SERIES 2/4 – How to reduce the bill by switching the pump? This is a question many drivers are asking themselves. This November we offer four solutions, from new combustion engines to alternative fuels, to reduce fuel consumption.
This is often a bad surprise for diesel owners. After switching to a petrol model, they notice an increase in their consumption. However, the hybrid model is not necessarily suitable for large rollers. Mazda may have a solution: the new Skyactiv-X gasoline engine. Combining diesel and gasoline technology with 180 hp, this new engine also has the characteristic of being atmospheric, a rarity that only a few sports car brands still allow. What to boost the Japanese manufacturer in its DNA to clear new technological foundations and establish its growth in scope, began with this seventh generation of vehicles.
But why … Mazda 3
Discreet sedan, the Mazda 3 has been updated this year. This fourth-generation retains the look of a large compact sedan but wants a more open, exciting design. Available in a sedan (boot) or 5-door (our test model), the Mazda 3 is interested in our Skyactiv-X engine here. This engine uses technology dating back to the 50s of the last century, but has never been seen before. When Mazda announced the arrival of this new technology in its range in 2017, the madness was immediate. Offering a gasoline engine just as efficient as diesel is a strategic choice, especially since Mazda promises performance "20 to 30% higher" than a conventional gasoline engine.
How does this new engine work? This petrol block is called "self-ignition" or "internal compression", a more common diesel system. "In this kind of engine, the gasoline mix is [soit la base du moteur à explosion, présent dans la chambre de chaque cylindre, ndlr], is made homogeneous, says a specialist engine. It is squeezed hard enough to reach the auto-ignition point. "To start and better control the ignition," says a Japanese manufacturer's spokesman, hence the official name of this engine Skyactiv-X, "Ignition Controlled Ignition (SPI)". In addition, the micro-hybrid engine started and accelerated.
Once turned on, the Skyactiv-X engine is quiet, without shaking, Mazda has been working on the sound insulation of its new block. This absence of noise helps the driver adjust his driving. In this configuration, despite the 2-liter displacement and 180 horsepower, the Mazda 3 is not a sports car. Forget about accelerating feet to the floor (unless you want to boil the box and mount the needle at 5000 laps). However, with 224 Nm of torque, the compact does not jump. Flexible acceleration is required. Wider, flexible behavior. The Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X is made to swap miles on the road at constant speed, not on track speed. The automatic transmission remains comfortable in traffic congestion, but on small roads where reports go up and down, the manual transmission may be more satisfied. On a daily basis, the whole thing remains warm.
The driving position is particularly well organized. Mazda chose a non-touch screen, in which the driver navigates the wheel. It takes a little skill for those who are not used to it. To overcome this, the solution: do all or almost everything using Android Auto or Apple Car Play. The system is very intuitive with voice control. Good idea: air conditioning controls, heated seats and steering wheel are available directly on the center console. And, if you don't like talking to Siri, the shortcuts (navigation, music, etc.) in the center of the console are easily returned to the appropriate menu, even if the features are used by the smartphone.
This Mazda 3 is particularly comfortable with both the suspensions and the information immediately available to the driver at a glance, including the headlights of our "Exclusive" version.
"THE" plus advice: the price-performance ratio
With this seventh generation of vehicles, including this new Mazda 3 being one of the first to the SUC CX30, the Japanese brand wants to move up. And the demonstration is pretty successful. This Mazda 3 really starts at € 30,700 with the Skyactiv-X engine. Our "exclusive" finish sells for 35,900 euros. That's certainly 10,000 euros more than the average price of a new car bought in France last year, but with a premium finish.
Performance level is really high: adaptive LED headlamps, intelligent door opening and closing, front and rear or 360 ° camera recognition and speed adjustment controller. These last three equipments are standard from Level 2 finishing. In addition to the polymetallic gray (600 euros) and upholstery (200 euros), the rest of the equipment is standard. Orders have just opened, the fall is still not enough, but on this specific engine, Mazda attracts slightly more premium customers than usual. 14% of vehicle repairs come from premium customers.
"SE" figure: 7.5
It is in liters, our consumption of 100 kilometers on this test. We traveled a little less than 600 kilometers on various roads (Parisian traffic jams, country roads, highways), and the consumption is close to that we recorded on the Peugeot 308, with 50 fewer horses under the cover. This consumption is only one liter higher than that of the new Renault Clio, albeit much smaller, which we also tested at a different rate. We did not practice eco-driving, which according to Mazda could allow us to get closer to 5.3 liters to 100 (correlated NEDF) made to homologation. These pump savings will however offset the penalty paid for procurement next year: 260 euros, with CO2 emissions approved at 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer (for the sedan version, with the automatic transmission). The penalty will fall to 150 euros with the second grid taking effect on 1 June.
Tested on our model: Mazda 3 2.0 Skyactiv-X M Hybrid 180 BVA Horsepower Finish Exclusive of 35,900 Euro