Mazda plans to fully integrate its SKYACTIV technologies — a collection of highly efficient engines, transmissions and platforms — into its lineup over the next couple of years; the first of them, an engine and transmission, is leading the charge in the 2012 Mazda3.
|The 2012 Mazda3 is the first model to integrate the SKYACTIV technologies. (Photo: Charles Renny/Auto123.com)
As in the past, Mazda brings two Mazda3 models to market for 2012, a four-door sedan and the five-door Mazda3 Sport. Both get freshened up for 2012 after a significant overhaul in 2010. The standard powertrain continues to be a 2.0L inline-4 with a 5-speed manual gearbox (a 5-speed automatic is optional).
The Mazda3 GS-SKY
version gets the all-new 2.0L SKYACTIV direct-injection engine whose power is significantly better than the base engine, producing 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic. As good as its power improvements are, the most significant achievement is an improvement in fuel economy from the engine alone of about 20 per cent.
Mazda achieved this by developing not just friction-reducing engine components, but also a proprietary piston dish design that seems to do what everyone said can’t be done — produce higher horsepower and torque along with significantly improved driveability and fuel economy.
Not content to stop there, Mazda engineers developed a new 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic that deliver an additional 6 per cent improvement in fuel economy by itself. This makes the 2012 SKYACTIV Mazda3 Sport competitive with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf TDI
and Ford Focus
Note that only the GS-SKY trim of the Mazda3 and Mazda3 Sport are available with the SKYACTIV engine; the base 2.0L engine still equips GX and GS versions, while the GT keeps its 167-hp, 2.5L four.
|The all-new 2.0L SKYACTIV direct-injection engine whose power is significantly better than the base engine, producing 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. (Photo: Charles Renny/Auto123.com)