DIESEL has fallen out of favour but Mazda is out to prove the fuel still has a place with the latest version of its CX-60 large SUV.
Targeting those who travel long distances, tow or need genuine off-road ability, the Japanese car maker is launching a CX-60 powered by a new 3.3-litre diesel engine.
It's a six-cylinder inline unit available in two power outputs of 200ps or 254ps with the latter mated to a four-wheel-drive system.
The lower powered engine comes in a rear-wheel-drive CX-60 and both are fitted with eight-speed automatic gearboxes.
Mazda is claiming its new e-Skyactiv D engine is one of the cleanest diesels in the world and it features a clever combustion system called Distribution-Controlled Partially Premixed Compression Ignition.
With the help of a 48-volt mild-hybrid boost set-up the 200 ps CX-60 has an official fuel economy rating of 56.5mpg with emissions of 129g/km while the 4x4 comes in at 54.3 to the gallon and a CO2 output of 137g/km at best.
Those figures aren't far off the mark we managed to average 52.2 and 44.7 respectively.
Performance from the two is almost the same with the 200ps managing a 0 to 62mph acceleration time of 8.4 seconds and the higher powered engine a second quicker. Maximum speeds are 132 and 136mph.
In every way the 3.3-litre diesel is impressive with plenty of pulling power and a lot of refinement. Noise levels in the cabin are well suppressed with just a healthy thrum coming from under the bonnet.
The CX-60 diesel joins the plug-in hybrid model Mazda launched last year and is priced from £43,010 for the 200ps variant which is available only in Exclusive-Line specification.
The 254ps engined model costs from £45,655 in similar trim and is also available in higher grade Homura and Takumi grades priced from £48,405 and £50,755 respectively.
That's similar to the plug-in model and Mazda should be commended for offering drivers a powertrain choice at no real financial penalty.
While there is no difference in equipment levels between the diesel and the plug-in - and both offer 2.5 tonne towing limits - there is an advantage in torque when it comes to the all-wheel-drive diesel which gives it better heavy duty credentials.
Overall the range from a full tank in the diesel is around 700 miles which is about 100 miles more than you could expect from the plug-in in everyday use.
As Mazda's flagship the CX-60 is very well equipped and comes with a 12.3-inch central display screen and similarly sized head-up display and instrument panels.
Fully connected, with a variety of apps available to enhance usability, the car has state-of-the-art technology and interiors finished to a standard good enough to rival premium brands.
The 4x4 CX-60 has special off-road and towing settings included in the car's drive mode programmes and on the road it feels absolutely sure footed.
Boot space ranges from 570 to a maximum of 1,726 litres and a powered tailgate is standard on all grades.
Despite its large capacity of 3.3-litres Mazda says the engine weighs no more than the 2.5-litre diesel used in the smaller CX-5 SUV and that gives the CX-60 a weight of just under two tonnes.
It is one of the best diesels we have ever driven and for those who aren't ready to make the switch to electrification it the CX-60 e-Skyactiv D has plenty of attractions.
Eventually, Mazda will be adding a straight-six 3.0-litre petrol engine to the CX-60 line up enabling the brand to cover all bases in a market where powertrain choices appear ever changing.