Mazda Motor Corp. Says It will be the first auto maker to offer a diesel-powered passenger vehicle with a urea selective catalytic reduction system in Europe when it launches a refreshed version of the CX-7 cross/utility vehicle later this year.

Currently, some European auto makers sell light vehicles in the U.S. equipped with SCR systems, but in Europe only commercial vehicles are marketed with the technology. That is expected to change as light-vehicles emissions toughen in Europe in the coming decade.

Mazda's system is able to purify nitrogen-oxide emissions by spraying aqueous urea directly into the exhaust stream, a method that doesn't degrade fuel economy or power output.

Mazda will mate the system to its new MZR-CD 2.2L turbodiesel engine, which was designed to produce low amounts of NOx emissions.

The low-emissions mill allowed Mazda engineers to develop an SCR system that uses a smaller urea tank that is a better fit in passenger-vehicle applications.

The diesel engine's particulate filter boasts a Mazda-developed catalyst-activation device that uses smaller, higher pressure fuel-injector nozzles for a more accurately controlled spray pattern, burning soot off 60% faster than current competitive systems.

The system complies with Europe's stringent Euro 5 emissions regulations.

Spokesman Shin-ichiro Uetsuki says Mazda has yet to decide whether to offer the technology outside of Europe. The new SCR system is cost effective, he says, and there is an increasing demand for diesels in Japan.

“This technology has the advantage that it does not require any precious metals, such as platinum,” Uetsuki says. “Running costs will therefore be reduced.”

The CX-7 was tapped as the first recipient of the technology because the SCR system will better align the CUV with a “rapidly changing market” that places emphasis on fuel economy and reduced emissions.

While this is the first diesel in the CX-7, Mazda does offer diesels in a number of vehicles in Europe, including the Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, Mazda6 and the BT-50.

In Japan, the Hiroshima-based auto maker sells diesel commercial vehicles, such as the Bongo.

Uetsuki declines to reveal whether Mazda will market diesel vehicles in North America.

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