Mazda SkyActiv technology an AutoWeek Flash Drive Car Review

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Automotive News

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What is it?

coming SkyActiv technology is not a couple of engines, a torque or a transmission—it is a whole new, efficient way of engineering cars.

While every carmaker is going to have to make cars, hybrids and maybe fuel cells, Mazda that, for the more or less future, we’re going to using internal combustion. So tweaked the heck out of internal-combustion that have been in for more than 100 years, up with solutions that you wonder why no one else has done stuff.


The neatest of the technologies we saw was the of engines, one gasoline and one diesel, and the thing about them is the ratios. Both gasoline and engines will get compression of 14:1.

Yes, 14:1.

start with the gasoline While a normal gasoline gets a compression ratio of 10:1 (even a Ferrari 458 has only 12.5:1), Mazda soon offer 14:1. At outside of the United States. of our insistence on regular gasoline or Mazda SkyActiv gasoline in the United States will have a 13:1 ratio.

And the first application of this, the 3 this fall, will only 12:1 because the 4-2-1 longer exhaust won’t fit into the current 3. But at 12:1, it’s still cool stuff.

Normally compression would result in or knock, blowing holes in The longer 4-2-1 header backflow and reduces the amount of hot gas getting back into the chamber, which in turn temperature and helps prevent The lower temp mixes the air and more completely.

A uniquely piston crown also As a result, torque goes up by 15 from 1,000 rpm to 4,000 and fuel economy goes up 15 to 40 mpg highway. Peak output for the gasoline engines we drove was 165 hp and 155 of torque.

The diesel is different. Diesels high compression of about to operate efficiently, right? But found that by lowering to 14:1, the fuel and air could mix and therefore burn more

High-pressure, multihole piezo a two-stage turbo and variable timing on the exhaust further up combustion. Oxides of nitrogen and are both lower than in a diesel without requiring injection.

For more on these visit www.mazda.com/mazdaspirit/skyactiv/engine/skyactiv-d.html.

Torque is to new transmissions. The SkyActiv-Drive automatic has a torque converter that up quicker and more often. The manual has a shorter-throw shifter and a efficient routing of torque the gearsets.

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Other SkyActiv include a lighter, tighter and greater use of aluminum in the suspension. The 6 -size platforms we drove are 220 lighter by efficiently designing the and adding more high-strength

What is it like to drive?

We got to some new SkyActiv gasoline and powertrains packaged inside riveted-together engineering mules called Technology Prototype or TPVs) sporting the bodywork of Mazda 6 sedans and the chassis and of new SkyActiv vehicles that we were Mazda 6-size. The thing we noticed was that the new converter on the automatic did, make for faster, tighter both up and down. It rivals automatics but with greater

The manual shifter felt and tight, too, though we quite get the promised the feel of an

The 2.2-liter diesel engine beyond its incredible 5,200-rpm and pulled strong the whole Most conventional diesels off much sooner. The diesel 310 lb-ft of torque from rpm and 173 hp at 4,500 rpm.

It felt as strong as the conventional Mazda 6 we also piloted. says the SkyActiv-D makes 20 better fuel economy, It still had that somewhat diesel sound to it, though.

The SkyActiv-G gasoline engine felt about as strong as the 2.5-liter in a Mazda 6 we got to drive

Do I want one?

The proof in the will be fuel mileage—which we able to measure on our short engine durability. Mazda the difference in fuel efficiency 13:1 and 14:1 compression in the engine is a minor impact and even with regular fuel economy is still 12 percent and 13 percent better. Mazda will actually 14:1 diesels and 13:1 engines will also to be seen.

But this early at such potentially revolutionary for everyday cars is highly

Engineers said the cost of technology is no more than cars, too.

The Mazda 3 get a 2.0-liter SkyActiv gasoline this fall, perhaps as as October. The new Mazda CX-5 get it next, in early 2012. for SkyActiv-D diesel engines in 2012 or early 2013.

And not all.

This is the first an engineer said. We’ve started on the next stages.

You can Mark Vaughn at mvaughn@crain.com .

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Mazda Electric Cars

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