Friday, April 22, 2011
Mazda is getting ready to enter the raging mpg war in the compact passenger vehicle segment in the States with the launch of its facelifted 2012 Mazda3 that made its U.S. debut today at the New York International Auto Show.
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While the exterior and interior refinements are modest, the updated Mazda3 debuts the first application in North America of the Japanese firm’s suite of SKYACTIV fuel-saving and performance-oriented technologies, achieving 40 mpg on the highway. Within it lies Mazda’s all-new SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine hooked up to either a new SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission or a SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual gearbox.
Approximately 4.4 pounds lighter than the current MZR 2.0-liter engine, which continues for the 2012MY, the SKYACTIV 2.0-liter unit adopts multi-hole injectors to enhance fuel spray characteristics and achieves a high compression ratio of 12.0:1. It delivers 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 148 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm, compared to 148HP and 135 lb-ft of the MZR 2.0L.
When equipped with the optional SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic, the 2012 Mazda3 SKYACTIV sedan returns an EPA rating of 40 mpg on the highway, a 21-percent improvement over the current MZR 2.0-liter engine equipped with the optional five-speed auto. City mpg for the sedan version also improves by 17 percent to 28 mpg.
When equipped with the standard SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual, the sedan is rated with an estimated fuel economy of 27mpg city and 39mpg highway.
The SKYACTIV-G unit will also be offered on the five-door hatchback model, in which case it returns a fuel economy of 27 city/38 highway (SKYACTIV-MT) and 28 city/38 highway (SKYACTIV-Drive AT). Mazda attributes the lower highway estimates “to different aerodynamics and the higher weight ratio between the sedan and hatchback”.
The SKYACTIVE models also feature several aero tweaks including larger underbody covers and increased rigidity of the front tire deflectors.
Cosmetically, all 2012 Mazda3 models gain a updated five-point grille opening, restyled front and rear bumpers, and new alloy wheel designs. Inside, the Japanese automaker added new colors and trim options.
Furthermore, the 2012 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback models equipped with SKYACTIV-G gasoline engines are distinguished by certain unique elements such as an all-new engine cover featuring a deep blue metallic paint finish with black sections along either side; headlamp units outfitted with a transparent blue ring around the center lens, and the appropriate badges.
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