06 December 2006

Sippity Zoom Car


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.


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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