July 21, 2016 @ 04:14 PM

Mazda’s diesel day

The devil is definitely in the diesel with the SkyActiv-D engines.

Mazda has been meticulously exploring the idea of introducing diesel-driven variants of its existing models here in the Malaysian market. It all started with an oil-burning Mazda 6 that was brought in for evaluation purposes a couple of years ago followed by a SkyActiv-D (Mazda-speak for its diesel engines) variant of the Demio; badged here as the Mazda 2.

The diminutive Demio and its 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine found a special place in our hearts with its low-end grunt, petrol-like performance and endless range. That, coupled with the fact that Bermaz Motor, the official distributor of the Zoom Zoom marque here, was already assembling CX-5 SkyActiv-D units here for exporting meant it was just a matter of time before diesel Mazdas were sold here.

That day has finally come as Bermaz Motor launched not one, but two diesel variants here; the Mazda 6 SkyActiv-D and the CX-5 SkyActiv-D.

Both these variants are powered by a larger 2.2-litre inline-four twin-turbo diesel SkyActiv-D mill that churns out 173bhp and a mind-boggling 420Nm of torque from a lowly 2000rpm.

While the Mazda 6 SkyActiv-D will have to take on the French faction in the form of its Peugeot 508 GT that packs a heftier 203bhp and 450Nm of torque, the CX-5 SkyActiv-D is unrivalled in its segment with all its peers opting for petrol over diesel.

Mazda is understandably eager to point out its advanced diesel engines employ cutting-edge technology such as a lower compression ratio of 14:1 and delayed ignition that allows a better air-fuel mixture to form for a cleaner combustion.

This allows it to comply with Euro 5 emission regulations without the use of expensive and complicated selective catalytic reduction treatments or a lean NOx trap catalytic converter. What this means is the engine produces far less nitrous oxide and practically no soot from its exhaust pipes. In fact, the engine is able to comply with the more stringent Euro 6 emissions requirements sans the NOx treatments as well.

Additionally, the lower compression ratio also results in reduced physical stress on the engine’s components, allowing it to be manufactured from lighter aluminium for significant weight savings.

Similarly to the SkyActiv-G engines (G for gasoline, petrol to the Queen’s English speakers), the diesel variants are mated to a six-speed SkyActiv Drive automatic transmission with manual override and paddle shifters for the 6 only. The CX-5 diesel can only be had in two-wheel drive configuration.

As for the equipment level, both variants mirror the flagship variants of their petrol siblings. This translates to 19-inch wheels, LED lighting, heads-up display, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and GPS navigation for the 6.

The CX-5 gets 19-inch rollers as well together with LED lighting, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and GPS navigation as well as leather seats.

Safety wise, both are kitted up with rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring while the 6 gets an additional lane departure warning system.

The availability of cleaner Euro 5 diesel here was cardinal in getting the green light for the SkyActiv-D models to be launched but given that the fuel is not available across the country yet, Mazda has affirmed that the Euro 2M can be used but only in emergency situations where Euro 5 cannot be found.

In the case that the injectors get clogged with the use of Euro 2M, Bermaz Motor will honour the warranty.

Bermaz has also been conduction evaluations on the smaller 1.5-litre turbodiesel engines here that was in the Demio/2 brought in before and now two units of the CX-3 as well. However, testing is ongoing so you cannot walk into a Mazda showroom and get yourself a diesel 2 or CX-3 just yet although if all goes well, the time will come soon.

Pricing for the Mazda 6 SkyActiv-D is RM208,739.31 and the CX-5 SkyActiv-D will set you back RM166,335.71. Both prices are on-the road and inclusive of insurance.

Stay tuned for a first impression of these two new cars during a short jaunt to Malacca and there is also a more detailed look at the cutting-edge SkyActiv-D engines.

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