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Mazda confirms diesel for CX-7

Diesel to come: Mazda's popular CX-7 could offer diesle power within 12 months.

Mazda reveals there's diesel in CX-7's future, as the US embraces compression ignition

22 Nov 2007

By DAVID HASSALL in FRANCE

MAZDA Motor Europe president James Muir has let the cat out of the bag – there will be a diesel version of the Mazda CX-7, and it will come with a vital automatic transmission option.

However, we will have to be patient because both the engine and transmission are still some time away – though exactly how long seems to be a matter of conjecture.

A turbo-diesel CX-7 will be launched in Europe by the middle of 2008, said Mr Muir.

GoAuto understands it will be powered by a new aluminium-block 2.2-litre engine developing 135kW of power and 400Nm of torque compared with Mazda’s current 105kW/360Nm 2.0-litre unit.

This new direct piezo-injection engine uses a twin-stage turbocharger to improve performance, economy and emissions, and was previewed at last month’s Tokyo motor show in 2.0-litre form.

22 center imageMr Muir (left) said the auto transmission – which we believe will be a six-speed unit – will follow “within 12 months”, so it is unlikely to arrive in Australia before mid-2009.

One Mazda insider, however, said it is unlikely to be before 2010, while Mazda6 program manager Ryuichi Umeshita told us that it is still only in the planning stage. Mr Umeshita said that Mazda had limited resources and that the focus at this stage was environmental engines, including new-generation diesels and petrol engines.

The new six-speed transmission, as well as the more powerful 2.2-litre diesel engine, will also be suitable for both the Mazda6 and Mazda3 Diesel models, which currently sell in small numbers here because they are restricted to a manual gearbox.

Although the next-generation Mazda6 will be released in Australia next March, Mazda Australia officials told GoAuto that the Diesel version will not arrive until the second half of 2008, initially with a six-speed manual gearbox only.

We believe it is being delayed to facilitate getting the new 2.2-litre engine rather than the 2.0-litre version that will soon be launched in Europe.

Mr Muir said that Mazda’s all-new ‘3’ small car range will be launched in around March or April of 2009.

This suggests that the diesel version could be released in Australia by the end of 2009, possibly as both a manual and auto.

Speaking to Australian journalists at this week’s international introduction of the new Mazda6, Mr Muir said that engineers in Japan are developing the new auto to suit the torquey characteristics of a turbo-diesel engine.

This all seems to be good news for Mazda Australia, which has been crying out for an auto but has not previously had the all-important support of Europe (where autos are not as popular) or the United States (where diesels have yet to make an impact).

But Mr Muir told us that diesels would soon be big in the US, as well as Australia, so it was essential for Mazda to develop the automatic transmission.

In Europe, he expects to sell about 35,000 CX-7s a year and believes that having an auto will account for a further 10,000 sales.

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