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Diesel drive for Mazda3

3D effect: Mazda sexes-up small-car economy with Maxx Sport-based Diesel.

The battle for small-car diesel sales intensifies with the Mazda3 Diesel

15 Aug 2007

MAZDA Australia has added a diesel engine option to its wildly successful Mazda3 five-door hatch and four-door small-car range.

Priced at $30,500 – or $3000 more than the equivalently equipped petrol-powered model – it uses the same MZR-CD 2.0-litre single-cam turbo-diesel four-cylinder unit as found in the Mazda6.

An advanced engine, common-rail injection is used to pump fuel at a high 1800bar pressure, optimising power output and reducing nitrogen and particulate emissions, while a variable-geometry turbo aids torque accessibility across a wide rev-range.

A relatively low compression ratio of 16.7:1 and a multi-stage injection system also help quell diesel clatter.

Like its mid-sized sibling, the ‘3’ Diesel will only be available with the three-shaft six-speed manual gearbox also found in the 3MPS. An automatic is still some time away from production, and may not even make it before the current-generation Mazda3 is replaced sometime later next year or in early 2009.

With outputs eclipsing the best that the “affordable” European diesel competition can offer, the MZR-CD delivers 105kW of power at 3500rpm and 360Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

The 0-100km/h sprint takes 9.5 seconds, top speed is around 200km/h and the ADR 81/01 combined fuel-consumption average is 6.0L/100km.

22 center imageThe latter means that the ‘3’ Diesel can travel 1010km on a single tank of fuel.

To aid the CO2 figure of 162g/km (Euro figures only), the MZR-CD engine boasts a self-cleaning particulate filter trap to meet Euro IV emissions standards, as part of the diesel-specific exhaust system.

Both body versions are based on – and look like – the popular sub-sports/luxury Maxx Sport model. However, the Diesel adds electronic stability control and traction control as standard, along with six airbags and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist.

Larger brakes are also part of the Diesel deal, with the 300mm ventilated front and 280mm solid rear disc brakes shared with the 2.3-litre petrol SP23 models in the range.

Also included are air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, a six-disc CD/MP3 compatibility audio, the Maxx Sport bodykit and 16-inch alloy wheels.

To cope with almost twice the torque of the 182Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine, the front-wheel driveshafts have been beefed up. Mazda has stiffened the body MPS-style, by fitting reinforcements from the ‘3’ MPS. These include a stronger front suspension upper plate, front cowl member and middle tunnel cross member.

Furthermore, the Diesel scores a uniquely tuned version of the MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension set-up, which also include front and rear anti-roll bars that are wider by 2mm - to 23mm and 22mm respectively.

There have been no changes to the hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering system.

Mazda is looking at shifting around 130 Mazda3 Diesels per month, with the sedan expected to outsell the hatch two-to-one, as it does in the petrol range.

The last Japanese-built small car diesel to be sold in Australia was the Holden TE-TG Gemini Diesel, from 1981 to 1984.

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