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Mal Flynn tests Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X engine technology in the Mazda 3 hatch at its international launch.

We all know that X means buried treasure in the world of children’s book pirates, but it’s looking like it could hold similar relevance for what lies under the bonnet of future Mazdas.

We first officially heard about Mazda’s industry-leading Skyactiv-X technology at the brand’s Global Tech Forum in Germany two years ago, but now we’ve ventured back to Germany to drive it in production form ahead of its Australian arrival aboard a new flagship version of the Mazda3 early next year.

No other manufacturer has managed to productionise compression ignition for a petrol engine, and with an underlying intention to make the combustion engine work better for everyday driving, in the face of the electric-focus of all other global brands, this could be the most exciting technological development of my career.

Why invest so much in combustion engines if every other major brand is beginning to treat them like yesterday’s news? While the Japanese government predicts that 52 per cent of new cars sold in 2030 will use some form of electrification in their drivetrain, the same data suggests 90 per cent will still use an internal combustion engine as at least an element of their drivetrain. That’s 90 per cent of the market, more than a decade from now.

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Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.


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23 Replies to “Mazda 3 2020 review: Skyactiv-X”

  1. I’m actually obsessed with this car , I’ve always been obsessed with the Range Rover evoque but it’s obviously more expensive however this Mazda is so simple yet sleek and looks very nice and not like a typical car I’m obsessed

  2. I feel like this engine isn't all that astonishing. Seen some reviews about it and the fuel consumption isn't that different from the Skyactive G too.

  3. These Aussie reviewers are a littlebit Fast&Furius, measured 48.7 UK MPG, which is 5,8l/100km.
    Maybe are rather normal blokes…

  4. There's another review of this new engine. The guy says its not really as great as mazda say when it comes to power and fuel efficiency.

  5. Disappointing 8.9 sec 0-100 km/h for the AWD/AT version plus a not very attractive business leasing rate made me finally change to a GTI TCR which is about 20% more expensive, but about 15% cheaper on a monthly leasing rate. Guess VW needs to get rid of the last Golf 7s before the new model enters the market later this year, but except for the nice design of the Mazda 3 I could not really find any reason why I should have gone for the Skyactive X.

  6. Frankly this video is 95% stuff I can read on the Mazda site and only 5% driving impressions. How loud is it? How much fuel does it consume? How's the driving characteristics? You've come all the way to Europe to tell preciously little. I mean, you drove the thing…..

  7. Strange that Australia is getting Euro spec engine when Mazda has previously used NA market designs (lower compression, fewer fuel economy gadgets). AFAIK 91 RON is still the most common fuel in Australia, as with North America (as 87 AKI). I can only imagine this is because Mazda wants to get the car to market quickly in Australia where the US spec engine is still a ways off.

    It's disappointing that Mazda seemingly hasn't followed through on the concept of using more aggressive gearing afforded to the SkyActiv-X engine by its wider fuel efficiency band.

  8. Great info on this new model. I've never been that keen on 'frog bum' cars (hatch backs) but for some reason this new Mazda 3 hatch looks good.

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