Mazda is making significant changes to its powertrain platform, starting with the 2012 Mazda 3 sedan and hatch grabbing the spotlight at the New York Auto Show. Subtle styling changes are in store, as well.
The grinning grille has a somewhat reduced happiness quotient, but the big news is that the 3 receives the first application of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology.
SKYACTIV is the official name for a whole suite of technology and powertrain packages that aim to improve fuel economy – without having to resort to hybridization or related battery-based technologies.
In the case of the 2012 Mazda3, SKYACTIV-G is the name of the game. This 2.0-liter four-cylinder direct-injection engine makes 155 horsepower and mates to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Available on both the sedan and hatchback models, the engine could produce up to 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway when paired with the automatic, according to Mazda.
The 148-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 167-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder carryover unchanged. So does the Mazdaspeed 3.
There are other changes, such as a stiffer body structure. But otherwise, outside the new engine and the slightly changed styling, the 3’s changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
The car goes on sale this fall, and pricing will be announced closer to that time.
Mazda’s other big news was two-fold: The company expects to bring a diesel engine using SKYACTIV technology to the American market during the next year or so, and the company also plans to build the Minagi crossover SUV, which will be renamed the CX-5. (For more, Click Here.)
Details are sparse, but we expect to see this CUV in calendar 2012 sporting SKYACTIV engines (including, perhaps, a diesel) and available 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
Right now, the Minagi is a styling exercise, but with the exception of a few outlandish bits, it looks showroom-ready. We expect to see it positioned below the larger CX-7 and CX-9 crossovers in Mazda’s fleet.