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Mazda’s SkyActiv-X Aims to Give Diesels, Hybrids a Fuel-Efficient Run for the Money

More torque and from 20-30% better mileage could make SkyActiv-X a real breakthrough.

by on Jan.26, 2018

Driving the Mazda3 with a prototype of the SkyActiv-X engine revealed the vehicle's proposed improvements to be true.

It looks like the familiar Mazda3. Well, almost, if you ignore the matte black paint, the jury-rigged gas cap cover and a few other odd retrofits. Inside, there are a couple of plastic tubes sticking out of the air vents that look, oddly enough, like the arms on the robot from the old TV show, “Lost in Space.”

There’s also a tablet computer bolted to the instrument panel that tells you this is more than just a junker someone picked up and patched up so they might have a cheap set of wheels. As we fire up the hatchback the screen displays a big green circle with the number “1” in the middle. But as we pull out of the parking lot another circle lights up, “2” it tells us before a third circle briefly flashes on and off a couple times with the number “3.”

The Last Word!

No, it’s not some sort of upshift warning light. The display is intended to show which mode the hatchback’s engine is operating in. That’s because it’s a prototype version of the new Mazda SkyActiv-X and the more you can keep those twos and threes flashing the more fuel you are saving, explains the Mazda engineer who has come along for an hour-long test drive starting at the Japanese automaker’s U.S. R&D facility in Orange County, California. (more…)