The evolution of the more than 120-year-old internal combustion engine continues unabated, this time through the local introduction of Mazda’s SkyActiv technology.
It is made available to South African car buyers through the launch of the new CX-5 sports-utility vehicle (SUVs), using a two-litre engine which Mazda says will increase fuel efficiency by around 15%, cut emissions by the same margin, while also delivering a 15% increase in torque compared with the two-litre engine used in the current Mazda6.
“I think SkyActiv technology will make a difference for Mazda in the market,” says Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) marketing, sales and service VP Dean Stoneley.
FMCSA distributes Mazda in South Africa.
In cold, hard numbers, the CX-5 delivers 200 Nm of torque at 4 000 rpm, boasting a city/highway fuel consumption of 6.8 l/100 km for the manual model and 6.9 l/100 km for the automatic version.
The current two-litre Mazda6 engine uses 7.9 l/100 km, delivering 187 Nm of torque.
Comparing the vehicle with other similar-sized SUVs, Mazda marketing manager Doreen Mashinini notes that Mazda beats the fuel consumption of most of the vehicles the Japanese vehicle manufacturer views as its local competition, such as the Toyota RAV4, by more than a litre per 100 km.
So, what is SkyActiv technology?
It is a blanket term under which Mazda groups its next-generation engines, new transmissions and new light-weight body and chassis developments aimed at improving the average fuel economy of its vehicles by 30% from 2008 to 2015 – while still costing less than a hybrid.
Much of the thinking behind the technology is that 70% to 80% of the energy contained in the fuel in vehicles using conventional internal combustion engines is lost within the powertrain and fails to be transferred as motive power to its wheels.
The compression ratio is a central feature in SkyActiv technology. It is extraordinarily high at 13:1, thanks to a newly-designed exhaust system and special pistons that resolve the challenges associated with high compression. As a result, the SkyActiv petrol engine has considerably less internal friction than a standard two-litre petrol engine.
SkyActiv bodies are also lighter, but offer more rigidity, through the increased use of tensile steel in the body. The chassis of the CX-5 is, for example, 14% lighter than that of the Mazda6.
The Mazda CX-5 is the first production model featuring the full range of SkyActiv technology.
It is also the first Mazda to embody the design language of ‘Kodo Soul of Motion’, inspired by the cheetah as it moves in the wild.
Going forward, every vehicle from the 92-year-old Japanese manufacturer will adopt this new look.
Every CX-5 is available with a three-year Mazda roadside assistance plan, a five-year/90 000 km service plan and a four-year/120 000 km warranty.
Service intervals are 15 000 km.
Pricing starts at R309 000.