• Mar 3rd 2008 at 7:58PM
  • 24

Click above for more high-res shots of the Mazda2 sedan

As Mazda watches the North American auto market become more like the European market, we just may see the Mazda2 itself on our shores, in addition to the Ford Fiesta. And there is a good chance it may arrive with a diesel powerplant. These revelations spilled from the mouth of Jim O'Sullivan, president of Mazda North American, while sharing sandwiches with reporters over lunch in Detroit.

The Mazda2 four-door, introduced in Geneva last year, has been a hot seller overseas. The three-door Mazda2, set to debut at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show tomorrow, is expected to be just as well received. O'Sullivan rightfully pointed out that the passenger car market in the United States is showing signs of evolving. Smaller cars are becoming more widespread and accepted (witness the 20,000 pre-orders for the Smart fortwo), and the compact Mazda3 has historically sold very well. While we welcome a Mazda2 in gas or diesel trim, bring us a Mazdaspeed2 like this, and if it is anything like the Mazdaspeed3, we'll be first in line.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Diesel, diesel, diesel, doesn't anyone get that diesels are not going to be a big thing here?

      Between the increased price, newly mandated emissions, and rampant use of substandard fuel everywhere but CA, they just don't make a ton of sense in this country.

      Anyone tell me how someone in the areas of the midwest where you can't buy less than B11 is going to feel when their car won't start in freezing temps? They going to go out to their car and start changing fuel filters because the bio has gelled and won't move through the filter?

      On top of that, the diesel particulate filter requires lots of extra fuel to burn off the large particles coming from the relatively dirty burn process and that makes around town fuel economy nearly even with gas engines.

      Couple that with 50+ cents a gallon higher price and you've just destroyed any reason to buy a diesel vehicle unless you need the extra capacity for towing, which is the one place where they still outshine gas engines with power and fuel economy.
        • 7 Years Ago
        -increased price. most OEM's understand that unless the diesel option is within about 1-2K of the same sized gas engine it won't sell well. they can do this.
        -emissions. OEM's are doing this too. i've heard honda has a turbodiesel either in testing or soon available that meets 50 state without urea aftertreatment. M-B is making 50 state engines now. i saw a dodge 3/4 ton with a bluetec badge on it yesterday. VW is later this year. it is happening.
        -substandard fuel. you know that if a fuel station is selling substandard fuel it's your job as the consumer to report them, right? where is your proof? if you heard a buddy's buddy got a bad batch of diesel from the exxon last week, we'll need more than that.
        -B11. i'm guessing you meant B10. the fuel refiners anticipate the temperature and adjust the fuel they blend. you have obviously never driven a diesel vehicle. you know instantly when you've just bought your first tank of winter diesel in the fall. less smoke, less power. also, i think biodiesel is less likely to gel than WVO as it is closer to petrol diesel than WVO. yes, bio has some longer chains in it but 10% should be ok. again, go to a reputable fuel station with high volume and you're ok.
        -extra fuel, dirty burn, particulate trap. the particulate trap is not constantly being burned off. it stores the soot until, at least in part, backpressure triggers a burn off. the dirty burn isn't quite so dirty anymore. common rail injection and electronic injectors allow smaller multiple injections to control knock, help some with NOx and soot. the amount of fuel needed for a burnoff is not excessive. the trap needs to be raised to a certain temp (1100F maybe?) and the soot is oxidized. if you are crusing down the highway anyhow the trap is likely 500-750F so getting it just to 1100 won't be much more fuel.
        -higher price. yep, it costs more. if the demand for diesel continues to increase and the demand for gas stays the same or increases less than projected the fuel companies will want that extra sales and will increase diesel production. the price of diesel will level off once the fuel companies see the market and build capacity.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Bad diesel in middle America is an epidemic, not a one off at a cheap filling station (though I have found that the big name stations are much better). Customers that are not savy to these engines will fill up with whatever is available and find out the issues later. It doesn't take long for bad word of mouth to destroy the rep of the engine or company (see GM's attempts at diesel in the 80s). Reporting individual stations doesn't stop the concerns from occuring to you before they're reported, and it is up to the government to step in and do something with these reports. There may be minimum levels of quality by law but there's nearly no enforcement of those levels of quality, it must be too expensive. Therefore the consumer is left in the lurch.

        I did mean B11, corn growing state governments are giving tax breaks to filling stations to have B11 in the tanks, Western IL and Eastern Iowa are plagued by it. If you don't think high concentration of bio gels quickly, go buy some and stick it in the freezer for a few hours, the crystalization point is as high as 20 degrees in some of the fuel samples I've had sent in, meaning gel point is not too far away, maybe it doesn't affect and open system until a much lower temp, but a system with a 4 micron fuel filter doesn't flow it very well.

        As far as aftertreatment systems, of course they don't burn fuel constantly, however, city type of driving increases the occurance of the burn off cycle tremendously. Perhaps these systems won't be around for long but they are here now and they don't give the best fuel economy for those not doing highway driving (especially contractors that idle for long periods of time).

        Until all of these concerns are addressed, widespread use of diesels in the US doesn't seem feasible to me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Let me spell it out for Mazda (and Ford for that matter)


      And Bring the 6 wagon, too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm down for it, I just sold my V6 GTI in December to get a Corolla to get better gas, get me a Mazda2 Diesel and I'll downgrade even further without blinking...

      • 7 Years Ago
      As a GTI (Golf) 1.8t owner I would downsize to a VW Polo or this Mazda w/o much hesitation. Okay I might be a little miffed if I couldn't fit my road bike in the back with the rear seats folded down but would probably give in and get a rack.

