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Mazda refines lineup with SkyActiv technology

Wed, 20 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0700

It turns out Mazda isn't simply shooting for the sky. Rather, the protagonists of zoom-zoom driving dynamics are taking an active approach to the brand's DNA: Put it all together, and it's called “SkyActiv.” Mazda is billing the suite of technologies as the pillars of its way forward.

Much of these features--which enhance future products in nearly all areas including engine, transmission and chassis--have already been revealed. But Mazda announced today that the SkyActiv name will be the banner it flies from now on.

The first car to get SkyActiv technology will be the Mazda 2, starting in 2011. Mazda is using SkyActiv features to fortify its product lineup as fuel-efficiency and lightweight cars becoming increasingly important in global markets. Here's a look at what's to come.

SkyActiv-G is perhaps the easiest to comprehend. It's an efficient, direct-injection gasoline engine (hence the G), that has a compression ratio of 14.0:1 without unusual knocking. Mazda says this is the highest in the world. Fuel efficiency is improved 15 percent.

SkyActiv-D is the diesel powerplant. It has the same compression ratio as its gasoline counterpart but employs a two-stage turbocharger. The engine improves fuel economy 20 percent.

SkyActiv-Drive is the slush box. It's Mazda's new automatic transmission that helps fuel economy by 4 percent to 7 percent.

SkyActiv-MT is for enthusiasts. Take a guess--what do you think the MT stands for? This manual transmission offers short, crisp shifts and aims to bring a sports-car feel to more mundane front-wheel drive, front-engined cars.

SkyActiv-Body Sounds like a hydrating soap, no? This offers high rigidity--to the tune of 30 percent more--and is 8 percent lighter.

The SkyActiv-Chassis improves handling while reducing weight 14 percent compared with the previous version.

Will all of this work for Mazda? If SkyActiv becomes as ingrained in the vocabularies of enthusiasts as zoom-zoom has, look out.

By Greg Migliore