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The Mercury Cars Guide : February 27th 2010
6--- Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au Saturday, February 27, 2010 Mazda ticks right boxes The lack of an automatic transmission option in Japan s small diesel offerings will hurt sales, says Kevin Hepworth FUN: The 2010 Mazda3 diesel sedan. The diesel ticks all the same boxes that have kept Mazda at the front of the fun-to-drive brigade' IT is one of the enduring mysteries of modern diesels. Why can just about every European manufacturer find an automatic to match with a small diesel yet it is something that remains beyond the comprehension or the ability of the Japanese. And that is a shame. Mazda's appealing little 3 diesel and Subaru's Outback diesel, for that matter is only going to win the following it deserves when the effective and efficient benefits of the compression-ignition engine are coupled to a self-shifter. It is a fact of life that Australian drivers, and particularly those in the market for a small city car, have no great desire to reap the considerable windfalls of a diesel by giving up the convenience of an automatic gearbox. That will cost both Subaru and Mazda sales in their respective segments, something both companies are at least with their public face on willing to live with. At least in the case of the Mazda, the company engineers have managed to offer a clutch/gearbox/ratio relationship that makes the drive experience far more relaxed than that in the Subaru where a lack of low-rev torque threatens a stall any time the driver loses focus. Mazda may have given up a shade of economy although it doesn't show overtly with a handy average of 6.2L/100km during the test week without any effort to drive for efficiency but they have retained a key benefit of the diesel with good urge coming quickly to hand. The diesel in the Mazda3 is the 2.2-litre common-rail direct-injection turbo four- cylinder used in the larger 6 and even larger CX-7, albeit a slightly detuned version using a smaller turbocharger than the 6, a variable geometry unit with longer blades for better response. In its 3 configuration the engine is good for 110kW enough for all the top end speed you could want around town and 360Nm of torque. As a rule it is that impressive torque and its availability (when allowed) from way down in the rev range that makes such a compelling argument for the small turbo diesel. In the Mazda the sense of having almost instant pick-up at the tap of the throttle is a comforting and reassuring thing in the morn- ing commute. The gap is there, the car will take it. The engineering upgrades applied at the launch of the new Mazda3 range last year are, of course, part of the diesel package and without any damper and spring rate tuning adjustments that we are aware of the improve- ments work just as well for the slightly heavier engine. Noise from the diesel is well isolated from the cabin and while it is noticeable that there is an oil-burner under the bonnet, at least at idle, the benefits in better noise, vibration and harshness levels seen in the petrol models flow through on the open road. The diesel ticks all the same boxes that have kept Mazda at the front of the fun-to-drive brigade. Trimmed to the same level as the Sport Maxx the diesel's interior is thoughtfully laid out, functional and with plenty of soft-touch surfaces. There is little wow factor, but every- thing that has been done is at a very high standard. Shoulder room for a couple of larger blokes can get a little tight but not uncomfortable and the seats are well bolstered and generous enough to be comfortable. Dynamically the car is enjoyable to drive with the new six-speed manual well sorted with the diesel's extra torque answering some of the questions raised over the tallness of the gearing in the petrol car. The chassis remains tight and the suspension compliant and comfortable while the steering felt like it was a little duller than in the petrol models. While that may be a consequence of the heavier front end, it could also be a slight tuning adjustment to modify the impression of torque steer from the sharp arrival of the engine's urge. That said, the 3 diesel displayed no tendency to step off the straight and narrow. Jumping the accelerator too suddenly and too early in a corner will elicit a sense that the front wheels want to escape, yet it is not uncomfort- able and certainly not uncontrolable. small torque Mazda3 diesel Price: $29,715 Engine: 2.2L/4-cylinder turbodiesel 110kW/ 360Nm Transmission: 6-speed manual Economy: 5.7L/100km claimed; 6.2L/100km on test Rivals Hyundai i30 CRDi: $22,890 Peugeot 308 HDi: $30,690 VW Golf 77TDi: $28,690 Bottom line: Appeals on a lot of levels, just not an automatic choice. Tilford Trade Clearance Centre TONY: 0417 569 323 56b Gormanston Road Moonah Finance Available TAP 6273 8533 www.tilford.com.au CHEAP CHEAP CARS & COMMERCIALS Hobart's true & original Trade Clearance Centre Wholesale & Trade welcome CARS 89 Ford Laser Ghia Sedan $1,750 1.5 litre, t-bar, auto, p/s 93 Toyota Corolla Sedan $2,500 5 speed, alloy wheels, June reg 92 Toyota Camry Wide Body Sedan $2,950 Auto, 8.10 reg, p/s, a/c 90 Toyota Corolla CS 5 Door Hatch $3,000 5 speed, blue duco 95 Hyundai Excel 5 Door Hatch $3,990 Auto, alloy wheels, CD, p/s, a/c 96 Holden Astra GSi 5 Door Hatch $4,750 2.0 litre, 5 speed, alloys, 97 Ford EL Fairmont Ghia Sedan $4,750 Leather, alloys, p/s, a/c 99 Hyundai Sonata GLE Sedan $5,500 Value, 4 cyl, automatic, p/s, a/c 04 Kia Rio 5 Door Hatch $6,000 78,000 klms, 5 speed, p/s, a/c 94 Honda Prelude Coupe $6,000 Manual, alloys, sunroof, sporty 96 Honda Civic GLi Sedan $6,000 5 speed, blue duco, p/s, a/c 99 Honda CRV 4x4 S/Wagon $8,000 Silver duco, manual, p/s, a/c COMMERCIALS 97 Daihatsu Terrios 4x4 S/Wagon $6,000 5 door manual, 8.10 reg, p/s, a/c 97 Mitsubishi Triton GLx 4x4 Flat Tray $6,750 2.8 litre diesel, 5 speed, p/s 02 Holden Rodeo 4x2 Dual Cab Flat Tray Ute $12,000 150,000 klms, manual, p/s, a/c 04 Ford Falcon BA Flat Tray $15,000 White duco, 3 seater, auto, p/s, a/c 07 Ford Ranger 4x2 Flat Tray $16,500 78,000 klms, 2.5 turbo diesel, p/s, a/c 04 Holden Rodeo LT Dual Cab Ute 4x2 $17,000 3.5 V6, auto, canopy 04 Holden Commodore 1 Tonner Flat Tray $17,500 80,000 klms, black duco, p/s, a/c 02 Ford Courier XL 4x4 Dual Cab $18,000 135,000 klms, turbo diesel, 5 speed, silver duco 04 Toyota Hiace LWB Van $19,990 96,000 klms, 8 seater, 5 speed, p/s, a/c 99 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed 4x4 S/W $19,990 7 seater, leather, auto, alloys
February 20th 2010
March 6th 2010