MANY car manufacturers are dumping diesel engines but thankfully Mazda is bucking the trend by launching a brand new engine that is frugal and can cover distances that electric vehicles cannot come close to.
The Japanese company has invested in a large 3.3-litre diesel unit that is going to be available in all its larger models starting with its current flagship CX-60 SUV.
Launched last year in plug-in hybrid form the top quality CX-60 is targeted at taking sales away from the top German marques and Jaguar and the arrival of this new engine will make it an even more tempting prospect.
The five-door, five-seat CX-60 is a real looker from any angle and now it has the engine to match with the newly-developed straight six, 3.3-litre, 48-volt mild-hybrid diesel which is available in two power outputs.
The entry model is the 197bhp E-Skyactiv D unit and this can be matched to the entry level Exclusive Line car which is rear-wheel drive only.
And if you enjoy more power the 250bhp E-Skyactiv D unit with all-wheel drive fits the bill and will be available across the CX-60 range with trims called Exclusive Line, Homura and Takumi. Prices start from £42,990 and rise to £50,730 for the luxury Takumi model.
I sampled both cars on the twisting roads of the Scottish Borders and was really impressed with the performance and economy delivered by both power plants.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is slick and responsive and allows for smooth acceleration in both versions while steering wheel-mounted paddles are there for added fun.
Performance is good in both cars and the lower powered model delivers 450Nm of torque and a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.4 seconds with a top speed of 131mph. Officially, it can deliver a combined 47.0mpg with carbon emissions of 128-130g/km, but the chances are you will be able to do even better with this rear wheel drive version.
If you really need more grunt - and four-wheel-drive - opt for the 251bhp flagship model which sprints to 62mph in just 7.4 seconds before going on to a top speed of 136mph and surprisingly fuel economy does not suffer all that much.
The CX-60 feels well planted in both cars and grip is impressive but because of its size you can expect a little body roll on tight corners. The AWD version will be great in winter and if you have a need to tackle rough surfaces.
For such a large car the CX-60 is agile and it dealt comfortably with the challenging country roads and was also at ease in busy towns.
An Mi-Drive switch allows you to choose the drive mode with Normal and Sport available on rear-wheel drive models while the AWD cars gain Off-Road and Towing settings.
The CX-60 is a great looking car boasting a handsome design with muscular lines, a honeycomb-effect gloss black grille, a panoramic sunroof, LED light clusters, tinted windows and really smart alloys.
All models offer superb build quality with premium fixtures and fittings throughout.
The seats, along with the steering wheel, are power-adjustable and the seats can also be heated or ventilated.
The gear selector is neat and thankfully there is a separate control panel to access all the climate settings.
The cabin's focal point is a 12.3-inch central infotainment display with features controlled via a rotary dial. There are buttons to offer quick access to the likes of the radio and navigation system and there is a first class audio system, sat nav, wireless smartphone connectivity, over-the-air updates and lots more besides.
Three clear and easy to read circular dials behind the steering wheel display all the main driving information you need.
A real bonus is the Driver Personalisation System that makes its debut in the CX-60.
It identifies the driver via facial recognition when they take their seat behind the steering wheel and, if activated, will automatically adjust the seat, steering wheel, mirrors, temperature, head-up display and radio station to all the stored favourites for that person.
The top Takumi model features the best in Japanese craftsmanship combining elegance and style with upmarket white Nappa leather, white maple wood trim and a superbly stitched fabric dashboard. It matches any efforts from much more expensive rivals.
The CX-60 offers room for five passengers to travel in comfort with plenty of leg and headroom and the boot can handle 570 litres of kit, rising to 1,726 litres if you fold the 40:20:40 split rear seats. Storage space is also available inside the cabin to keep the occupants happy.
A stack of safety equipment and driver assistance aids enabled the CX-60 to secure a maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP and increase the car's appeal.
While most other manufacturers rush to go all-electric, Mazda recognises that it does not suit all customers and so continues to explore and develop new powertrains - and this one is 24 per cent more efficient than the diesel in the smaller and lighter CX-5.
Mazda UK managing director Jeremy Thomson said: "This car is another demonstration of Mazda's 'Multi-Solution Approach' with the new diesel designed to meet the needs of customers who want an efficient long distance driving car with great towing capacity. It is a fantastic example of Mazda's reputation for innovation and will be a superb choice for many retail customers."