By on June 5, 2019

Mazda fans on this side of the Atlantic will have to wait patiently for their turn, as the innovative Skyactiv-X-powered Mazda 3 now available in Europe won’t show up here for some time.

On Wednesday, the company announced that continental buyers can begin placing orders for models equipped with a Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) 2.0-liter four-cylinder, tossing out fuel economy and power figures along the way.

Deliveries aren’t imminent. Like those in Japan, customers in Europe will have to wait until the fall before their vehicle arrives. Positioned (and priced) above the 2.5-liter Mazda 3 buyers know and love, the Skyactiv-X engine combines spark-controlled gasoline combustion and compression-ignition diesel tech with the aim of making more power and achieving greater fuel economy.

Mazda doesn’t have a single hybrid vehicle in its lineup, remember.

According to Mazda, the new engine makes 178 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque, assisted in its power and MPG goals by an 24-volt M Hybrid mild-hybrid system. Like the model sold in North America, this version of the 3 can be had as a sedan or hatch, front- or all-wheel drive, with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. (U.S. buyers see very limited stick-shift availability; Canadians, not so much.)

As Mazda’s fuel economy figures are drawn from the WLTP test cycle, a direct translation into EPA figures is a best-guess scenario. The newer WLTP cycle is more accurate than figures obtained from the previous NEDC cycle, but it still represents an upward climb from EPA figures. Fifteen percent greater? Eighteen? Twenty? You mileage will indeed vary.

Regardless, the thriftiest Mazda 3 (a manual front-drive sedan with 16-inch wheels) returns a combined 43.6 mpg on the WLTP cycle. Springing for an automatic base sedan brings that figure down to 39.2 mpg, while an AWD automatic hatch with wider 18-inch rubber naturally returns the worst fuel economy — 34.1 mpg.

Accurate North American figures will have to wait. Thus far, the automaker has not nailed down a target date for the Skyactiv-X’s arrival, with Mazda North American Operations CEO Masahiro Moro recently saying the engine is on the company’s roadmap. Mazda plans to introduce the engine in various regions when it feels the timing is right.

Tardy North American engine introductions, of course, are nothing new for Mazda.

[Image: Corey Lewis/TTAC, Mazda]

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27 Comments on “Mazda Launches Skyactiv-X Engine in Europe, Fuel Economy and Power Revealed...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “According to Mazda, the new engine makes 178 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque”

    Mazda gonna Mazda.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    It’s almost as if the development of Internal Combustion Engines like these was the goal of our emission regulations and EV push all along…….

    Bravo Mazda…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So the target market here is sport sedan / entry luxury buyers who prioritize fuel economy over going fast.

    I think this market has about 43 buyers as this is written.

    (Come on, Mazda, just do a 2.0T in the thing already.)

    • 0 avatar

      So more money for less power and more complexity, which is a sorta-hybrid.

      Ehhh.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Seriously, they need to just put the 2.5T from the 6 in it, load it up, make AWD standard, and sell it for about $32,000. That’d be a VERY compelling alternative to something like an ILX, A-class or A3. They keep making noises about being an “entry-lux” brand, but entry-lux cars need performance. Mercedes can get away with charging $40,000 for a 180-hp A-class, but Mazda isn’t Mercedes.

        I have no idea who they’re going to sell this engine to – small-car buyers who are into MPG are going to buy full-on hybrids.

  • avatar
    midwestTDI

    Really like the idea of the combustion since giving up my VW TDI for a Subie Impreza Sport but only 34 mpg for the AWD model?

    Anyone know if this 34 mpg on this scale is something we are familiar with or is there a conversion to a value more relevant to the US?

    As for my 2017 Subie Impreza Sport w/18″ wheels, consistently get 30-32 mpg in normal traffic around town — running A/C 29-30 mpg. Highway driving 35-40 mpg. Winter driving a different story — below 20’F and snow/icy conditions — no worse than 25-26 mpg in town driving. Would sacrifice horsepower and torque for a little more mpg. Happy with the occasional 40 mpg in this AWD Subie for now.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Can’t really make a comparison of euro cycle MPG to US MPG. Too many variables.

      Are we doing our own vehicles? 2013 Taurus. 27mpg driving in rush hour back and forth to work (26mpg in the winter and 28mpg in the summer). 32-38mpg on the highway, depending on speed. Not bad for a car that weighs 1000lbs more than your Subaru and has nearly twice the power.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Current models in the US top out at 30mpg using the 2.5. Not sure if all the mpg figures quoted above assume the mild hybrid system but should still be roughly a 25-30% improvement in fuel economy with the smaller engine and just a bit less power. I dont recall the exact output of the older NA 2.0 but seems about 15% improvement in hp.

    I wonder if the 2.5 could be reworked with sparkless ignition as well. It would be a pretty solid base offering with 200hp and 33-35 mpg.

  • avatar

    I want mine with zoomie headers just like the picture shows.

  • avatar
    whynot

    What does the 2.5 make on the WLTP, or is it not available in Europe?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    OK, I’m gonna attempt a conversion to US EPA numbers. Looking at the German website and it appears that currently there is only the hatchback, with either the 2.0 mild hybrid engine or the 1.8L diesel.

    It looks like the Mazda6 has more comparable trims to what we have in the USA so I’m using the Mazda6.

    Using the German Mazda6 “Exclusive-Line” with the 143KW (comes to about 190hp…very close to our rating of 187hp) Skyaktiv G Automatic transmission. It does come with i-ELOOP and start/stop according to the German website, not sure how this might improve mileage over a USA Mazda6 without these features.

