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Diesel engine in line for Mazda3

Oil chic: Mazda’s diesel-engined 3 will produce the same outputs as the version of the 2.2-litre engine under the bonnet of both the Mazda6 and CX-5.

Oil-burning Mazda3 hatch to go on sale from September

Mazda logo19 May 2014

MAZDA has confirmed it will add a diesel engine to its strong-selling Mazda3 line-up, boasting the same outputs as the 2.2-litre four-cylinder oil burner used in its larger cars.

Due in September, the Mazda3 XD Astina five-door hatch – the diesel will not be offered on the four-door sedan – will share the SkyActiv-D diesel engine that powers the larger Mazda6 mid-size sedan and wagon, and CX-5 compact SUV.

As well, it will come with the same 129kW of power and 420Nm of torque as its larger siblings, which use between 5.4 and 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel, making them among the most economical models in the Mazda range.

The lighter Mazda3 is expected to become the most frugal vehicle in Mazda’s showroom, ekeing out fuel use to about 5.0L/100km as the economy rating takes advantage of the car-maker’s first-ever application of regenerative braking – which converts the energy normally lost during braking into electricity – on the small car range.

Transmissions will be either a six-speed manual gearbox, or a six-speed automatic transmission.

The diesel Mazda3 will also carry unique red trim to its grille-mounted badge to help it stand out from petrol-engined versions.

However, the Mazda3’s fuel use doesn’t set any benchmarks in the fuel economy stakes, with oil-burning rivals including the Volkswagen Golf 110 TDI (4.9L/100km), Hyundai i30 CRDi (4.5L/100km) and Honda Civic DTiS (4.0L/100km) all undercutting it.

Mazda said it passed on a more frugal tune for the diesel-engined Mazda3 that in Britain drops fuel economy to about 3.3L/100km – making it more fuel-miserly than the Toyota Prius – with a small loss in performance.

“We went for an engine that combined performance and economy,” Mazda Australia public relations specialist Tony Mee told GoAuto.

“The UK-specification engine is a detuned and purely focussed on economy,” he said.

Mazda Australia has previously shied away from adding a diesel drivetrain to the all-new 3 introduced early this year, claiming the general lack of popularity for small-sized oil-burners counted against its introduction.

However, the inclusion of a more powerful, less frugal diesel-engined 3 leaves room in the line-up for Mazda’s most frugal model – a version fitted with a hybrid drivetrain that pairs an electric motor with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

Mazda has previously claimed Australian buyers were yet to warm to hybrid technology in small cars.

The Japanese-market hybrid 3, which is rated at about 3.2L/100km, costs about $3000 over the equivalent petrol-only version of the car.

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