DIESEL will be added to the Mazda 3 engine option range from September.
Since being launched earlier this year, the all new Mazda3 has propelled the Japanese carmaker back into the number one position. It remains the most popular car in Australia, and was comfortably ahead of the Toyota Corolla on figures released last month.
But the new diesel will add some extra grunt to the range.
Using the same 2.2-litre Skyactiv oil-burner, which powers the Mazda 6 and CX-5, the new Mazda 3 XD Astina will generate 129 kilowatts and a hefty 420Nm of torque.
Available as a hatchback only, the diesel will be available with a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic - the latter is expected to bolster its appeal given previous diesel models were only available as manuals.
Fuel economy is quoted at 5.0 litres for every 100km.
While frugal, that figure is not as thrifty as the 4.1 litres/100km average achieved by the diesel '3 in the UK. But the model we will receive has much more torque and power, making this an athletic addition to the range.
Pricing is yet to be released, but given the high level of specification, expect above $35,000 given the petrol SP25 Astina starts from $36,190. If pricing gets close to $40,000, it will position the Mazda 3 up against some hot hatches including the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Mazda's innovative i-Eloop regenerative braking system, seen previously on the Mazda 6, will also make its Mazda 3 debut on the new XD Astina. The system harnesses braking energy to help power the electronics which also helps cut fuel use.
Diesel models are differentiated by the Skyactiv-D badging and a unique red trim to the chrome signature wing on the front grille.
"Diesel is a core part of Mazda's technology strategy and it's great to add the Skyactiv-D engine to our best-selling Mazda 3 range," Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak said.
"The Skyactiv-D has been well received in both Mazda 6 and CX-5 and it'll offer something very special when it arrives in the lighter and smaller Mazda 3.
"It's our goal to produce cars for people who really enjoy driving and the new Mazda 3 XD Astina will deliver on that promise."
According to VFACTS data, up until the start of this month the Mazda 3 had secured 15,174 sales this year, with the Toyota Corolla on 13,647.