Test Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X : the diesel only has to hold up


It is with a real sense of happiness and a certain impatience that I was headed on that Friday in November to the park press Mazda, where waiting for me wisely “my” Mazda 3. The test of a “trivial” compact grey a weekend of fall where the weather will fluctuate between rain, grisouille and at night almost black from 16: 30 looks like yet more to the last impulse of suicide of an official single at a position closet eating her ham and butter alone, desperately alone. Despite these little shiny, I’m happy with the idea of finding 3 days in the wheel of the one that has me both surprised in June with its modest 2.0 L atmospheric petrol 122 hp. Except this time, we’ll talk about a small revolution, one that puts you a slap in the face for burying the Diesel. Permanently ? Really ? It is left for 1200 kms of testing.

Happy reunion

You will have understood, I like the Mazda 3. Not only its look not, I like it decidedly its driving position, its line, the interior ambience, the finishes admirable, and, still more, his technical choices new. A gasoline engine atmospheric 2.0 L 122 hp, it seems totally incongruous, even more under the hood of a large model spread. Attach a micro-hybridization 24 Volts ? Unthinkable. Mazda continues yet its usual path, persevered with its Skyactiv G of the last generation, that you have had the opportunity to discover here, under the hood of the Mazda 3 emblazoned with the colours of their presentation fiery red “Soul Red Crystal Mica”. Our contender of the day opens for the year 2020 an all-new “Polymetal Gray” to compare to a Grey Nardo at Audi or a Blue Graphite at Porsche. The path to premium is all mapped out.

I discovered with interest also an atmosphere much more “cozy” than in the Sportline to the test earlier thanks to this new Exclusive finish, which sees the arrival of a contrasting leather Burgundy the most beautiful effect. The choice of materials is once again cared for with top quality leather, a finish of brushed aluminum to enhance the speakers Bose and the piano black around the keys command window and on the central console. With the famous Skyactiv-X under the hood that we discuss in the paragraph after that, the invoice amounts to less than 35 000 € all equipment and options of paint/leather included. The germans had better watch out !

Skyactiv-X qésako ?

It is about X that is needed, the name “Skyactiv” as prefix on a whole range of engines, Mazda, advocating the economy of fuel, an engine adapted to the client with a wide range of choices and optimal performance via rate cuts to be particularly high. A short time spent on the etymology also puts the chip to the ear as to the commitment of Mazda to always offer atmospheric engine. For its part, the Skyactiv-X laying the foundations of a new generation of engines, promising the efficiency of a Diesel without sacrificing the coziness and the performance of a Gasoline. Where the other manufacturers leave little by little to any development and any resource allocated to research related to fossil resources, Mazda is like the last samurai strives to continue the fight.

But how to achieve such a miracle ? On paper, this is a real postcard and we wonder how could still survive the Diesel in the face of such arguments. I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel and you directly invites you to visit the site Mazda.fr to find all the technical information to retrieve it by clicking on this link. In summary :
– the use of a mixture of air/gasoline is extremely poor in gas
– spontaneous combustion for inflammation faster
– a compression ratio particularly high
The Skyactiv combines a ignition plug (the famous technology Spark Controlled Compression Ignition SPCCI) and a compression ignition instant.

Discreet magic

The ultimate goal is, of course, that the end-user to know, you, me, we, be aware of anything. No big inscription on the sides, no distinctive sign especially if it is a small letter on the trunk than any individual will of course not be interpreted. You’re not behind the wheel of a concept car, but a Mazda 3, and it is already good enough as its line of distinctive attracts the attention of a few scholars. Ignition. The 2.0 L atmospheric snorts a fraction of a second and starts while maintaining the first 30 seconds of a slowed down enough high, hoarse, and very distinctive of Mazda gasoline modern. Its discretion below 2000 rpm is amazing. Not a tremor, not a sound, and rhythm of senator, not a single one of a sudden the automatic transmission, the magic operates. I let it display in the middle of the speed meter the average consumption after the first km of 18.7 L of starting to 12.1, and then to 9.3, then 8, then… We stop. So naturally, knowing me-even the vocation efficiently this block and have even taken to trial expressly to prove this, I let myself take the game not to push stupidly the right pedal, and plays with softness and smoothness on all controls of the car.

