Mazda6: diesel & estate: model behaviour

Mazda6: diesel & estate: model behaviour – launched report

Natalie Wallis

In the light of declining D-segment sales, some people might question Mazda’s wisdom in launching a new car into the sector. The success of the initial launch of the Mazda6–with July sales of the saloon having outstripped those forecasted by Mazda–should be enough to silence most critics. Now the company has launched the estate and diesel versions.

The estate retains the front-end styling of its forerunners, with its prominent five-point grille, honeycomb air intake openings in the front bumper spoiler, and sleek headlights. In profile, it is spiced up a little thanks to a relatively acute rear window line and black B-pillars. The rear is dominated by the same Lexus-like tail-lights as the hatch and saloon.

Boot capacity can be increased from 505 litres to a whopping 1712 litres using the Karakuri function, which is also available on the hatch. The rear seats fold flat without the need to remove the headrests or fold up the squabs.

Underneath the skin, multilink rear suspension combines with a double A-arm front axle design. This ensured a highly stable and comfortable ride in the 2-litre diesel 136bhp version I tested. Steering is light and, although the estate is 20mm longer than the saloon or hatch, it remained agile. However, reversing was a bit of a problem as the rear screen tended to hamper visibility.

The estate is available in three engines–the existing 2-1itre petrol unit from the saloon and hatch models plus two diesels that make their debut into the Mazda range: a 2-1itre second-generation, common-rail direct injection engine in 121 bhp and 136bhp variants.

The new diesel powerplants are available across all three Mazda6 bodystyles and are expected to account for 37% of total sales.

Mazda has employed its expansive vertical vortex combustion technology (EWC) to improve torque output, boost fuel efficiency and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. The136bhp estate diesel version certainly offered abundant torque and power although it was noisier than I anticipated.

The latest additions to the Mazda6 live up to their predecessors with excellent handling and performance plus good pricing and stylish looks. Mazda is predicting sales of 6000 units in 2002, 70% into fleets. The saloon and estate will take 13% and 17% respectively.

All this means that, by the time Mazda launches its Sport AWD model next month, it will hope to have a winning range on its hands.


OTR PRICE: 14,1995 [pounds sterling] to 18,595 [pounds sterling]

ENGINES: In-line, four-cylinder 16V 2-1itre unit in DOHC

petrol MZR or SOHC diesel MZR-CD

POWER: MZR: 141bhp@6000rpm

MZR-CD: 121 or 136bhp @ 3500rpm

TRANSMISSIONS: Five-speed manual. Optional four-speed

automatic for petrol version

TORQUE: MZR: 181 Nm @ 4100rpm

MZR-CD (121bhp): 310Nm @ 2000rpm

C[O.sub.2] RATING: MZR (man): 203g/km

MZR-CD (121 bhp): 182g/km


MZR-CD: (121 bhp): 42.8mpg


COPYRIGHT 2002 DMG World Media Ltd.

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