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Road Test: 2012 Mazda3 SKYACTIV

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Motorweek is made possible by rock auto and a tire rack there have been a slew of new fuel-saving powertrain technologies in recent years from hybrids to full electrics and even fuel cells still the traditional gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine is far from obsolete and many would argue it hasn’t even come close to its full potential for efficiency

Especially when combined with a new whole vehicle approach to saving fuel and that’s just the point of the new mazda 3 skyactiv mazda plans to spread its new skyactiv approach across the brand but it’s the 2012 mazda 3 that is the first to bring much of the technology to market and that’s fitting as it is mazdas best-selling model and one of the big reasons

The mazda 3 sedan and five-door hatchback are so popular it’s because of mazda zum-zum nature that is fully evident in the threes compact chassis and while that chassis is not all-new 412 and therefore doesn’t get the full sky active effort it does get an all-new powertrain the heart of every fuel saving program the 2-liter skyactiv-g gasoline i-4 puts out 155

Horsepower up five percent and 148 pound-feet of torque up 10 percent all thanks to both intake and exhaust variable valve timing direct injection and a hefty 12 to 1 compression ratio low friction transmissions are new as well and both manual and automatic are efficient six speeds all that makes for government fuel economy ratings of 28 city and 40 highway for

Our sky active drive automatic that’s a solid 20 percent boost over the non sky active 2.0 the manual rates slightly lower we averaged 33 miles per gallon of regular and real-world driving skyactiv also helps the mazda 3 get a very good energy impact score burning through just ten point four barrels of the black stuff while emitting just four point five tons of

Co2 per year as to the whole car fuel saving aspects the updated styling also improves aerodynamics that includes a new front fascia with redesigned grille opening for better air flow management additional covers under the car help keep the air moving smoothly as the new mazda 3 sedan cuts through the air with 7% less drag than before skyactiv models are also

Set apart by a transparent blue ring in the headlights and badging new 16-inch alloy wheels complete the package the transformation inside the cabin is a bit more thorough a new instrument cluster adds blue accent lighting and there’s new satin trim throughout the multi-information display is now easier to read and there’s a new shifter to go along with the new

Transmission as well as new fabric choices for the seats touring trim adds bluetooth and our gt a new 265 watt 10 speaker sound system the mazda 3 is the only vehicle in this class to offer blind spot monitoring rear seat legroom is among best-in-class but we still felt cramped and the long wide flat floor trunk looks as if it would hold more than the 11.8 cubic

Feet of cargo that it’s rated for while the chassis is unchanged mechanically some additional reinforcements have been added as well as extra body wells which helps to give the already solid feeling mazda 3 and even more unyielding feel through the cones the electro hydraulic power steering providing good feeling quick response and the three gripped our cold test

Tract well even with snow tires off the line the new fuel-efficient skyactiv powertrain proved quick as well the 2-liter has adequate torque right from the get-go and reach sixty and eight point nine seconds power quickly levels out and the full quarter-mile passes in a leisurely sixteen point nine seconds at 86 miles per hour as to pricing a well-equipped mazda

3 i touring skyactiv four-door begins at nineteen thousand two hundred forty five dollars that’s only three hundred fifty dollars more than a comparable non skyactiv sedan the hatchback adds six hundred dollars more to the base price while every manufacturer is now shooting for forty miles per gallon in the compact car segment mazdas whole vehicle approach which

Includes not sacrificing driving enjoyment makes the new mazda 3 a hit with us and as mazda expands this approach throughout their lineup with new lighter weight jassi’s and even diesel engines we look forward to getting even more sky active in the future you

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Road Test: 2012 Mazda3 SKYACTIV By MotorWeek