But it should definitely be worth the wait.
Mazda is one of the very few major auto manufacturers out there that has not dived headlong into hybrid and EV powerplants in recent years. Instead, it has been developing ever more efficient iterations of the good old internal combustion engine. The latest SkyActiv-X engine combines the best traits of both gasoline and diesel engines, offering an extremely high 16:1 compression ratio which enables the motor to deliver more power while also increasing thermal efficiency.
In layman’s terms, this should translate into better fuel economy, yet, according to Mazda North American Operations CEO Masahiro Moro, although this high-compression gasoline engine can pass US EPA emissions regulations it is not in the company's immediate product plans for our market.
"SkyActiv-X is on our road map going forward," Moro continued, "We have a lot of technology. And we are introducing each technology in each region when the time is right." So it may still make it here in due course but for now, the newly launched Mazda3 is going to stick to the existing SkyActiv-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit (rated at 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque) used in the current base Mazda6.
Moro says that at the moment the carmaker is focusing on expanding the SkyActiv-G technology. Currently, the European 2.0-liter version is rated at 178 hp where the outgoing Mazda3’s 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G unit produced 155 hp in the US.
While mid-range torque delivery may not be as strong in these naturally-aspirated engines as in the latest crop of turbocharged rivals, they offer excellent fuel economy, don’t suffer from any lag at lower engine speeds, and are well suited to compact sedans and hatchbacks.
For its larger and heavier models, like higher trim Mazda6 sedans and the CX-9 crossover, Mazda also offers turbocharged versions of this motor which produces 250 hp and 310 lb-ft while still maintaining class-leading consumption figures. EVs may one day rule the motoring landscape but clearly, there is plenty of life left in the ICE yet.