Mazda is best known for smiley-face grilles, the Mazda Miata, “Zoom-Zoom,” and rotary engines. In recent years, Mazda has been known for Mazda SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY. Most of us are left wondering, what on Earth is that?
What if a car could harmoniously be more efficient, less expensive, and more fun to drive? In an attempt to accomplish those 3 points, Mazda created Mazda SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY. Mazda products have featured SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY since 2011, but what does SKYACTIV mean? In today’s Tech Tip Tuesday, we’ll dig into Mazda’s revolutionary technology and explain how it affects the driving experience behind the wheel of your Mazda.
Mazda SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY Overview
Mazda created a great overview of its technology in this video.
In short, Mazda wants efficiency, low emissions, and outstanding performance to coexist in an accessible automobile. Mazda SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY isn’t just a type of engine, it’s the engine, transmission, body, chassis, brakes; basically the entire car. To simplify things, let’s break down each element of SKYACTIV.
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY – Engine
While conventional engines can only harness around 30% of fuel’s potential energy, SKYACTIV claims to squeeze more energy out of every drop of fuel. Mazda’s goal is to improve both fuel efficiency and torque by around 15% compared to similar competitive engines.
The G in SKYACTIV-G is short for gasoline. In a gasoline engine, Mazda offers a compression ratio of 14.0:1. This is the highest gasoline compression ratio you’ll find in a mass production vehicle. To achieve this compression ratio, Mazda uses a 4-2-1 exhaust system, cavity pistons, multihole injectors, and more.
Feeling really nerdy? Mazda goes even deeper in its explanation of SKYACTIV-G.
The D in SKYACTIV-D is short for diesel. Unfortunately, we’ve not seen SKYACTIV-D in the U.S. yet, and the arrival of Mazda diesels is getting more complicated. While we wait and dream, here’s what Mazda has done. Mazda diesel engines have achieved 20% better fuel efficiency thanks to 14.0:1 compression ratio. The engines features a 2-stage turbocharger, producing greater low and high-end torque. To ensure cold-start capability, Mazda adopted multi-hole piezo injectors, offering 3 basic injection patterns.
To read the deepest details about SKYACTIV-D, here is Mazda’s explanation.
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY – Transmission
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY offers a 6-speed automatic transmission known as SKYACTIV-Drive. This tranny marries a torque converter from a traditional auto with a clutch from a manual. The goal: give the driver the responsiveness of a manual with the convenience and control of an automatic. Along with smooth, direct power, SKYACTIV-Drive improves fuel economy by up to 7%.
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY also offers a 6-speed manual, dubbed the SKYACTIV-MT. Mazda claims it has the shortest shift throw in its class. It’s a smaller, lighter, and stronger transmission than its predecessor.
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY – i-ELOOP Regenerative Braking
Regenerative braking is often found in hybrid vehicles, but has recently made its way into many conventional internal combustion vehicles. Mazda SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY utilizes regenerative braking. While the electronic needs of a car can sap up to 10% of a vehicle’s horsepower, i-ELOOP has a special alternator that engages when the driver lays off the gas. This alternator sends power to a capacitor that sends the power back to the vehicle’s electric features. Overall, the driver will enjoy more horsepower, and a 5% increase in fuel economy.
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY – Body and Chassis
The body of vehicles with SKYACTIV is stronger, lighter, safer, and has more rigidity. To be exact, it’s 8% lighter and 30% more rigid than its predecessor. Mazda achieved this by using more high-tensile steel, which is lighter and stronger than traditional steel. Mazda also worked on creating more efficient crash energy pathways that take advantage of the entire body, rather than just the floor.
Check out Mazda’s explanation of the SKYACTIV body.
On to the chassis. Mazda wanted improved stability, nimbleness, and weight reduction. The company revised its suspension and steering too, reducing overall chassis weight by 14% compared to the previous model.
For more info, here is Mazda’s explanation of the SKYACTIV chassis.
Does SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY Succeed?
Automotive reviewers have consistently praised Mazda vehicles with SKYACTIV for spirited driving performance in combination with competitive fuel efficiency. Mazda has also achieved top accolades in crash testing in recent years.