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VIDEO: The all-new Proton Iriz Launched in Malaysia!

  Protons Global Small Car (GSC) has finally been revealed and is named Iriz! Take a closer look at this Myvi fighter and tell us what you think! More details on the Proton Iriz HERE! 

VIDEO: The 22nd Indonesia International Motor Show!

  Here’s a quick look at what went down at this years Indonesian International Motor Show!

VIDEO: Renault Megane R.S. 265 Sport Facelift Launched In Malaysia

Can you spot the differences in this facelift? For the full specs and price details, read our launch report HERE! 

VIDEO: All-New Mercedes-Benz C-Class Debuts in Malaysia

The all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is here and it’s looking good! For more details on the car, check out our full report HERE!

VIDEO: All-New 2014 Perodua Axia Launches in Malaysia!

It’s finally here! For more details on the Axia – check out our full list of specs HERE! 

VIDEO: 2015 Jaguar XE – The Reveal

Taking a reveal to the next level! The 2015 all-new Jaguar XE is looking sleek!

VIDEO: Mitsubishi Red Peak Challenge At Tesco Mutiara Damansara

Motors Malaysia demonstrated to the public the capabilities of Mitsubishi’s 4×4 models, namely the ASX, Triton and the Pajero Sport. MORE HERE!

VIDEO: 2015 Volvo XC90 Crash Test!

Is the Volvo XC90 really as tough as it’s said to be? Watch the crash test video above and find out! As the Volvo XC90 just made it’s global debut and it’s really something special. More information and details HERE!

VIDEO: 2014 Ford EcoSport SUV Launches in Malaysia!

Sime Darby Auto Connexion has finally launched its all-new 2014 Ford EcoSport SUV. More details HERE! 

VIDEO: The All-New 2014 BMW X4 Debuts In Malaysia!

BMW Malaysia has just launched its all-new 2014 BMW X4. Just months after the car was revealed worldwide, the Sports Activity Coupe many dub to be the “baby X6”, is finally amongst us, to take its place as the fifth ‘X’ vehicle in the local line-up. Check out more details HERE! 

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2014 Mazda 6 2.2 SkyActiv-Diesel Quick Review – The Green Mile

By 6 days ago 0 comments

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It is not uncommon to hear car owners muttering such statements as, “I got 800km from one tank!” or “This car does six litres of petrol to the 100km”. Sure I don’t deny that most new cars these days could get you from one end of the Peninsula to the other on one tank of petrol or achieve such low fuel consumption figures, but I would hazard a guess that these figures are the result of steady driving spread across a long interstate journey or squeezed out from a hypermiling expedition of dogged determination and steely patience.

When Bermaz Motor asked me if I would like to have a go at their Mazda 6 2.2 SKYACTIV-D Diesel I leapt at the chance of taking one of my favourite executive cars for a spin. The only catch to this is that this is the only one in Malaysia; a test model to assess the engine’s durability in swallowing our crude Euro2M quality diesel.

Normally when the keys to such a car are handed over, the usual thing to do is to take it on a long highway journey and talk about how quiet the engine is at a cruise and how little fuel it consumes. But not this time, no, I quite like to see what this diesel can do by showing it some challenging roads. And since I, technically, cannot refuel the car with the diesel from our pumps, I’m going to have to do the whole journey without refuelling its tank.

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My journey will be a not too challenging 250km round trip from Kuala Lumpur, up to The Gap of Fraser’s Hill, and down the other side of the hill through to Bentong, with a brief stopover at the small village of JandaBaik, before a quick jaunt over the Karak highway and back into Kuala Lumpur via the DUKE highway.

The only thing is, that before setting off, I had already racked up 70km worth of mileage doddering about in mostly stop-go traffic the day before, so even though the digital fuel gauge still has a full set of bars lit, there is definitely a significant amount that is not accounted for. If you know how the mechanics behind gauging the fuel level work, you would know that once the meter starts its descent, it will escalate quickly and accelerates to the ‘E’ mark.

Nevertheless,the trip computer readings in the wee hours of the morning were encouraging, 800km of range, but those figures can quickly tumble the heavier your foot becomes, especially when mountain roads are involved. And according to the trip computer’s readings from the moment I picked up the car, an additional 200km worth of projected range was gobbled up in those 70km of traffic the day before.

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It goes without saying that diesels were made for long stretches of highways, their lazy demeanour and wealth of torque makes it idealfor the task of covering huge distances quietly. The 6 Diesel ate away at the kilometres effortlessly, but I was curious about its performance on tighter winding roads, where a diesel engine’s characteristicturbocharger lag and weight comes into play. Part of the reason behind sticking to naturally aspirated petrol engines was for lightness, and weight blunts handling, but is that true with the diesel variant of the 6?

