The claimed 5.7L/100km efficiency from the high-tech manual-only 2.2-litre turbo diesel will make the Mazda 3 sedan and hatch the most fuel miserly models in Mazda's Australian range beating even the baby 1.5-litre Mazda 2.
With moderate sales expectation of just 100 a month Mazda will start the new diesel at $29,715, a premium of $2870 over the petrol Maxx Sport on which trim it is based but significantly it is $685 cheaper on the sticker price than the outgoing model and, Mazda claims, represents more than $2000 in better value with the inclusion of satellite navigation, Bluetooth and a multi-function HMI (human machine interface).
Mazda Australia boss Doug Dickson concedes that the lack of an automatic option for the diesel will hurt sales but sees no way around it in the immediate future. "It would certainly be better if there was an auto option ... but there isn't," Dickson says. "It's hard to say just how much, but you could draw your own conclusions by looking at the traditional split of petrol sales which is about 60 per cent automatic.
"That's not to say diesel sales would go up by 60 per cent with an auto, but there would certainly be a significant number of buyers who would opt for that." Coupled to a revised six-speed manual the Mazda3 Diesel is good for 110kWs and 360Nm.