Mazda has come to the north offering first drives of the new Mazda 3 equipped with its revolutionary SkyActiv X engine in an event staged at Bowcliffe Hall near Leeds.
The Mazda 3 is already a firm favourite among the Northern Group, with the attractive hatchback model one of our six category finalists for 2019 Car of the Year. However the event isn’t about the car, but the engine.
SkyActiv X is the first of its kind, combining the best bits of a petrol engine with the best bits of a diesel engine (SkyActiv G and D respectively, in Mazda’s nomenclature) to produce something better than the sum of its parts.
The technology is all centred on how the fuel and air interact and ignite during combustion. A petrol engine introduces a “homogenised” mixture of fuel and air into the chamber, and ignites it with a spark, while a diesel engine compresses fuel until it ignites and allows it to burn and consume air.
In SkyActiv X, there’s still a petrol/air mix but it is ignited by a mixture of a spark and compression, in a process called homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI). Along with a supercharger providing as much air as the process needs, it gives a leaner and more fuel-efficient burn.
For the Mazda 3, the SkyActiv X engine is a two-litre, four cylinder unit providing 178hp. Mazda provided both hatchback and saloon models with the X engine for invited journalists, including several Northern Group member.
We’ll add links to our members’ test drives below as soon as we receive them.