    German Mazda6:
    Kraftstoffverbrauch nach WLTP (kombiniert) (“consumption under WLTP – combined”) 7.4L/100km = 32 MPG US gallons

    Just FYI the “old” german standards shows
    Kraftstoffverbrauch* (innerorts) (“city”): 8.8L/100km = 27 MPG US Gallons
    Kraftstoffverbrauch* (außerorts) (“highway”): 5.4L/100km = 44 MPG US Gallons
    Kraftstoffverbrauch* (kombiniert) (“combined”): 6.7L/100km = 35 MPG US Gallons

    Just using the combined numbers. WLTP 32MPG vs US EPA Combined of 29MPG…. If I’m doing the calculation correct that is US EPA is 9.4% lower than WLTP ( [32-29]/32 ).

    So if we can assume that the US EPA rating would be 9.4% lower than WLTP for the Mazda3

    WLTP / EPA
    43.6 / 39.5
    39.2 / 35.5 (automatic base Mazda3)
    34.1 / 30.9 (automatic AWD hatchback Mazda3)

    Current ratings for the Skyactiv-G Mazda 3 in the USA:
    Base Automatic Sedan: 30MPG combined (vs 35.5 Skyactiv-X…18.3% increase
    AWD Automatic Hatch: 27MPG Combined (vs 30.9 Skyactiv-X)… 14.4% increase

    Not bad, but nothing mind blowing either. Now if the X has more power/torque better to drive, that is a bonus. If the X requires premium fuel, that is a negative. I’d also be curious to see what real-world numbers come to. The Mazda Skyactiv-G is I believe much more efficient real-world than the EPA numbers. Consumer Reports recorded 42MPG actual on the highway in an automatic Mazda6 vs EPA rating of 35. If the Skyactiv-X can duplicate that it might be more impressive.

    Unfortunately for USA buyers I am not sure people here just care about that fuel savings for an engine that makes similar horsepower. Again, maybe driveability is better but the engine is surely more complex and expensive, I’m sure more $ to purchase, etc.

    Good for Europe or other places with expensive fuel or high taxes but in the USA I just don’t see it. They need a more powerful engine, not a similar power engine with better MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      Jerome10

      Missed time to edit…

      USA Highway Mileage with same increases applied…

      Base Automatic Sedan: 35MPG EPA Highway Skyactiv-G = 41.4 MPG Skyactiv-X (18.3% increase)

      AWD Automatic Hatch: 32MPG EPA Highway Skyactiv-G = 36.6 MPG Skyactiv-X (14.4% increase)

      Again, I know these are just estimates, nothing official, but a base mazda3 with a fancy engine at 41.4mpg isn’t highly impressive. For example a Toyota Camry L with 4cyl and 8speed auto is rated 41mpg highway by the EPA.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I agree, nobody in the US is going to buy fuel economy these days, at least not from Mazda. I was hoping they could apply the Skyactive-X treatment to the 2.5 so we could see both power and economy increases over the current engines without turbo. I am not sure if the iEloop is the same mechanism as the mild hybrid in this story, but the article made it seem as though it was standard equipment in Europe where it is an option here seldom checked I would think. At least i-Eloop was optional on select trims last I looked.

      This is all wonderful news, but I think Mazda could enhance the drivability and economy of their entire fleet with a new transmission with 8 speeds or greater. I gotta believe it is coming and actually surprised its not here yet.

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        With sales plummeting every month – a new engine with higher cost WON’T CUT IT
        They need a new ad company and better marketing to save Mazda
        Turbo engine won’t help either except for a few hundred enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Thanks for this math. Let’s put it all in context though. At 15K miles a year, going from 30 to 35.5 MPG at $2.795/gallon will save you a whopping $230 a year. Less than $20 a month or $5 a week. I’d wager the added cost of this engine will add close to that to a lease/monthly payment back.

      And this is with a hybrid system………

      Would it have been so awful for Mazda to just have slapped their regular Skyactiv engines on to a Toyota HSD? They have the partnership already and Toyota is a willing hybrid partner. Toyota has even managed to convincingly simulate gearshifts in their latest higher end iteration. They could have designed around integrating a battery into the new platform. Missed opportunity

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’ve been curiously excited about this powerplant and cant wait for Real MPG testing and acceleration data. I could see myself in an AWD 6 with this motor possibly next gen cx5( if larger) for my daily. While alot of car companies are tip toeing into electrification (see above article about Jag and Bmw) this makes so much more practical sense for those of us infrastructure challenged.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    And with a first winter now In the books, Tesla 3 has displaced Mazda as corrosion queen of the salt belt.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mazda should stop making announcements, because they don’t seem to be helping.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The announcements aren’t the problem, it’s what they are announcing.

      For the scrappy, elegantly simple underdog Mazda has presented itself to be, they seem to have gained an appetite for needless complexity and waste. Skyactiv-D has proven to be an expensive road to nowhere with Skyactiv-X not far behind. I still don’t understand why they didn’t just leverage Toyota’s hybrid tech and keep their existing engines.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Mazda has had a distinguishing feature since, well, the Wankel: propitious announcements concerning engine tech w/ scant follow through

    I doubt Mazda because of its history and I’d bet its premium car Hail Mary will prove abortive. I suspect it will be absorbed by the Borg/Toyota collective which will remove what’s left of its personality.

  • avatar

    We do not really need all these complications. 2.0L displacement most likely related to the engine displacement taxation in Europe.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    Mazda went with only a 24 volt instead of the standard 48 volt lithium battery pack! Cost cutting at it best here!


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