A few years ago, “zoom” was the keyword in advertising for the new Mazda models. Nobody could define exactly what was behind this play on words, but phonetically it was a direct hit. Now it also has a very individual technical counterpart, which means the individual engine concept that Mazda has been using since last year. The sports car is equipped with the 2.0 Skyactiv-X engine, which has an output of 132 kW / 180 hp and a maximum torque of 224 Newton meters. The manual six-speed gearbox takes you to the test track.
To increase fuel efficiency and engine performance, Mazda has developed Skyactiv technologies. With Skyactiv, the CO2 emissions and the consumption of the vehicles are to be reduced and thus make an important contribution to global environmental protection. The Skyactiv-X engine is the first gasoline engine with compression ignition, i.e. the fuel-air mixture ignites when it is compressed by the piston. This is done using the “Spark Controlled Compression Ignition” (SPCCI) combustion process developed by Mazda itself. In addition, the petrol engines are linked to a 24-volt mild hybrid system as standard to further increase efficiency. With the Mazda 3, the customer can choose between 3 engines. We tested our Skyactiv-X petrol engine, with 132 kW / 180 PS, 224 Nm torque and a compression ratio of 16,3: 1, mainly in urban and rural traffic. The info menu in the cockpit showed an average consumption of 6 l in the summer test 2021, which (according to Mazda technical data) whizzed past a combined fuel consumption of 4,5-4,4 l.
The design of the interior is very elegant and promises a lot of comfort, the minimalist aesthetics immediately catch the eye. The cockpit and the steering wheel are covered with velvety soft leather and literally nestle against your hands. The seats and some elements in the cockpit area of our test car are made of burgundy leather. The driver's seat has numerous adjustment options and an additional lumbar support, which achieves perfect posture and appealing comfort. In addition, the Mazda 3 has a large storage space in the center arm console and several USB ports. The interior is dark due to the black roof lining. In terms of space, the Mazda 3 looks very large from the outside, but inside it looks a little sobering. The space in the front is good and everything is perfectly tailored to the driver. But with a height of around 1,70 cm as a driver, a child with a child seat has little or no legroom behind the driver's seat. The trunk has a volume of 351 l and is therefore in order for a car from the compact class. A head-up display projects the driving-related information such as speed limits and the speed directly onto the windshield. The 8,8-inch infotainment display is controlled via the menu knob on the center arm console, which requires a bit of practice when setting the radio stations, navigation and telephone use. But after a few tries, this is also easy to use. The music is played with a rich sound from 12 Bose speakers, which can be ordered as special equipment.
Is there still the childlike joy of driving the Mazda 3 conveyed in the commercials? The compromise between diesel and gasoline is designed for economical consumption. In practice, this works with cautious driving behavior in the low speed range. The more sporty designed chassis rather tempts to drive faster. Whoever exhausts the gears up to the high speed ranges will also achieve higher consumption values. The drivers can individually choose between a sporty or an economical driving style.
Anyone who opts for the Skyactiv engine in the Mazda has the option of more economical driving in short-haul traffic compared to earlier engines. With compliance with the regulations for the current European norms, this engine concept will probably remain the only remaining conventional engine at Mazda in the years to come.
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