Mazda sales zoom to a record high.
LIKE the motor world in general, Mazda may have spent some of the past six months dodging the fall-out from flak created by the so-called credit crunch.
However, this hasn't stopped the Japanese car giant from being able to bask in the reflected glory of having posted its second best sales year ever with some 50,402 models having left UK salerooms in 2008 while achieving an all time record passenger car market share of 2.3%.
The Mazda6 led the way when the Japanese carmaker reinvented itself back in 2002 and, to date, it has given more than a good account of itself in competition with the likes of the Ford Mondeo, VW Passat and the Renault Laguna.
In today's motor world, a great diesel is essential to convince both business and private buyers of its credentials in the medium family car range and, while Mazda has always delivered diesel urge via very capable oil burners, a little more was required to qualify for class leading capability.
So, enter the Mazda 2.2-litre diesel, an advanced common rail diesel engine featuring a variable geometry turbo and high pressure fuel injection system, introducing improved engine technology to afford the driver plenty of adaptability to major on maximum efficiency when high mpg is required or generating power to provide swift progress on demand while enjoying its fun to drive abilities.
This extensively aluminium engine comes available with three levels of power, a 123bhp entry level boasting a 0-62mph sprint time of under 11 seconds and a top level power source with a 182bhp rating capable of delivering the 0-62mph dash in 8.5 seconds, while the middle representative driven here, which offers 161bhp, does the 0-62mph sprint in 9.2 seconds and houses a top speed of 132mph.
The Mazda6 2.2 turbo diesel also comes with a promise of well over 50mpg when tackling a combination of town and country miles, with CO2 emissions of 147g/km.
Paired with a smooth shifting and very precise six-speed manual gearbox, the 2.2 turbo diesel delivers outstanding motorway cruising.
There is also precise electronic power steering and a fully independent suspension system.
While the car comes in saloon and estate form, driven here is the hatchback which is comfortably spacious with all the hallmarks of fine build quality. While rear headroom may not suit everyone, there is plenty of room and manoeuvrability up front..
Along with some decent legroom in the rear, the Mazda6 also features a good sized boot of 510 litres with all seats taken while the rear seats can be folded to present a flat load floor.
Overall, the Mazda6 2.2 turbo diesel is another big plus for the Japanese car maker. Sharp styling, including some eye-catching exterior chrome, oversees basic trim levels which start with air con, electric windows all round, ABS braking with emergency brake assist, dynamic stability and traction control systems.
The TS2 trim adds the likes of dual zone climate control, six-speaker sound system with six CD changer and rear vehicle monitoring system..
Mazda6 2.2 TS2 Diesel 5dr Price: pounds 19,510 Mechanical: 161bhp, 2,183cc, four-cylinder diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox.
Max speed: 132mph 0-62mph: 9.2 seconds Combined mpg: 51.4 Insurance group: 12 CO2 emissions: 147g/km BiK rating: 20% Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles FAST FACTS
NEW HEIGHTS The Mazda6 2.2 TS2 Diesel 5-door is another triumph for the Japanese car maker.