Until now Mazda has been content with refining its engines to produce better fuel consumption and a string of acronyms — SKY this and SKY that.

But that’s all about to change with the introduction of its first hybrid, petrol electric powertrain which will join the line up from August.

The Skyactiv-X M-Hybrid powertrain will be introduced in the Mazda3 sedan and hatch from August and in the recently introduced CX-30 SUV from September.

But it will be confined, at least initially, to the flagship Astina grade with both models.

The new Mazda3 X20 Astina will be available on both manual and automatic models with pricing starting at $40,590, while CX-30 X20 Astina AWD will be priced from $46,490.

The ground-breaking new 2.0-litre Skyactiv-X M Hybrid is the world’s first production petrol unit to exploit the benefits of diesel-like compression ignition, achieving the high-revving performance of a petrol engine with the fuel efficiency, torque and response of a diesel.

Skyactiv-X M Hybrid follows the launch of the highly efficient Skyactiv-G and Skyactiv-D engine technologies in 2012 and represents the first electrification technology in Mazda’s multi-solution approach to emissions reduction and Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030.

Mazda Australia Managing Director, Vinesh Bhindi said Mazda takes a real-world approach to reducing emissions and Skyactiv-X offers more choice to customers looking to do the same.

“Mazda is committed to reducing real-world emissions by looking at every part of a vehicle’s emissions footprint, from its production through to where the fuel that powers it comes from, and how a vehicle is disposed of at the end of its life,” he said.

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“With every customer’s circumstances being unique, we need to offer a variety of ways to reduce vehicle emissions to suit individual needs and lifestyles.

“Skyactiv-X offers customers a lower emission engine option, while retaining the same joy of driving that Mazda vehicles have always offered.”

Skyactiv-X is characterised by Mazda’s revolutionary Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI).

This new engineering concept allows the engine to switch seamlessly between conventional spark ignition and compression ignition combustion by using a spark to trigger both types of combustion in different ways.

In SPCCI mode, a split injection process creates separate zones of fuel-air mixture inside the combustion chamber.

First, a very lean fuel to air mixture is injected into the combustion chamber during the intake stroke, then a zone of atomised fuel is precisely injected directly around the spark plug during the compression stroke.

The small injection of atomised fuel directly around the spark plug builds a richer core.

When the spark fires, it ignites this core of fuel and air.

This increases pressure in the combustion chamber to the point where the lean mixture rapidly combusts.

Skyactiv-X also features the Mazda M Hybrid system.

Compact and efficient, the mild hybrid system features a belt-driven integrated starter generator (ISG) and a 24V lithium-ion battery.

It supports greater gains in fuel economy by recycling energy recovered during deceleration and powering the ISG, functioning as an electric motor — to assist the engine.

 

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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