New AWD Mazda3 to Feature SKYACTIV-X Engine

Mazda debuted the new Mazda3 sedan and hatchback, set for sale this spring, at the LA Auto Show last week.

The car is Mazda’s first model set to feature the company’s SKYACTIV-X, a hybrid gas engine, rumored to achieve more than 40-miles per gallon-EPA estimates are not yet available. It’s also the first redesign of the Mazda3 in several years, although it has styling cues current Mazda sedan owners will recognize.


The new Mazda3 is powered by the latest SKYACTIV engines, including Mazda’s new SKYACTIC-X, and also adopts SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture. Powertrain features, with notes from Mazda, include:

  • 1.5-, 2.0- and 2.5-liter versions of the latest SKYACTIV-G comprise the gasoline engine lineup for the new Mazda3. All three adopt optimized intake ports and piston shape, split fuel injection and a coolant control valve to deliver higher levels of dynamic performance, fuel economy and environmental friendliness
  • The SKYACTIV-X engine features superior initial response, powerful torque, faithful linear response and free-revving performance. The engine is assisted by Mazda’s intelligent new M Hybrid system, which supports greater gains in fuel economy, and achieves higher levels of driving pleasure and environmental friendliness
  • The SKYACTIV-D 1.8 is the diesel engine offering for the new Mazda3. Incorporating ultra-high-response multi-hole piezo injectors allows the engine to utilize high-pressure, precisely controlled multi-stage injection
  • Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD now features four-wheel vertical load detection and works in harmony with G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) to control torque distribution between the front and rear wheels. As a result, it is fully capable of responding to the driver’s intentions. It also reduces overall mechanical loss by approximately 60 percent over the previous model and contributes to improved fuel economy
  • G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) adds direct yaw moment control via the brakes. This enables the car to better handle emergency avoidance maneuvers and offers more confidence-inspiring controllability in various situations, including lane changes at high speeds and driving on slippery roads

Exterior Design

In designing the hatchback and sedan versions of the new Mazda3, the development team took a fresh look at their respective values and personalities and then worked to maximize the unique appeal of each. Notable features, according to Mazda, include:

  • The design concept for the sedan is “sleek and elegant.” While conforming to traditional sedan styling by bringing together the hood, cabin and trunk as three distinct elements, the development team aimed to elevate those elements and achieve a new level of beauty that befits a Mazda sedan.
  • A new headlight lamp design is included. In keeping with the less is more theme, all unnecessary elements are shaved away to leave only the essence of a lighting fixture. The lamps feature a round design with a sense depth
  • Polymetal Gray was newly developed as an exclusive color offering for the hatchback. Fusing the hard appearance of metal with plastic’s characteristic glossy smoothness creates an entirely new expression of quality

Interior Design

Every element inside the new Mazda3 is designed to directly face the driver and help emphasize the driver-centered axis that runs from front to rear. The interior, according to Mazda, includes:

  • The cockpit design applies the vanishing point concept down to the parts level, including the steering wheel spokes and center display
  • The new Mazda3 adopts an 8.8-inch wide center display.
  • The climate-control panel and passenger-side louvers are integrated into the left-right axis that follows the line of the instrument panel.
  • Interior parts employ Mazda’s own grain, designed to express the richness and warmth of genuine leather
  • The new shift panel takes advantage of a technology called two-layer molding. It incorporates a laser-engraved black layer covered by a second clear layer to present a glossy black finish with a look of deep transparency
  • The gear shift lever was moved forward and positioned higher on both the automatic and manual transmission versions. This makes it easier for the driver to move its hand from the steering wheel and to operate the shift lever. The commander control was also moved forward, the cupholders repositioned in front of the shift lever and the center armrest lengthened
  • The fabric interior adopts a new Greige color, which combines the cool tones of gray with the soft feel of beige to create a pleasing sensation of vitality and warmth
  • Burgundy was newly developed as an interior color exclusive to the hatchback
  • The eight-speaker standard audio system uses a thre-way layout, with 3L woofers positioned on the sides of the front cowl, a pair of 2.5cm squawkers on the sail garnish and 8cm squawkers on the upper section of the front and rear door trim. The 12-speaker Bose sound system adds an 8cm center speaker, a pair of rear satellite speakers, and a subwoofer. It also features custom tuning to provide more powerful bass and higher audio quality
  • Mazda conducted a series of new studies into how sounds are transmitted through a car’s cabin. This led to more efficiently improving sound quality by placing the bass speakers in the corners where the sound is amplified. To avoid the tonal quality of mid- to high-frequency sounds from being affected by reflected sounds, the other speakers were positioned on the left and right sail garnish and upper sections of the door trim where the sound is transmitted directly toward the occupant’s ears. This creates a more natural sensation to distinguishing the sound’s point of origin and enhances the depth and clarity of that sound


The Mazda3 development team worked to evolve basic safety technologies, such as the driving position, pedal layout and good visibility, advanced i-Activsense technologies, as well as passive safety technologies designed to protect cabin occupants in the event a collision should occur.

Mazda3’s safety features, with notes from Mazda3, include:

  • The new Mazda3 is available with Mazda’s newly developed Driver Monitoring system. The system uses both an infrared camera and infrared LED to observe the driver’s condition while driving. It monitors how wide open the driver’s eyelids are at any given time, the number of times he or she blinks, and also the angle of the mouth and face in order to determine the level of drowsiness or fatigue. It also monitors the driver’s line of sight and eye movement to determine when the driver is being inattentive. If the system judges that the situation has become dangerous, it sounds an alert to make the driver aware and works in conjunction with the Smart Brake Support (SBS) system to shorten the time required for the brake warning to sound
  • Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA) is available on the new Mazda3. The system uses newly adopted front side radars to detect other vehicles approaching from blind spots at the front right or left of the vehicle and alert the driver of their presence.

Also available on the new Mazda3 is Mazda’s new Cruising & Traffic Support (CTS) system. CTS contributes to reducing driver fatigue by assisting with accelerator, brake pedal and steering operations when stuck in traffic jams on the highway

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