Mazda is betting big on its SkyActiv engine technology, and the first North American vehicle to carry the new motor is the 2012 Mazda3. Makes sense, since one out of every three Mazda vehicles sold around the globe wears a "3" on the back. Launching with the 2012 Mazda3 this fall, SkyActiv engines and transmissions will then wind-up in the upcoming CX-5 by next spring, and a year later we'll get a diesel variant of the efficient engine.
First up, however, is the SkyActiv-G gasoline-burner, which is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The directly injected unit is rated at 40 miles per gallon on the highway in the Mazda3, and produces 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 148 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. That's a horsepower increase of five percent and torque bump of 10 percent, all in a package that's 4.4 pounds lighter than the currently available standard 2.0-liter.
The SkyActiv-equipped 2012 Mazda3 is offered with a choice between two transmissions: a six-speed manual or automatic, both of which are also part of the SkyActiv family. SkyActiv-Drive is the automatic of the group, and helps the Mazda3 achieve a range of 540 miles. While the auto is the transmission of choice for 40 mpg drives, the SkyActiv-MT also allows for efficient motoring. When equipped with the manual, the fuel economy rating dips to 39 mpg on the highway.
SkyActiv-G engines will be offered under the hood of both the sedan and hatchback versions of the Mazda3. Both have also received a minor exterior refresh, which comes in the form of a revised front fascia. SkyActiv-equipped models can also be distinguished by some subtle blue headlamp trim and SkyActiv badging.
See the updates for yourself in the galleries below, and be sure to head past the jump to learn more about the 2012 Mazda3 and its SkyActiv technology.