In the U.S., the Mazda5 MPV, a more spacious version of the Mazda3, stands alone in its class. However, over in Europe, the mini-minivan segment is chock full of vehicles like the Ford Grand C-Max to compete with the Mazda5 for sales. It's this level of competition that has driven the Japanese automaker to introduce a more fuel-efficient, optional 1.6-liter diesel engine in its European-bound 2012 Mazda5.
The 1.6-liter oil-burning mill cranks out 113 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The engine routes power to the front axle via a six-speed manual transmission. Mazda lists the MPV's 0-60 miles per hour time at 13.7 seconds and claims that the compact minivan tops out at 112 mph. A weight reduction of 264 pounds contributes to the new Mazda5's improved fuel efficiency, which, when equipped with the 1.6-liter diesel engine, stands at 45 miles per gallon (U.S.) combined. For now, the clean-burning diesel mill is only available on TS2 and Sport Mazda5 models sold in Europe. Meanwhile, the entire U.S.-bound 2012 Mazda5 range, which will hit dealerships by the end of January, receive the automaker's 2.5-liter inline-four gasoline-burning engine.