New Mazda 3 Will Debut in LA With Holy Grail Skyactiv-X Engine

Photo: Mazda

Mazda just confirmed that the new Mazda 3, with its fancy Spark Controlled Compression Ignition Engine called Skyactiv-X, will debut at the LA Auto Show in about three weeks. And it will be a mild hybrid, according to Automotive News Europe.

The Skyactiv-X engine works by using a process that Mazda calls Spark Controlled Compression Ignition—essentially a spark plug lighting off a localized rich mixture of fuel and air to create a fireball that compresses the lean mixture throughout the rest of the cylinder, yielding spontaneous ignition. It’s a fascinating concept that promises the efficiency of a diesel engine, but with far lower emissions, and it’s finally making its way into a production car.


In Los Angeles on Nov. 28, Mazda’s showing off the all-new Mazda 3, which will get new styling based on Mazda’s KODO design language (see Mazda’s teaser above), and will ride on an all-new platform that promises improved driver comfort, among other changes over the outgoing car.

But the big difference is the engine, which will be the first mass-produced production gasoline compression engine on the market. I had a chance to drive a prototype Mazda 3 with this Skyactiv-X engine and found it to feel fairly normal in most conditions, though I did notice some knocking under some conditions.

But Mazda plans to refine the rough edges of the engine using a motor generator unit like the one shown above, with Automotive News Europe writing:

Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto, talking about the car here ahead of its unveiling, said the strategy is to mate the Skyactiv-X engine to a mild-hybrid system. Marshaling the electric motor’s power-assist ability will ensure linear acceleration and spirited driving, Marumoto said.


“Skyactiv-X is a very efficient engine in the first place, so we don’t need a full hybrid. Mild hybrid is good enough,” Marumoto said. “And by using the mild-hybrid system, linear driving dynamics can be pursued as well.”


The news source cites Marumoto as stating that the new Mazda 3 will get the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G found in the current lineup, as well as the Skyactiv-X engine, which will be a 2.0-liter mild hybrid, and will “be positioned as the higher grade.” Marumoto also allegedly told the site that the Skyactiv-X-equipped car will have the same driving dynamics of the 2.5-liter, but it will offer the fuel economy of a 1.5-liter diesel.

“The arrival of all-new Mazda 3 marks the beginning of a whole new generation of Mazda cars,” Mazda says in its press release.


I’m excited to see how this thing turned out, and how the company improved the prototype I drove in August of last year. More importantly, I’m interested in seeing the official EPA fuel economy figures, which I assume won’t be out until well after the car’s debut.

Share This Story

About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio