SkyActiv technology has been taken to the next level, courtesy of Toyota's electric know-how
But wasn't SkyActiv all about technology of the non-hybrid variety?
At one point in time, yes, back when Mazda was maintaining that it could achieve the fuel savings and lower CO2 emissions of hybrid-powered drivetrains without the need to resort to all that electric stuff. But that doesn't mean that Mazda had dismissed hybrid tech out of hand. It was just that the firm felt there was still room for improvement in the conventional internal combustion engine, whether it was fuelled by petrol or diesel.
The decision to introduce a hybrid version of the all-new Mazda 3 family car is to fulfil the requirements of buyers who were demanding even better fuel economy.
And because Mazda doesn't have that much money to spend on R&D, it didn't bother developing its own hybrid format, licensing one from Toyota instead.
It's based on the Prius, isn't it?
Yes, but not the entire system. What Mazda did was take the electric motors and batteries from the Prius and stuff them into the 3 _ as you can see in the main picture reproduced here.
The main source of propulsion remains the 2.0-litre petrol engine which touts SkyActiv features like direct injection. But the 3's CVT automatic gearbox selector points to the donor vehicle being of hybrid tech.
Mazda says its 3 Hybrid can achieve 30.8kpl, which is quite impressive, especially when compared to the yield from either the Prius or the Honda Civic Hybrid.
This remarkable achievement has also been made possible by Mazda's very own i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration, which uses a capacitor-based system to divert energy to all other electrical components in the vehicle.
Cool! Will Mazda be bringing it to Thailand?
That's where the good news ends, unfortunately. Life has learned that the 3 Hybrid will only be available in Japan.
You see, Mazda is hoping to be the first car-maker to offer a diverse range of drivetrains for motorists to choose from when the 3 hits Japanese dealerships on Nov 21.
Apart from the 3 Hybrid, other options will include 1.5- and 2.0-litre petrol-heads, plus a 2.2-litre diesel-turbo. All come with the option of a more conventional six-speed automatic transmission.
Mazda will also be highlighting its so-called i-ActivSense which, in essence, is a package of driver-assist technologies like automatic cruise control and lane-departure warning.
Hopefully, when the 3 goes on sale in Thailand in the first half of 2014 _ likely to be available here in both petrol and diesel formats _ Mazda will make a decision to give its C-segment car some of these USPs.
The gear selector points to a donor vehicle of hybrid tech.
About the author
- Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor