06 December 2006

Sippity Zoom Car

http://www.mazda.com.au/articles/images/m6ext_hero.jpg

Test Vehicle: Mazda6 Diesel

2.0 SOHC 4-cyl Turbo Diesel
6 Speed Manual Transmission
3 Year/unlimited km Warranty
$38,090 as tested

Car reviewers get more cranked up over a new pop-up toaster than a die-cut 4-Cylinder Japanese sedan. So what’s so exciting about the latest 5-door Mazda?

Step back from the new Mazda6 and you’re looking at a perfectly neat, unobtrusive medium sized car with sweet, clean lines and a mildly sporty profile. So what? I hear you ask. Well, the cleverest things about the new Mazda6 Diesel are below the surface.

Firstly, you’re looking at a minor moment in history. Yes, this is the only Japanese manufacturer to currently offer a diesel passenger car in a market increasingly obsessed with fuel prices and consumption. You have to go back a quarter century to the Isuzu-powered Gemini, a practical but overwhelmingly uninspiring vehicle. This situation will change when other manufacturers inevitably follow suit, but full marks to Mazda for playing the first card in what will become a vigorous game when all Japanese manufacturers attempt to counter the European dominance in small diesel engines.

Already a proven hit with petrol car buyers, the svelte Mazda6 is not a styling gamble. Behind the wheel, it drives for all the world like a delightful little car should. Perky, performance from the MZR-CD 2.0-litre common-rail turbo diesel sees 100kmh in less than 10 secs and with a hefty 360Nm of torque at just 2000 rpm (a standard Falcon has 380Nm), you can choof along confidently without a lead foot.

The modest little diesel incorporates many state-of-the-art features for this “born gain” engine type including common rail injection, a variable-geometry turbocharger and ceramic fuel filters. With fuel economy in all conditions well under 6 litres/100kms, you can drive from Sydney to Brisbane on a single 64 litre tank. Emissions, well below EU standards, are almost negligible, so any fears trailing smokescreens can be quickly dismissed.

Other features include a very respectable 6-stacker CD system, six airbags and anti-lock four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. The 6-speed manual transmission will appeal to some and deter others and it may be twelve months before an automatic version is available.


http://www.mazda.com.au/articles/images/m6int_hero.jpg

Available in both hatchback and the slightly cheaper wagon, Mazda is not overstating their sales potential, setting a target of just fifty vehicles per month of which thirty, they say, will be the hatch.

We liked:

  • Staggering economy
  • Silent, smooth drive train
  • Elegant styling
  • Confident handling
  • Build quality

Not so keen on:

  • Manual only transmission option (for now)

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