WHAT’S SKYACTIV-X LIKE TO DRIVE?
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