I didn’t have to wait long to answer my curiosity as I turned off the North-South Highway at the Bukit Beruntung intersection and headed into the endless green countryside. Here the back roads which connect Bukit Beruntung to the small town of Kuala Kubu Bharu consist of a collection of dips, ruts, potholes, and cracks, created from years of neglect and the passage of heavy vehicles. If there is any place that would punish a car with a badly tuned suspension, you would find all of thosewrong conditions here.

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Conditions which revealed that the 6 Diesel’s suspension doesn’t exactly boast the same level of pliancy over poor road conditions as its petrol powered siblings. Where the petrol variants would glide effortlessly over the odd undulation or pothole, the 6 Diesel had a stiffer front end which tends to dive and pound the tarmac.

Where the diesel shares similar qualities with the petrol variants is to be found in its steering. To coin the term “sweet” might not sound like the best way of describing the 6’s steering, but that is probably the most descriptive word to use. It hits the right spot in terms of steering weight and accuracy, is not too overly-assisted that it becomes nervous at high speeds, nor too quick that any little steering input would make it too twitchy.

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After a brief stopover in the quaint town of Kuala Kubu Bharu, the mountain roads begin. Just as the roads begin to grow narrower and the corners start coming up fast, the diesel engine’s weight does show its hand again. Compared to the equivalent petrol, the 6 Diesel tips the scales with an additional 70kg on board, weight which becomes all the more apparent over tighter sections where its nose felt less eager in changing directions, and more willing to plough ahead on its current course.

Press on the throttle and there is a notable delay in the engine as the turbochargers rush to spool up and deliver its load. No immediate flare of revs from the engine, or instantaneous response from the engine up front, which made the job of overtaking on the short and straight stretches tricky for undertaking.

What is more is that even though the engine boasts an impressive torque figure of 420Nm, all that twisting force only feels present at 2,000rpm, which is rather high for a diesel engine. Fall anywhere behind the 2,000rpm and the diesel engine feels lethargic. That said,switch the six-speed automatic transmission into manual override and it keepsthe engine revs hovering in the 2,000rpm range, right at the point where the engine’s full torque output is right at the driver’s disposal, regardless of how insistent you are at wanting to go up a gear.

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The abandoned colonial mansion that once was the Gap Rest House stands as a silent marker of where the road diverges up a narrow one-lane road that continues up to the main town of Fraser’s Hill. For me it symbolises where the route will begin its descent onto the other side of the Titiwangsa mountain range. A quick glance at the fuel gauge shows a rather encouraging reading of three-quarters of the car’s 62-litre tank remaining. A petrol-powered competitor would have already drunk half its tank dry with consumption figures well into the 12L/100km range. But right now, the 6 Diesel’s trip computer is showing a respectable 8.7L/100km and plenty of range left in its belly.

Despite their efforts to infuse as much of their “Zoom-Zoom” qualities into the 6 Diesel as possible, Mazda’s engineers couldn’t cheat physics, particularly alluding to hiding the heft of that engine blunting its handling and removing that finesse in handling bad roads. The petrol-powered 6 still comes across as the sharper and more stirring car to drive in this respect, with the 6 Diesel being more focused on being a better and more economical highway cruiser.

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With the fuel-intensive part of the journey over, the journey back to Kuala Lumpur via Bentong was without any worry about running low on fuel. Even a quick blast on the country roads and up through the winding Karak stretches and I only managed to burn off just a fraction of the 6’s fuel reserves. Despite my reservations of the petrol variant being a better driver’s car, the 6 feels more suited as a diesel powered model with  a mix of refinement, frugality, and huge power reserves. It is an unfortunate reality that such a circumstance as poor-quality fuel would deny us of such a car.

This story first appeared in the April issue of Malaysian EVO magazine, a sister publication of Carlist.my and LiveLifeDrive.com.

Specifications
Mazda 6 2.2 SKYACTIV-D Sedan

Engine 4-cylinder, 2191cc, diesel turbocharged
Power 175PS @ 4500rpm
Torque 420Nm @ 2000rpm
Transmission Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive, ESP
Front suspension McPherson strut
Rear suspension Multi-link
Brakes 297mm ventilated discs front, 278mm solid discs rear, ABS, EBD
Wheels 7.5 x 19in front & rear
Tyres 225/45 R19 92W front & rear
Weight (kerb) 1,571kg
Power-to-weight 111PS/tonne
Basic price
N/A
On sale
N/A

5 Tips When Buying A New Car

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Many often ask us, “What is car a good car to buy?” There is no one simple answer for that. In today’s highly competitive car market, it would be too simplistic to say that Car A is a good car and Car B is a bad car. What determines a ‘good’ car and what’s a ‘bad’ car really depends on who is buying it and what the car will be used for.

