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The next-generation Mazda CX-9 SUV will lose its V6 petrol engine, likely in favour of a more efficient turbocharged four-cylinder.

Mazda global head of sales and marketing, Masahiro Moro, indicated to CarAdvice at the New York auto show that Mazda is in a transition period away from the Ford-sourced V6 seen in the current CX-9.

“We stopped production of our own V6 in the late 1990s. We have used Ford V6 [up until today, and that engine is still used in the CX-9]. Since then everybody is putting in a downsized turbocharged solution.”

Moro suggested the Japanese brand may follow suit in dropping the six-cylinder in favour of a four-cylinder turbo for the next-generation model, which is expected to be launched by 2016.

“I think that turbocharging technology has improved a lot,” he said of the thirsty 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo that was used in the now defunct Mazda CX-7.


“But obviously a question is whether we put in two more cylinders or use turbocharge, which is cost-effective and [offers] better performance. That’s always a good question for engineers.

“If I ask Mr Hitomi, our top guy of powertrains at Mazda, he believes the downsizing turbo solution costs more. But real downsizing means six-cylinder to four-cylinder turbo could make sense from a cost point of view. But four-cylinder to four-cylinder doesn’t make sense,” he said of reducing engine capacity and power.

“You can make it bigger displacement with four-cylinder, that is cost-friendly. As long as you can get better fuel economy.”

Obvious alternatives include a conventional turbo diesel drivetrain, as many competitor cars such as the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Territory and Holden Captiva offer.

But Moro said that due to the fact the CX-9 is most popular in the US and customers there choose petrol almost by default, a diesel CX-9 is unlikely.


“With the CX-9 the main market is the USA. In general, these customers don’t have a strong preference towards diesel engines. So probably the main engine should be a petrol engine in my opinion.”

Moro said a diesel wasn’t ruled out, and indeed it would be more likely than a hybrid powertrain, as competing vehicles like the Nissan Pathfinder hybrid and Toyota Kluger [Highlander] hybrid. Neither of those cars are currently sold in Australia, though the Nissan is expected to arrive this year.

“A fuel-efficient petrol engine or diesel engine [would be preferable] where it’s possible. Hybrid is not really a high priority for us other than in the Japanese market,” he said. “It depends on the driving condition of each market. In Australia and the USA, people drive longer mileage, on the highway for example. I think real-world fuel economy, for example, a diesel engine would be better.”

Despite the axe looming over the current V6 and plenty of alternatives being investigated, Mazda won’t be moving away from six-cylinder engines altogether, according to Moro.

“As Mazda is moving up towards premium territory, at some point in time we will need a six-cylinder,” he said. “It’s too early, we don’t have a car yet. But we are collecting advice as to V6 or straight six.”

  • F1orce

    Why did Mazda kill the CX-7 ??

    It was an extremely nicely styled SUV

    • Jon

      I think it was plagued by reliability issues.. (may be wrong though)

      • Matt

        My mum’s 2010 model has been fine, no issues with it at all apart from the very average fuel consumption.

        • Zaccy16

          the diesel had even more torque than the turbo petrol and was very economical but was overlooked because it was only a manual

      • CX7WillComeBackOneDay

        (may be wrong though) – yes you are. I have a 2011 and never had any issues with it, although I agree it is thirsty but pulls out a decent performance.

      • Ash

        yep, ford turbo

      • matt

        plagued? erm no, i think it had a problem with heat shielding not protecting an oil line somewhere causing the turbo to pack it in, but they were all recalled and fixed, i know of one with 150k on it no dramas (turbo petrol version)

    • zahmad

      Too damn thirsty….

      • Ash

        that too

      • matt

        if you went the turbo one? there was a NA and manual diesel too remember, thirst argumant is irrelevant…. pretty sure it was canned due to 1 being an old model anyway and 2 … it comes across as a car that would cost 3 times more to build than the Cx5.

    • Greg

      They dropped the CX-7 because the CX-5 does everything better.

      • Henry Toussaint

        The CX-5 is also uglier.

    • Gavin Varitech

      They didn’t really. The CX-5 is just the 2nd gen/Kodo/Skyactiv CX-7. When they rolled out the next generation they changed the name. CX-5 makes more sense to consumers.

    • MisterZed

      I’d like to know why Mazda killed the Tribute.

      • Luis

        Mazda its rolling primarily on its own. It sill owns part of the Factory that they share with ford. The Tribute was just a rebadged Escape with some minor tweaks. The Tribute did not sell. The CX5 essentially took over it.

  • Ash

    A 4 cylinder engine turbo or not turbo will not work with a CX-9 sized SUV, turbo may be OK for the first few years of new ownership, but in the end the majority of small engine turbo-ed (4 cyl) give turbo problems, they are unreliable.
    Mazda will have to install a 6 cylinder engine in any new CX-9.
    As many know Mazda wont use anything Ford (engines) by 2016…their divorce will be almost final then, well apart from Ranger/BT-50 made in Thailand.

    • Rocket

      Time will tell on the modern turbo engines if they offer longevity. Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar XF use the 2 litre Ecoboost engine and would be a good option for the CX9. Interesting Mazda is now talking up new turbo technology after they have invested so heavily in their non turbo Skyactiv engine range.

      • Ash

        Mazda will no longer use ford product, so why suggest ecoboost

      • Gavin Varitech

        The Skyactiv-D engine is a turbo.

    • Trickster

      I agree that 4cyl turbo petrol won’t work in a CX9 sized/heavy car.

      We have a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel (3.0l turbo with 8 speed auto) and Ford Mondeo Ecoboost (2.0l turbo petrol). Prior to the Jeep I had a Skoda Octavia RS Turbo Diesel Wagon so I’ve had good experience with the latest turbo petrol and diesel motors.

