Among the bundle of SkyActiv technology in the updated Mazda6 range is a component the company calls ‘Natural Sound Smoother’. No, it has nothing to do with the car’s audio system. Rather it quietens down the clatter from the four-cylinder 2.2-litre diesel variant.
It sits inside each hollow piston pin and absorbs vibrations generated by the piston going up and down through its stroke. It works with a sidekick, ‘Natural Sound Frequency Control’. Mazda is keeping mum about both, but popular opinion has it that they have noise-cancelling DNA.
Mazda first introduced the Natural Sound package last year in the CX-3, where it was a Japan-only option in the compact SUV’s 1.5-litre SkyActiv diesel unit. It has now graduated to the bigger diesel in the Mazda6 and is part of upgrades to the mid-sized line-up in New Zealand, all without a hike in price from a base model $43,795.
The Mazda6 is already an award winner in NZ – has it again upped its game? ”There are times when you wonder if it’s possible to make the Mazda6 better than it already is,” said Mazda NZ managing director Andrew Clearwater.
“But this update has done exactly that. The team focused on refining the pleasure of driving by enhancing smoothness, reducing noise and increasing safety, which have all come together superbly.”
Inside, there’s an improved driver display function and redesigned switches. The steering wheel is new, too, for better grip and feel. Changes under the skin improve ride comfort and noise, vibration and harshness levels, says Mazda.
New active safety measures include G-Vectoring Control (GVC), which controls engine torque based on the driver’s steering and acceleration inputs and is stage one of Mazda’s new SkyActiv dynamics package.
”The continual advancement in SkyActiv technology enables us to deliver these upgrades to Mazda drivers, ultimately enhancing their lives with a safer and more luxurious drive,” said Clearwater.
Other safety improvements concern smarter braking and hazard recognition technology. A camera up front watches for potential collisions and can now automatically apply the brakes and stop the car between 4km/h and 80km/h. Another camera recognises traffic and speed limit signs, including ‘Stop’ and ‘No Entry’.
Thicker glass in the front doors and better sealing of the doors themselves helps to cut down on road noise getting into the cabin. That and the use of more noise-absorbing materials throughout.