WHAT’S SKYAC­TIV-X LIKE TO DRIVE?

Auto Car (UK) - - NEWS -

Mazda says Skyac­tiv-x en­gines com­bine the econ­omy and torque of a diesel en­gine with the per­for­mance of a petrol unit — and an early test of a de­vel­op­ment en­gine hinted at a unit com­bin­ing diesel and petrol char­ac­ter­is­tics.

We drove man­ual and au­to­matic ver­sions of de­vel­op­ment cars fea­tur­ing the 2.0-litre Skyac­tiv-x en­gine and new plat­form, housed in the shell of the cur­rent Mazda 3. The en­gines we tried were fresh from Ja­pan and per­for­mance data wasn’t avail­able, with speed lim­ited to 100mph.

At lower speeds, the new en­gine sounded and be­haved more like a diesel, oc­ca­sion­ally rough, per­haps re­flect­ing that it is still be­ing re­fined. But once up to speed, it be­came smoother and qui­eter like a petrol unit, yet still with notable torque. Even in sixth gear, it could ac­cel­er­ate from rel­a­tively low speeds. The auto ver­sion tested was no­tably smoother and more re­spon­sive than the man­ual.

Af­ter the test, Mazda used com­puter sim­u­la­tion to map my driv­ing style in the pro­to­type against the per­for­mance of a reg­u­lar 3 to pro­duce a fuel econ­omy com­par­i­son, which sug­gested a 14% im­prove­ment in fuel econ­omy. We had no way of ver­i­fy­ing that fig­ure but it would, if true, in­di­cate the po­ten­tial of this tech­nol­ogy.

Attwood drove man­ual and auto Skyac­tiv-x cars

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