2012 Mazda3 – Click above for high-res image gallery
Mazda is banking on its SkyActiv technology to win the efficiency war against plug-in and hybrid vehicles and so will equip the 2012 Mazda3 with at least two forms of it fuel-saving tech for its before-March-2012 North American launch, according to the Nikkei.
First up is the SkyActiv-G – a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. The direct-injected unit is tentatively rated at 40 miles per gallon on the highway in the Mazda3 and cranks out 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.
Next in the SkyActiv suite of technologies is a choice of two transmissions: a six-speed manual or automatic. SkyActiv-Drive is the name for the auto trans, which Mazda says marries a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a dual clutch trans (DCT). The row-your-own gearbox, called the SkyActiv-MT, seems to be conventional in its design.
The 2012 Mazda3, with its fuel-sipping engine and more-efficient transmissions, is expected to offer a 30-percent bump in fuel economy, compared to the outgoing 2011 Mazda3. Now, all that's left is to wait several months for Mazda's 2012 compact to show its face at U.S. dealerships – and to see when Mazda embraces a bit of electrification.