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Mazda Joins The 40 MPG Club With The 2012 Mazda3

Posted in Car Buying, Car Tech, Mazda by Kurt Ernst | April 23rd, 2011 | 6 Responses |

The 2012 Mazda3 with SkyActiv technology. Image: Mazda

Forty is the new thirty, at least when it comes to highway fuel economy. Many automakers now have 40 MPG models in their lineup, since staying competitive in the market requires it. Mazda has missed the 40 MPG club, since even their Mazda2 subcompact returned just 35 highway MPG. That changes with the SkyActiv equipped 2012 Mazda3, which is now rated at 40 MPG highway when equipped with Mazda’s six speed automatic transmission. By Mazda’s own numbers, that’s a 21% improvement over the current 2.0-liter MZR engine and five speed automatic transmission.

Best of all is that power goes up with fuel economy. The previous 2.0-liter MZR engine was rated at 148 horsepower and 135 ft lb of torque; the SkyActiv-G engine is rated at 155 horsepower and 148 ft lb of torque. The engine is 4.4 pounds lighter as well, and boasts a higher compression ratio, multi-hole fuel injectors and dual sequential valve timing for maximum efficiency.

There will be a dizzying array of Mazda3 models to choose from in 2012. The current 2.0-liter MZR continues on in the base model, mated to either a five speed manual or five speed automatic. Next up is the SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter engine, which comes with either a six speed manual or a six speed automatic transmission. Mazda’s 2.5-liter MZR engine also remains available in 2012, bolted to a six speed manual or a five speed automatic. Then there’s the Mazdaspeed3, which (as far as I can tell) soldiers on with the current engine and six speed manual transmission.

Mazda’s made some exterior and interior styling changes as well, but the Mazda3 represents their bread and butter, so the automaker won’t make significant changes until the next generation is released with Kodo styling. If you’re in the market for a compact sedan or hatch, chances are that there’s a Mazda3 to fit your needs, taste and budget. If you’re planning on driving all of the 2012 variants, just make sure you put aside a full day to do so.

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6 Responses

  1. J D Stadler says:

    I’m interested to see what their diesel SkyActiv returns. Glad they finally addressed one of their biggest issues, MPG’s.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      I’m just hoping we get the SkyActiv-D on this side of the pond. U.S. emission regulations for diesel cars are the strictest on the planet, worse than the upcoming Euro standards. That’s one reason why so few manufacturers import diesels into the U.S.

  2. PFULMTL says:

    Looking forward to this and it sounds very promising. I think they are doing something great.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      I just hope they don’t shift focus from building drivers cars to making boring, fuel efficient econoboxes.

      • PFULMTL says:

        As long as they don’t make a “Prius hatch” lookalike, or a jelly bean, then it’s all good. I mean from the pics, they already plan to use the Mazda3 hatch and a CX7 size crossover, which is pretty attractive already, so it’s a start.

  3. eddie_357 says:

    the 14:1 compression SkyActiv engine sounds like a major improvment.the ford revoKnucle struts will be a perfect compliment to the Speed3 and glad to see mazda involved with B spec racing,so it looks like they are covering all the bases.