Here are some tips to help you make a better, more informed decision.

1. Make A List Of Your Requirements.

It is not good enough to say you want a car that looks youthful, offers good driving performance and sporty handling, is comfortable, affordable, reliable, comes with many safety features and has good resale value.

Such a car doesn’t exist. Out of those many attributes mentioned, you need to decide which is the most important, which is the next, and so on.

No matter what the marketers tell you, a highly sophisticated car fitted with many cutting edge technologies cannot be expected to be as durable as another that uses older, but proven technologies.

Similarly, a new car model from a strong brand with a proven reputation cannot be expected to be as cheap or come with as many features as a lesser known upstart brand eager to win-over new buyers.

The established brand is likely to have a wide and reputable after-sales network, complete with a well-stocked parts delivery centre and body-paint collision repair facilities. These brands have a higher operating cost and customers will need to pay more for these benefits.

Deciding on what your purchase priorities are depends on how you will use the car. What’s your driving distance? Do you drive more on urban or highway roads? How many people will you be carrying most of the time? Will it be a primary or secondary car in your household?

With this hierarchy of priorities sorted out, you can then proceed to narrow down your list of potential candidates.

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2. Choosing the right body type

There is little point in buying a large multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) if you are only going to carry seven-people once a year, while carrying no more than two occupants for the remaining 51 weeks a year. Buying a cheaper, more fuel-efficient model and renting an MPV for the once-a-year event would make better sense.

MPVs and sports utility vehicles (SUV) offer a higher driving position which some drivers like, plus better utility. However, MPVs and SUVs are generally larger, heavier and consume more fuel than a similar class sedan or hatchback model. Tyre wear and replacement costs are also comparably higher.

Pick-up trucks are generally cheap to buy and are very durable, but urban users should be aware that they are not that practical. Try climbing onto the high deck of a pick-up truck to load and unload cargo, and you will understand why. Plus, you can only keep your groceries in the cabin.

A sedan may offer the added functionality of a boot, but has a conservative image. A hatchback may be smaller, but it is also a lot more practical in urban traffic. However, hatchbacks are less safe in a rear-end collision.

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3. Safety features

Automotive safety features are split into two main categories – active safety; features to help avoid a crash, and passive safety; features that minimise injuries. As prevention is always better, active safety should be placed on a higher priority.

A car with a good mix of passive and active safety features is one that is fitted with anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), dual front airbags and electronic stability control (ESC). This mix is better than a car fitted with more airbags but no ESC.

Studies by the FIA, Global NCAP and ADAC have shown that ESC is the single most important safety feature after seatbelts, more important than airbags. Where possible, only choose cars with ESC. The feature is no longer limited to high-end cars as even an entry-level model like the Kia Picanto comes fitted with it.

ESC is a generic term and different car companies may have different marketing names for the feature, but they all work the same. Toyota calls it VSC. Mitsubishi calls it ASC while Honda calls it VSA. Some German manufacturers refer to it as ESP or DSC.

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4. Maintenance

Sales and after-sales are two different sides of the business, so it is not realistic to expect the sales person to furnish you with complete information of your car’s maintenance. Even if he/she does share this with you, a prudent buyer will still do his own homework to verify the information.

Some manufacturers publish maintenance costs of their vehicles on their websites. Maintenance information for Honda, Nissan and Perodua vehicles can be found here, here and here respectively.

For other brands, the information can be obtained by dropping into their respective authorised service centres and speaking to the service advisors there.

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5. Warranty

Many manufacturers now offer extended warranties that extend beyond the standard factory’s two- to three-year warranty to five-years. While extended warranties are attractive, it should not cloud your judgement. Remember that the best warranties are those that you don’t need to use, so evaluate the car’s reliability before evaluating its warranty.

Warranty claims are always a hassle and even if your vehicle’s repair costs are covered, you are still looking at a downtime of around one to two weeks.

Remember that items like clutches, brake pads, wipers and batteries are wear and tear items and are usually not covered by your warranty.

Most extended warranties are covered by a third-party insurer. Do check the terms and conditions as the coverage may differ between the first and second-half of the warranty period.

There are also brands that arrange their five-year extended warranties in a way that there is no distinction throughout all five-years, so they often avoid further complicating matters by highlighting that fact.