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Mazda powers up Premacy

Zoom-Zoom: a 2.0-litre engine should give the Premacy more get up and go.

A more powerful, SP20-engined Premacy is in the wings, but you'll need to pay more and wait until April

21 Jan 2002

MAZDA is set to preview a more powerful, better-equipped Premacy at next month's Brisbane motor show.

Although not due to go on sale until April, Mazda will use the Brisbane event as the first Australian showing of the facelifted Premacy, which features a fresh look and various specification upgrades.

The updated model has ditched the original car's 1.8-litre engine in favour of the 2.0-litre engine from the 323 Astina SP20, allowing it to compete on a more even playing field with its main rivals, the Renault Scenic and Holden Zafira.

Power is up 6kW to 98kW at 6000rpm, while peak torque has climbed 11Nm to 174Nm at 4500rpm, which both represent an increase of around six per cent.

However, those figures are still shy of the Zafira's 108kW and 203Nm, as well as the Scenic's 101kW and 188Nm.

The Premacy will continue to be offered with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, while other mechanical upgrades include the introduction of four-wheel disc brakes - replacing the Premacy 1.8's rear drums - and traction control.

Suspension revisions are said to improve both the ride and handling, while Mazda also claims increased body rigidity and thicker front door glass have reduced cabin noise.

Exterior alterations extend to new front and rear bumpers, revised headlights and tail-lights, a new grille and new design alloy wheels, which are now standard equipment.

The interior has also undergone some changes, with re-profiled seats, new cloth trim, relocated indicator stalk to the right-hand side of the steering column, revised audio unit and the addition of bottle holders that have been incorporated into the door pockets.

There is no official word on pricing at this stage - it will be announced closer to the launch date - but expect another price rise on top of the recent hike on January 1.

In the 11 months it was on sale during 2001, the Premacy recorded 1249 sales to be the top selling mini people-mover, edging out its European and Korean rivals.

However, its Scenic and Zafira competitors were not on sale for as long last year, with May and June launches respectively, so the Premacy may find the 2002 sales race somewhat more of a challenge, particularly with the supply issues that normally surface during model changeovers.

"We've almost run out of stock, so the sales for the next couple of months are going to be very minimal," Mazda Australia national public relations manager Alastair Doak said.

"Basically we haven't got any of the current model around and unfortunately we can't get this one any sooner due to the production schedules out of Japan."

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