda6 midsize sedan, which we recently had the opportunity to drive in France, would be making its North American debut in the City of Angels.
That news isn’t particularly earth-shattering.
But when we pressed Mazda’s PR staff about the fun-to-drive Mazda CX-5′s 155 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine being a bit on the weak side, we were told to “wait ’til L.A.” for a fix to our biggest criticism of the crossover. No further details were provided beyond the fact that some sort of engine upgrade would be in order.
Mazda has two obvious options available to it. The first—and most widely speculated to be used—is the SkyActiv-D diesel engine already on sale in overseas Mazda CX-5s. With a 2.2-liter diesel engine, the SkyActiv-D CX-5 develops 150 horsepower, down slightly from the gas-powered version. But it packs a lot more brute grunt—torque—310 pound-feet, to be exact, which compares very favorable to the gas engine’s 148 pound-feet.
It should also be able to deliver considerably better fuel economy than the gas engine’s 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway when paired to a standard six-speed manual along with front-wheel drive.
The other option would be to equip it with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder SkyActiv engine that just made its debut in the 2014 Mazda6. It makes 189 horsepower, which would give it a slight advantage to the Honda CR-V’s 185 horsepower and put it right in the middle of the pack for compact crossover engine options.
The SkyActiv engine series is Mazda’s latest engine lineup, focused on lightweight construction and efficient power delivery. Debuting in the 2012 Mazda3, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder version has made marked differences in the car’s fuel economy versus the outgoing 2.0-liter engine. In a bigger crossover, it’s made a remarkably fun crossover somewhat sluggish.
We’ll see how Mazda fixes up the CX-5 when the 2014 model makes its debut next month.