      The Ecoboost motor doesn’t have the torque to push a 2+ tonne SUV along, it’s OK in the Mondeo at 1.6t but even then the torque isn’t that strong until higher revs. A 2.0l or larger turbo diesel would be fine for 2+ tonne but really you want 2.5l or more. Plus the boost on the 2.0l turbo petrol would need to be really turned up to propel the SUV again to the detriment of fuel economy and reliability.

  • rick

    no diesel no buy.

    • Jester

      no care.

    • Rick

      No diesel ? I think that could be a problem in this market . But, given they are more concerned with the US …….. Chances are they , like most other manufacturers don’t really care about a few hundred sales in Australia .
      Much like dodge and Chrysler .

      • rick

        If they don’t care about us Aussies then why should we care about them?
        Besides, Mazda having suffered losses in the $billions$, should make their product as appealing as possible to as many as possible.

        • John

          You should try taking things less personally. This isn’t about companies ‘not caring about Australia’ – it’s more about how the business case stacks up in terms of total global sales. As they see it, a diesel engine suitable for the CX-9 is likely not worth the investment (versus revenues), due to the low sales they’ll probably achieve from it globally and the fact that they don’t have/can’t sustain any other models in which they could utilise such an engine and thereby spread the costs. But if you do choose to stick to that fallacious notion that they ‘don’t care about Australia’, you’re free to go ahead and buy from a brand that ‘puts Australia at the top of their list of priorities’, though I’m sure you’ll find your choices to be rather limited.

        • Rick

          I agree they should make a diesel , surely the diesel in the cx5 wouldn’t be that hard ?

      • suomi95

        The CX9 is aimed at North America….where diesel take up is very low….rather than Europe where Mazda is a very small player. This being a very thirsty product it is poorly suited to anywhere else.

    • Luis

      Rick Americans simply do not buy Diesel cars. Mazda is a smaller you can say almost niche company. Putting a diesel will amount to few sales. There are also stricter regulations that are due to arrive in 2019. Not even Toyota wants to mess with this. Rick it simply will cost Mazda too much to invest in this for a few sales here and abroad.

  • Greg

    First, the CX-9 needs to lose a lot of weight–somewhere around 200 kg. It is too heavy for any of Mazda’s current 4-cylinders to move adequately, and SkyActiv engines are not designed for turbo. Their engine manufacturing process has additional stations specifically for machining V6s, and 2.5L is as large as they can go on the 4-cylinder engines. If they intend to just drop the V6, their manufacturing plan was a mistake.

    The 2.2L diesel is an ideal fit for the CX-9, but they need a gasoline engine, too. Either they continue using a V6–which their manufacturing process is designed for–or they need to design a whole new 4-cylinder engine that can either be boosted or that is larger than their current limit. Keeping a V6 seems the simplest solution, so that’s what I expect to see.

    • Luis

      They can also drop that same V6 in the Mazda 6. With technology these days they can make a smaller output V6 say a 3.0 sky active that should fit in the 6’s Engine Bay.

  • drivingsofas

    Maybe the folks in the US ( main market )were city dwellers rather than off road bush bashing pros for the drop in V6. No need for all that grunt and workpower. Time to get the engineers to come up with cylinder deactivation at some point then put the V6 back in. Everyone needs some green /eco friendly credentials to back in the game.

  • marc

    Stop complaining about fuel consumption on any 2 tonne petrol vehicle; Its going to suck the juice, regardless of engine size.

  • JD

    Every time a see a CX9, i think of a whale

  • Smart US

    CX7 t4 was a joke drinking more than Tery i6… good luck – CX9 with petrol t4. Diesel t4 would have problems

    • matt

      why would the diesel t4 have problems? it does not seem to in the other cars they have (anymore anyway, seems to have been fixed in time for the 6’s release). The old DSI turbo was designed as a performance engine first and foremost, then they coupled it to an auto… in a heavy SUV, yes it drank fuel. Im more interested in the fact they seem to be actually talking about an I6…. a modern I6 built around the skyactive idea? sounds alright to me, new generation MX-6 built on the new MX-5 platform with a lets say 3.0 I6 and weighing around what the toyota 86 weighs? since they have canned the idea of a new RX-7 using the new 16X rotary, i think they should investigate the idea :) probably dreaming though.

  • David Rome

    Having a huge family SUV you would want plenty of horsepower to propeller it when loaded so a more modern V6 and a diet might help the CX9. Option of a diesel in countries that would embrace it may see sales increase especially in Europe and here in Oz. Mazda have done well with the CX9 against more modern and fuel efficient options in the market and Kudo design looks great….a model that needs a good fresh up and nice to see that it will stay….looking forward to seeing what Mazda does with it.

    • dave

      Anybody who buys a Mazda diesel needs his/her head read — just Google “Mazda dpf problems” (diesel particulate filter). According to the British Automobile Association, this “self maintaining” exhaust gas soot filter has an average life of only 100,00-km/ When it blocks with ash )not soot) it will self destruct, and Mazda will demand $8000-10,000 to replace it. They will also blame owners for the failure, insisting that they have not driven the vehicle correctly or used the “wrong oil”. No wonder Mazda is reluctant to sell diesels in the US, which has a far more litigious culture than Australia or the UK.

      • David Rome

        Obviously you haven’t goggled other makes like Subaru, Honda and Nissan as they also have issues….

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  • Ivn

    All they need to do is to implement the skyactiv tech into their V6.

  • Andrew

    I’ve just seen a Nissan station wagon with I was told a 2.5liter V6 turbo. Till seeing the badge I thought I was looking at a Volvo S/w, twin sunroofs and all. What model is it? Year? Available? Any further info would be great. Thanks.