Finally, a Mazda3 that's fun and fuel efficient
For years Mazda has kept its dirty little secret, hiding it away in a clever marketing campaign. You know the one… “zoom zoom”.
All that talk about driving enjoyment really helps sell the brand to enthusiasts, and it’s also not hard to win glowing reviews from auto journalists, who more often than not will overlook a few miles per gallon for a coupe of extra ponies or some half-decent handling.
But the secret is out. For years, Mazdas have delivered poor fuel economy when compared to their rivals. With compacts promising as much as 42-mpg and a 38-mpg highway rating becoming the industry norm, last year’s Mazda3 managed a best of 25/33-mpg. And that was the smaller 2.0-liter engine. Upgrade to the 2.5-liter and you could be talking about numbers as low as 20/28-mpg.
THE FIRST 40-MPG MAZDA
About to become un-sellable in a category quickly being populated by 40-mpg cars, Mazda has developed it’s own green technology and branded it SkyActiv. A marketing buzz-word, in the 2012 Mazda3 it’s used not only to describe a new high fuel efficiency gasoline engine, but also two new transmissions. Later models will get SkyActiv chassis.
The engine itself we were introduced to a few months back when we had the chance to sample some prototypes. Rather than one breakthrough, the powerplant is the result of numerous fuel efficiency upgrades ranging from dual variable valve timing, to direct-injection, while using components that are lighter and with reduced drag. A high 12:1 compression ratio and smaller cylinder bore also ensure quicker (and therefore better) combustion.