The sales rep favourite from Mazda has only been on sale a year, and already Mazda are making improvements. Ian Robertson tests the brand new 2.2-litre
Regular readers will remember that we ran a Mazda6 on a six-month long term test last year, and were very impressed by it – except in one area, and that was fuel consumption. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t get anywhere near the official combined consumption figures, and judging by the comments on the online forums, customers couldn’t achieve them either.
Maybe Mazda will be able to put that behind them with the launch of three new 2.2-litre turbodiesel engines, with power outputs ranging from 123bhp to 182bhp. Despite Mazda being part of the Ford family up until recently, this is a wholly Mazda designed engine and hasn’t got anything in common with the 2.2-litre PSA/Ford unit that powers the Mondeo. For this test I selected the mid range version, developing 161bhp. Out on the road the new engine is smooth and feels considerably more powerful than the old 2.0-litre unit, with strong, punchy performance throughout the rev range. This is backed up by the on-paper figures, with a 132mph top speed, and 9.2 seconds to complete the 0-62mph dash. The gearbox can be quite notchy and obstructive in the lower gears, although that may well have been due to the fact that the test car only had 600 miles on the clock, and will improve with more miles under its wheels. Still, It’s a comfortable cruiser offering a decent ride, but rear passengers may find it difficult to chat to the front seat passengers due to excess road noise.
The cabin is nicely styled with modern finishes, and feels roomy – particularly in the back. The boot is a good size that will swallow up all kinds of paraphernalia associated with family life. Everything fits together well although some of the plastics are hard, where rival models would be soft to the touch. This is a small niggle and doesn’t detract too much from the overall feel and design of the inside of the car.
Equipment levels are good with smart looking 17-inch alloy wheels, power folding and heated door mirrors, cruise control, front fog lamps and dual-zone climate control. In addition, there’s a six-disc CD autochanger and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. Curiously, for such a well equipped large car, rear parking sensors aren’t standard equipment. Priced at £18,639, it is a veritable bargain compared to its peers. For a similarly equipped and powered Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia, you would be looking at around £2,000 more. CO2 emissions are excellent, developing just 147g/km, resulting in the new Mazda falling into tax band C. All of its main rivals fall into one vehicle excise duty band higher, meaning at current prices, you would need to stump up an extra £25 per year to the Government, for the opposition.
RIVALS: Ford Mondeo Zetec 2.2 TDCi, Renault Laguna Dynamique dCi 150, Vauxhall Insignia SE 2.0 CDTi
- Engine: 2183cc, 4 cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 161bhp at 3,500rpm
- Max Torque: 266lb ft at 1,800 – 3,500rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,600kg
- Combined Consumption: 51.4mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 147g/km (C)
- 0-62mph: 9.2secs
- Max speed: 132mph
- Insurance group: 12
Well priced, high specification, low emissions, punchy performance
Notchy gearbox, road noise, no parking sensors