Mazda CX-9 may get a diesel engine

2010-mazda-cx9-i001 The next-generation Mazda CX-9, set to arrive in late 2013 as a 2014 model, could become the largest vehicle to feature the brand's SKYACTIV-D engine.

The current 3.7L gasoline V6 produces 273 horsepower, while the new 2.2L 4-cylinder diesel generates a modest 173 horsepower along with a substantial 310 lb-ft of torque, making it a great alternative for a large crossover like the CX-9.

For the plan to work, the 4,500-lb vehicle (in AWD trim) will have to go on a diet. Mazda apparently has an ''aggressive lightening strategy'' that could make the CX-9 several hundred pounds lighter.

Overseas, the SKYACTIV-D engine is already available with the smaller CX-5 and might eventually find its way under the hood of the Mazda6's replacement. The Japanese automaker confirmed that some of its models in North America will offer the diesel option, but it wouldn't say which ones. The leading contenders, however, seem to be the CX-5 and next-generation Mazda6.