Mazda increases its 6 appeal
Mazda has widened the diesel options for its Mazda6 with a new 2.2-litre engine that’s economical and has buckets of pulling power. Michael Moroney took it for a test drive.
Mazda has delivered a new 2.2-litre diesel engine for the Mazda6, giving potential buyers four different diesel options, based around either a 2.0- or a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine.
The Mazda6 is an impressive and distinctive looking car. And for some drivers, it’s important that the car is fully Japanese-built with a great paint finish and strong reliability credentials.
Mazda has given three different performance options with this new 2.2-litre diesel engine. The entry model delivers close to 125bhp, next up is the 163bhp model and topping the range is the 185bhp option. That is all achieved through a variation in the fuel system. The engine uses a new and more efficient variable-geometry turbo-charger (VGT) with curved instead of straight vanes on the turbine exhaust side. This is designed to increase engine torque at both low and high engine speeds.
It also helps to improve low engine-speed response as the torque reaches its best level across a range of engine speeds. This all allows the new Mazda6 to accelerate smoothly - no matter what engine speed it’s starting from.
Mazda has made some other changes to this 2.2-litre engine. It has new diesel fuel injectors and pistons, which are designed to withstand higher injection pressures and a longer stroke. The target for the Japanese manufacturer was to make these improvements without delivering an engine that’s heavier than the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel model - and the target was met.
All this technical stuff has resulted in a car with impressive acceleration, going from 0 to 100km/h in 10.6 seconds for the entry-level model and 8.3 seconds when you opt for the 185bhp version.
Mazda claims that the car surpasses its competitors in lower-speed acceleration; it is far from shy when velocity is called for.
The other noteworthy feature of this engine is the noise it generates - it’s a good deal quieter than the competition and feels smooth also. Mazda uses a new design balancer shaft to suppress booming noise and lower radiated noise coming from the engine.
The 2.2-litre offers only a modest fuel economy saving over the 2.0-litre model. It is rated at 5.5 lites/100km (51.4mpg), which is marginally more economical than the 2.0-litre offering.
Overall, this new Mazda6 is among the most fuel-efficient cars in its sector. The Audi A4 2.0 TDi and the BMW 318d are the only two cars to beat it. Similar size diesel-powered cars in the Ford Mondeo and Toyota Avensis ranges may give marginally better acceleration, but the Mazda has the economy edge.
With economy comes a lower CO2 rating at 147g/km. Mazda uses a unique exhaust filter system to good effect. And the end result is a band C-rated car with an annual road tax charge of €302.
Like all models in the Mazda6 range, the car has plenty of safety features. Most notable of these is the standard stability control system, although it does not have knee airbags as found in some of its competitors. The Mazda6 was highly rated in the recent Euro NCAP tests, achieving five stars for overall safety - you can’t beat that. Isofix seating couplings are provided in the rear for baby seats.
Interior styling is similar across most models in the range. The layout is modern, the functions are clear and easy to use. The steering is a shade light, but not excessively so. Space is adequate and comparable with many cars in this segment. Opting for the saloon gives 10mm extra rear headroom over the hatchback version. In general, seating is good and there’s plenty of adjustment options for the driver’s seat and steering wheel to accommodate most shapes and sizes.
Mazda has matched the entry price of the Mazda6 2.0-litre with a 140bhp engine with the 2.2-litre model. Relative to the competition, this new-engine Mazda is keen with an entry price of €28,145 or £19,510 in Northern Ireland, before delivery charges.
When you look at the key indices of value - power, economy and CO2 rating - there’s a marginal edge for the 2.2-litre engine model. I’ve a feeling that there’s a bit more low-down torque available too. For trailer-pulling rural drivers, that makes the 2.2-litre engine the obvious choice, with more drawbar muscle than the equivalent Toyota Avensis.