Mazda3 de­buts en­gine for petrol and diesel heads

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL LAUNCH

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

Imag­ine you could com­bine the best fea­tures of a petrol and a diesel into one en­gine. Well, Mazda says it has, with the in­tro­duc­tion of its gamechang­ing new Sky­ac­tiv-X mo­tor which pre­miered in the all-new Mazda3 un­veiled at the LA Auto Show last week, and will reach SA in the sec­ond half of 2019.

Mazda said the Sky­ac­tiv-X would be the world’s first com­mer­cial petrol en­gine to use com­pres­sion ig­ni­tion.

The tech­nol­ogy break­through of Spark-Con­trolled Com­pres­sion Ig­ni­tion (SCCI) com­bines the ad­van­tages of petrol and diesel en­gines to im­prove ef­fi­ciency. It uses a com­bi­na­tion of spark ig­ni­tion (as in a petrol en­gine) and com­pres­sion ig­ni­tion (as in a diesel).

Sky­ac­tiv-X is said to be up to 30% more fuel ef­fi­cient than reg­u­lar petrol en­gines, though ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tions have yet to be re­leased. Ei­ther way, it’s an en­gi­neer­ing mas­ter­stroke.

Whether you pick the five­door hatch or four-door sedan, the new Mazda3 cer­tainly is a looker. Steal­ing de­sign cues from the re­cent Mazda Kai Con­cept, it blends sharp lines and swoop­ing curves to help it stand out from its ri­vals. The de­sign­ers have also made the A-pil­lars as slim as pos­si­ble to help re­duce blind spots when nav­i­gat­ing through ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments.

To make the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as stress-free as pos­si­ble, Mazda adopted a min­i­mal­is­tic in­te­rior with very lit­tle clut­ter to dis­tract driv­ers.

Switchgear has been kept to a min­i­mum, with all of the car’s main con­trols ac­ces­si­ble through a user-friendly Mazda Con­nect in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. Ex­pect full Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto com­pat­i­bil­ity.

Er­gonomics were also fac­tored in. As such, the gear lever has moved closer to the steer­ing wheel for faster shift­ing.

The new Mazda3 is built upon an all-new plat­form known as Sky­ac­tiv Ve­hi­cle Ar­chi­tec­ture. Ac­cord­ing to Mazda, this makes the car feel “as nat­u­ral and stress-free as walk­ing on your own two feet”.

Apart from the clever new Sky­ac­tiv-X en­gine, the new range will also be pow­ered by Sky­ac­tiv-G petrol mo­tors (1.5, 2.0 and 2.5), plus a Sky­ac­tiv-D 1.8 diesel.

Purists will be pleased to hear there will still be a man­ual gear­box on of­fer, although at this stage we can’t say what en­gine it will be paired to.

Left and be­low: The new Mazda3 is cer­tainly a looker, with a cock­tail of sharp lines and swoop­ing curves.

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