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Next Mazda2 to take two 1.5s

Not coming: Mazda Australia will not include the 1.5-litre SkyActiv D turbo-diesel engine (left) as a part of its next-generation Mazda2 line-up.

Two 1.5-litre engine options coming for new Mazda light car, plus host of technology

Mazda logo30 Jun 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in JAPAN

MAZDA’S new-generation Mazda2 light car will gain a more powerful engine option as well as a range of advanced electronic driver aids as it seeks to challenge the Volkswagen Polo for best light-car honours.

According to Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders, the hi-tech new powertrains and driver-assist safety technology will also be important in further differentiating the Mazda2 from traditional rivals such as the Hyundai i20 and Toyota Yaris.

“We want to be more premium with the best available technology, to differentiate the 2 from the Hyundais and Toyotas of this world,” Mr Benders told GoAuto at the new DJ-series Mazda2 prototype drive in Japan.

“We’ve always had great-handling cars, but we’ve been lacking in the technology area until now.

“This gives us a great opportunity to get into that higher end of the segment.”

Due in the final quarter of this year, the redesigned Mazda2 will be offered with two versions of the all-new 1.5-litre SkyActiv G four-cylinder petrol engine.

While mainstream variants such as the Neo will be powered by a 79kW/139Nm unit, buyers of the upper-series Maxx and Genki equivalents will be able to choose a more sophisticated iteration with the full ‘4-2-1’ exhaust technology that liberates higher performance as well as lower consumption and emissions.

For Australia, the power and torque output is expected to be in the vicinity of 82kW and 144Nm respectively, comfortably ahead of the existing non-SkyActiv G 1.5-litre MZR engine’s 76kW/135Nm.

As reported, the 1.5-litre SkyActiv D four-cylinder turbo-diesel is not slated for Australia for the time being due to low consumer demand.

In Europe, the current Mazda2 – which shares much of its under-structure and platform with the current Ford Fiesta – has long been available with the latter’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder TDCi turbo-diesel developed with PSA Peugeot Citroen.

The higher-output petrol engine is expected to be offered as part of a number of pack upgrades that also includes a raft of new technology for the light car, including low-speed autonomous braking, higher-speed autonomous brake-impact mitigation, radar-based adaptive cruise control, lane-change warning, forward obstacle warning, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beam dipping and cross-traffic alert.

Interestingly, the Mazda will only just be pipped by the Polo in offering this level of sophistication in the light-car segment in Australia.

The last time a Mazda light car came with two petrol engine choices in Australia was when the DB-series 121 (Bubble) gained a 1.5-litre option to the standard 1.3-litre unit back in 1994.

This carried through to the DW-series 121 Metro series that replaced it from 1997 until the DY Mazda2 arrived in December 2002.

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