Mazda SKYACTIV-X TECHNOLOGY in a test car

New engine technology from Mazda

What is Mazda SKYACTIV®-X?

You may have heard of Mazda SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY. It’s been a major part of modern Mazda vehicles for quite some time now. In general, SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY is an umbrella term that is used to refer to several technologies employed in the latest Mazda vehicles, but SKYACTIV®-X is a new breed of Mazda technology and automotive technology in general. Let’s explore this new technology and explain what Mazda SKYACTIV®-X actually is.

What engines does Mazda use in its cars?

For decades, Mazda has been pursuing engine technology down two distinct routes: gasoline and diesel. Gasoline has always been the cleaner burning fuel, but diesel is more efficient. This is because diesel works with compression based ignition. In other word, it uses the highest compression possible and thus achieves the best efficiency possible.

In a diesel, this is possible because the diesel fuel is injected at the moment of highest compression, at which point it immediately combusts. Gasoline engines, on the other hand, rely on a spark plug to initiate the combustion.

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Mazda SKYACTIV-X TECHNOLOGY in a test car

How is SKYACTIV®-X different?

With SKYACTIV®-X, you still have an engine that runs on gasoline, and you still have a spark plug, but that’s about where the similarities end. This new engine technology from Mazda uses a much leaner mixture, which enables the engine to achieve much higher compression ratios without igniting the mixture.

Normally a lean mixture would lead to reduced power, difficulty starting, and a poor idle. This isn’t your typical engine. The major change here is the compression ratio. By employing a compression ratio so high, when the spark plug ignites, the small ignition creates a pressure wave. This pressure wave raises the compression in the cylinder beyond the ignition point, making for an even burn across the entire cylinder.

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Not only does this create a more complete combustion than a traditional gas engine, it also creates a more complete combustion than a diesel engine. In fact, Mazda estimates that you will be able to get the same efficiency as a diesel while getting more power and more torque than a traditional gas engine.

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When will Mazda release a vehicle with SKYACTIV®-X?

Mazda has already allowed the press to drive SKYACTIV®-X equipped cars, so you can expect them soon. Some sources are reporting that we can expect this new engine type to see an initial rollout in 2019. It has not yet been announced which models will receive the engine first.