QOTD: What Is Up With Efficient Engine Nomenclature?

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Starting with the redesigned 2013 Accord, Honda will introduce its new, ultra-efficient/more powerful Earth Dreams engine lineup. And it’s far from the most silly moniker attached to automotive technology.

Acura, of course, had their Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive. If you’ve ever watched a Japanese market product video on Youtube (or, if you’re the at Kreindlers, pulled a dusty VHS tape off the basement bookshelf), you know that it would sound great being barked out by an overly enthusiastic Japanese-speaking narrarator, but sounds slightly absurd when processed by a North American ear.

By far the silliest is “Skyactiv”, from Mazda. The technology behind it is great; ultra efficient engines, light weight and automatic gearboxes that are actually enjoyable. But is it spelled “SKYACTIV”, “Skyactiv” or “SKYActiv”. Why the name? What does it mean? At least, on the American front, “Ecoboost” is pretty descriptive, even if its more “Boost” than “Eco”.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Redav Redav on Aug 02, 2012

    "Skyactiv" is a great moniker. First, remember that "blue" is Japan's "green." That's why the Lexus CT200h uses a blue dash tint for the eco mode. It's why Mazda uses blue engine covers. But why do they associate "blue" with the environment when "green" obviously relates to healthy plants? The SKY! But the sky has more connotations than merely being blue when the air is clean & clear. It is a universal symbol of the limitless. It is great expanse without end. Man dreams of flight. Ever since Icarus (and undoubtedly before), the theme of reaching the sky is equated to overcoming all human limitations. The imagery is ubiquitous. Even Terminator's "Skynet" plays on the symbolism. "Active" is more obvious. It's "Zoom-soom," or the emotion of motion. It isn't stationary or lethargic. It's going places, doing things. Put those two messages together, and it boldly & concisely conveys Mazda's vision.

    • Raded Raded on Aug 03, 2012

      So why did they drop the E at the end of "active"?

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Aug 02, 2012

    Besides, we can shorten Earth Dreams to ED. Wait, that conjures up images of a little blue pill, not blue technology.

  • Raded Raded on Aug 03, 2012

    I've been driving a Mazda3 for a month and I've already gotten a few "What the hell is a Skyactiv?" questions. My JDM side wants to pop off the badges and slap an "Axela" badge on the back of it.

  • Bumpy ii Bumpy ii on Aug 03, 2012

    Somewhere in a gray room with the window shades drawn, Panther cultists are wondering where their Twinforce Town Car is.