Not so easy on the winding roads of the regional natural park of the Morvan, as the box doesn’t help, frankly, on such a journey, either sub-scheme, may be stuck on a false over-rev to 4000 rpm. It takes me no longer to advise you to definitely opt for the manual transmission, already proven by fact during my first test. A model, the lock-franc, the travel ideal, all the ingredients are combined. So much so that the PVA makes it 0.4 seconds on the 0 to 100 km/h and probably as many on different occasions to the BVM to fall to 8.6 seconds. Not outstanding for 180 hp under the hood. It lacks a 7th report if one really wants to optimize the consumption on the main network to look stabilized. But the Morvan, remember, it was our playground for our comparison of “hot-hatch” between the Mégane R. S., the Civic Type R and the i30 N (reread here) and I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a few discrete rays of the sun to tease the tachometer to its limits.

Then I will put an end to the suspense of this no, the motor does in the state, not particularly sporty, or is it the box which to me ruined the moment. Always is it that this sacred tachometer displays an end zone-red at 8000 rpm and a start at 6500 or 7000, it is not known too. Verdict, that is 6500 since everything stops abruptly at this precise moment when the needle aligns with the so-called graduation. And it is a pity, since that can’t be found quite frankly the character of the Skyactiv-G 2.0 L 165, now under the hood of the previous generation of Mazda 3 (trial to re-read here) which showed his fervour after 5500 rpm achieved. The revving is particularly flat in the form of sensations, perfectly regular. But most of all I have the impression that I am asking this poor Skyactiv-X something that he did not really want to do. At least there shows no particular fervour.

However, put on such a chassis, it is almost a sacrilege. Lifting the cover, you realize that the block is disposed in front of the front wheels, or door-a-fake before, everything that it is not necessary, if one wishes to bring out the dynamic character of a car. The English would say then that the Mazda 3 is a car for “connoisseurs”, which dates back to instantly in your self-esteem after a test carried out as it should. The G-Vectoring control works like magic on the train before to arrive to remove any start of understeer and come stick to the rope of the lesser-turn in the approach, a real magnet for apex ! Again, the magic works, and I even have a witness who also remained glued to the more dubious of you. But ultimately, it is the rhythm stabilized, on long journeys, on a beautiful country road that the Skyactiv-X is revealed. Its roundness, its flexibility and discretion are remarkable between 1000 and 2500 rpm. It is on the rpm range that it pulls in the best in consumer driving pleasure, and for air, it is rather remarkable. Let’s not forget all the same that the micro-hybridization 24V using precisely the re-acceleration on the same beach diet, what to add flexibility and linearity.

Let me dream

The time of the verdict has sounded. Before you announce the lesser figure, Mazda recommends a progressive breaking of 10 000 kms to the SP98 to extract the full potential of its Skyactiv-X. We have therefore identified the following drinks on a little over 1200 kms done :
– 5.4 L / 100 kms on a route composed of routes 70 and 80 km/h without slope, with crossings village
– 5.8 L / 100 kms on national highway
– 6.1 L / 100 kms on the highway at 110 km/h
– between 6.4 and 6.8 L / 100 kms on route sineux and not conducive to an efficient driving style

And in regards to the invoice, the Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X in exclusive finish, with a special paint and rims 18 inches appears to be exactly 34 700 € and a penalty of 50€ for 120g/km of CO2 emissions (scale 2019, figures WLTP). I let you go you even make the comparison, but I was amused to configure an Audi A3 2.0 L TFSI 190 with the same list of equipment, allow a good 10 000 € more. Of course I do, you’ve said nothing. In fact, Mazda is celebrating a century of existence next year, let us pray that the next one is just as exciting as the one just passed.

Thank you to Mazda France, Jérémie and Eugenie for their hospitality and passion.

Photo Credits : Maurice Cernay



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