Could this be enough to bring it stateside?
The Mazda 3 is one of our favorite hatchbacks. It's a joy to drive and, with the right engine, it's pretty quick too, albeit a little pricey. As much as we love the package and have a particular fondness for the engine, there's another engine that we don't yet have access to and may not receive at all. It's called the SkyActiv-X, and it's been hailed as a gem the world over. Now, that same engine has been taken a step further with more power and given a new name. But the bad news is that it's only going to be offered in Japan - at least for now.
It's now called the e-SkyActiv X, and as the name suggests, there's electrification involved in its advancement. Mazda has optimized the combustion control, enhanced the effect of the supercharger, and added a 24-volt AC synchronous motor for a boost from 177 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque to 188 hp and 177 lb-ft. There's no word on how this improves acceleration or how the electric motor contributes to efficiency, but there's no doubt that the updates have made a difference in both aspects of performance. Japan's Mazda 3 gets more than just an engine update though, as other alterations beneath the skin make the 2021 model even more impressive.
The coil springs and dampers have also been enhanced, while Mazda says that the adaptive cruise control system has been updated "to better suit human characteristics". While there's no explanation as to what this means, we suspect it's been retuned to be less disconcerting in its behavior. The Cruising & Traffic Support system also now operates at a higher speed, although Mazda wouldn't say just how much higher. The updates, although few, are useful, but all this does is remind us that there's a lot of cool stuff we miss out on over here. Mazda has previously said that we don't get the regular SkyActiv-X engine because it doesn't make enough power to satisfy domestic buyers, but maybe this update will do enough to change the minds of the product planners.