Mazda strongly commits to making the best combustible car engines on the market. Whereas other car manufacturers approach fuel-efficiency by downsizing engines, Mazda's approach has leaned more towards large-capacity, naturally aspirated motors for fuel-efficiency. At Walker's Renton, we provide new and used cars with expertise in Mazda vehicles. Here’s our guide to SKYACTIV-X and how it works.

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What's so special about the SKYACTIV-X engine?


In a bid to maximize fuel efficiency, there has been a movement towards creating smaller engines. The logic behind this is that smaller engines use less fuel. Unfortunately, their smaller size also means less power, and the power deficit is offset by the addition of turbocharging. 

Mazda engines take a different, more intelligent route in a bid to conserve fuel. The brand strongly believes that the right-sized engines were well-built to the size of the vehicle, but that they could be adequately powered without the need for forced induction. 

The car manufacturing industry has always tried to fuse the most fuel-economical diesel engine technology with the best quality gasoline engine, which offers a high revving response. Mercedes Benz tried for many years and did not quite get there.

With the pioneering SKYACTIV-X engine, Mazda has made possible what was once considered futuristic. That is, producing the world's first gasoline engine that uses compression ignition. In theory, this revolutionary engine borrows from the world of diesel to offer a driver the best of two worlds. The fuel efficiency and low-down torque of diesel working in tandem with the high revving characteristic of petrol.

The SKYACTIV-X engine perfomance 

To begin with, the SKYACTIV-X engine is featured only in the Mazda3. According to Mazda, when you compare the SKYACTIV-G engine and the SKYACTIV-X engine, the fuel efficiency of SKYACTIV-X is 20% better than the former. Depending on the rpm, the engine also has 30% more torque. To be fair, the Mazda3 model may not match the downsized alternatives on a fuel efficiency test, but in real life, driving a Mazda 3 is generally very economical. 


The reason for marked efficiency in the SKYACTIV-X engine is because of Mazda’s technology known as SPCCI (Spark Controlled Compression Ignition). This Mazda proprietary combustion method enables fluid transmission between spark ignition and compression ignition. The technology allows the best of two world's to exist in one engine achieving revolutionary and unprecedented engine performance including:

  • Sharp engine response

  • Higher fuel efficiency

  • Cleaner emissions

So what is the big deal about compression ignition? 

Well, this is where the complexity of car engines sets in. But to keep it sweet and simple, compression ignition is how diesel fuel ignites within an engine. In comparison to their conventional petrol engine counterparts, where a spark plug sparks the ignition of the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder, the diesel ignition processes differ because they feature no spark plug.

Combustion occurs as pistons almost reach the end of a compression stroke and fuel is injected into a combustion chamber full of compressed hot air. The process has proven to be more fuel-efficient and explains why diesel has always been regarded as a more efficient fuel. At no point in history has a manufacturer succeeded in seamlessly getting the two ignition methods to work seamlessly in any car engine. 

But now, Mazda has done it. That's a big deal for the motoring world!

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The Mazda3 design and comfort

2020 Mazda3 Base Hatchback

As mentioned earlier, the SKYACTIV-X engine is for the moment only offered in the Mazda3. Buyers can choose from either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearboxes. You can also opt to have the car as a front-or all-wheel drive. The car design is sleek and futuristic with undertones of subtle class. That goes for both the exterior look as well as the interior.

 The Mazda3 is a hatchback with an interior that looks bigger than it actually is (perhaps the biggest drawback in the car’s overall design). A buyer can have the interior as black for a classy look or choose amongst several choice color schemes that contrast well with the dash such as red or gray. 

You’ll also notice that the Mazda3 air conditioning is not placed in the center, as is the case with most Mazda models. They appear on the side of the dashboard for a cool, old-school touch. 

The seat architecture is very comfortable and suited for ultra comfort when driving for short or long-distance drives. The seat re-design keeps the pelvis upright and helps maintain the spine’s natural "s" course. 

Driving a SKYACTIV-X engine

The driving experience of the new Mazda3’s SKYACTIV-X engine is an absolute pleasure. The engine and SPCCI technology both switch seamlessly from spark ignition to be compression ignition. To understand when and what ignition is at play in your driving experience, the Mazda3 has a monitor on the dash that allows you to see which of the two ignitions the car is running on at various stages of the drive. 

For those who love their car with a manual gearbox or automatic transmission, the Mazda3 offers you either. Both options can also be purchased as a two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Although the car accelerates well, it’s not outright sporty because of the fuel-efficiency aspect. However, it does have impeccable balance and sensitivity making the drive amazing and you can pick up and maintain speed with ease. 


2019 Mazda3 Preferred Package

The SKYACTIV-X Mazda engine has for long been waited for as the future of efficient and green motoring. Well, here is no need to wait any longer because the future is already here thanks to Mazda. Vehicle enthusiasts will quickly see that the Mazda 3 is right up there with the premium VW golf. The Mazda3 is now available in leading show rooms. Check it out here at Walker’s Renton Mazda.

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