      In reality my GTI is more car than I need 99%+ of the time so why not?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Would love a mazda 2 3 door with some guts-how bout the new 2.5 version of the duratec 4-lots of torque and 170 h.p. Enough for a small light car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I will trade in a hurry for a practical 40 mpg+ car that is fun to drive (Corolla and Prius simply do not achieve this, Fit comes close but needs a refresh). I'd take a Mazda2 over just about anything on the US market now. If they can pull off ~40MPG with a tiny turbocharged gas engine vs a diesel, that might be even better.

      TJ, If you wouldn't trade in a V8 until gas hit $5, I'd say gas prices are too cheap now, and you have too much money. This sort of attitude is the reason why the good small cars disappeared from the American market (widespread "abuse" of low fuel prices, triggering the rebirth of muscle cars / SUVs). Until recently, there were only handful of fun 4 cylinder cars available (Mini, Mazda Protege / 3, Impreza, Golf ...), and the addition of the Fit, Mazda2, Yaris, etc. is very welcome to cheap/poor/hippy folks like myself.
        • 7 Years Ago
        TJ, thanks for the reply, I wasn't sure how to interpret your original comment. I certainly would agree that there is no sense in replacing newer ~25MPG vehicles quite yet -- When all costs are considered, it won't save money, resources, or help the environment. But upgrading to a 40-50MPG car after a 25MPG car dies should be a good step forward. I'm just hoping to have fun, small, 40MPG+ car options in the future (viz. Fiesta, Mazda2, VW Polo, etc.). I would have bought one years ago had they been available here.

        "High gas prices and environmentalism is all the rage and I think car companies are doing a lot of this to be perceived as eco-friendly - not so much because they're good business decisions. "

        I think they stand to make a lot of money on efficient vehicles, otherwise they wouldn't bother building them at all. They are just beginning to figure this out (otherwise they wouldn't have needed to put so many incentives on big SUVs in the past ~2 years). I would bet that many people are buying crossovers because they can't justify urban commuting in a full-sized 12-18MPG SUV. The new Ford hybrids get better gas mileage than my car, ~34 highway, which is a great step forward.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it in the showroom.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Diesel's okay--until we start straining our production capacity, as geo.stewart referenced.

      How about a 2 or fiesta with a really small, frugal gas motor? This thing's so light, it would get pretty good mileage, be quicker than a friggin' smart(dumb)car, and be cheaper than the diesel model. I really like diesels--on my tractor and in cars--but for my subcompact runabout, I'll take cheap and almost as efficient.
      • 7 Years Ago
      people have made comments like "I'll be first in line" for these type of subcompact cars. i sincerely hope you're serious. i doubt it though, as y'all are likely to never put that money where your mouth is.

      seriously, a subcompact? i'm all for being eco-friendly, but i'm not giving up my v8 (in the truck or the mustang). gas would have to be well over 5 bucks a gallon for that to happen. even still, it won't be for a subcompact.

      doesn't mean i wont encourage others to go out and buy it. but at some point someone has to be willing to sack up and lay the money down for one. i just see more people like me out there than people who are going to make this economically feasible in the long-run for america.
        • 7 Years Ago
        So somebody must do something, just not you? That's the most honest comment I've read here in a long time. Sad, but honest.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Would be nice to have a speed2, a mustang, and a 150 though...

        The market is growing, and I will be in the market for a Fiesta as a dialy driver to suppliment a Wrangler and Merkur XR4Ti
        • 7 Years Ago
        "people have made comments like "I'll be first in line" for these type of subcompact cars. i sincerely hope you're serious. i doubt it though, as y'all are likely to never put that money where your mouth is"

        Somebody has already been buying Minis, Fits, Versas, Aveos, Scions etc. If Mazda and others are seriously thinking about selling these cars in this market, it isn't because they're hoping to sell a few, it's because they are reasonably sure that they can sell a lot. I'd trust their ability to gauge the market better than I would yours.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "As Mazda watches the North American auto market become more like the European market"

      Really? That must be why they DID'NT bring the hot Euro-spec Mazda6 and instead is giving us the crapier version!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Exactly, if this car came to the states around the same time gas goes up this car would sell. Many people are trading in larger cars for smaller vehicles for numerous reasons: gas, affordability, ect....One thing about Mazda this car does not really look cheap or odd looking (i.e. toyota yaris hatchback). Mazda should have had this vehicle over here months ago with a diesel option and a Mazda speed version for the enthusiast.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And with oil reaching the highest price (adjusted for inflation) in history as of today, with $4/gallon gas predicted for this summer, this car with a diesel, and others like it, will be right on time.
        • 7 Years Ago
        read the article re: k's statement to 'just increase production'.

        1) The US uses a completely different technology that is biased towards gasoline production rather than a balanced mix. You would have to refit all of the refineries, another cost that would get passed on to us the customer

        2) There hasnt been a refinery added in the US since 1979.....

        still uses the same barrel of oil so if its not cheaper to use, if the cost per mile is the same or greater, whats the point? why subsidize?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Read Csaba's article on diesels in the latest C&D and you will wonder why all the interest in diesel as our fuel savior.

        Solid read.
        Basically, the US isn't set up to handle the same volume of diesel as the Euro market. meaning as diesel demand goes up over here, the cost is going to go up accordingly so that what little savings we see will go away. its already more than gas, but the mileage offsets it.

        • 7 Years Ago
        to geo

        Yes, it's a lot more than gas right now. Was at the station today and diesel was .80 more a gallon than gas. There goes any fuel savings or advantages. The U.S. would have to subsidize diesel like they do in Europe to be really cost effective.
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