Mazda launches SkyActiv-equipped Axela (Mazda3) in Japan

  • 2012 Mazda3 with SKYACTIV
SkyActiv for the win, says Mazda Motor with the Japanese launch of the facelifted Axela (known overseas as the Mazda3). The updated Axela is Mazda's second model in Japan to feature the automaker's groundbreaking SkyActiv technology; the first was the recently launched Mazda Demio ( Mazda2). There's fresh efficiency tech in the revamped Axela, too, since it's Mazda's first vehicle to feature the automaker's SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter, direct-injected gasoline engine and SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. (For a deep dive into SkyActiv technology, read this article.)

SkyActiv-Drive is described as an innovative automatic transmission that eliminates slippage and achieves a direct-shift feel similar to that of a manual trans. The 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G engine pumps up the Axela's fuel economy rating to an estimated 40 miles per gallon on the highway, while cranking out 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.

The Mazda Axela starts at 1,660,000 yen ($21,716 U.S. at today's exchange rate) and tops out at 2,678,000 yen ($35,034) in Japan. Mazda has set a Japanese sales target of 2,000 Axelas a month.
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Mazda Launches Second SKYACTIV Model in Japan: Facelifted Axela

- New SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine and SKYACTIV-DRIVE transmission deliver outstanding fuel economy and exhilarating performance -

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation today commenced sales of the facelifted Mazda Axela (known overseas as the Mazda3) in Japan. The updated Axela is Mazda's second model in Japan to feature the company's breakthrough SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY.

The facelifted Mazda Axela is available from today at all Mazda, Mazda Anfini and Mazda Autozam dealerships nationwide. Manufacturer's suggested retail prices (including taxes) range from 1,660,000 to 2,678,000 yen. The target sales volume is 2,000 units per month.

The facelifted Axela is Mazda's first vehicle to feature the newly-developed 'SKYACTIV-G 2.0' direct-injection 2.0-liter gasoline engine and SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission. SKYACTIV-DRIVE is an innovative automatic transmission that eliminates slippage and achieves a direct shift feel similar to a manual transmission. This SKYACTIV powertrain delivers an exhilarating drive and best-in-class* fuel economy of 20 km/L (10-15 mode test cycle, models with 15-inch wheels). SKYACTIV-G 2.0 and SKYACTIV-DRIVE are equipped in all 2-liter, front-wheel-drive (FWD) model grades.

The facelifted Axela becomes the Mazda's second model to offer SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY in the Japanese market following the Mazda Demio (known overseas as the Mazda2).

The SKYACTIV-G 2.0 model grades also come equipped with Mazda's intelligent-Drive Master (i-DM), a new technology that supports enjoyable and comfortable driving. The i-DM display indicates how smoothly the controls are used and how this affects fuel economy. It offers useful hints to encourage a driving style that reduces fuel consumption, enhances driver enjoyment and improves passenger comfort.

* 2.0-liter gasoline engine vehicles, excluding hybrids (Mazda data)

Main features of the facelifted Mazda Axela

1. More muscular, higher-quality design

Based on the development concept of "expressive and dynamic design," the facelifted Axela delivers refined exterior styling with improved aerodynamics (Sport model: Cd=0.28, Sedan: Cd=0.26). Inside, new colors enhance the visibility of the controls, and new materials raise the quality feel.

Models with SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY stand out with exclusive interior and exterior design features.

SKYACTIV-G 2.0 models

Exclusive headlight design, rear badge and meters. An exclusive, ergonomically designed shift lever highlights the quick-shifting, easy-to-use SKYACTIV-DRIVE transmission

Newly designed 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels are stiffer and reduce road noise. The 15S grade now comes with 16-inch alloy wheels as standard equipment

All models

Newly-designed front bumper that improves aerodynamics (except Mazdaspeed Axela)

New front grille design is refined and athletic

Seven exterior body colors are available, including Sky Blue Mica (Mazdaspeed Axela has four exterior body colors, including Velocity Red Mica)

Improved interior functionality. Silver garnish is added to controls such as air vents and switches, making them more visible and easier to use

New black seat covers and a black center panel console (except models with the 1.5-liter engine) raise interior quality levels

2. Predictable and responsive handling

Mazda targeted a driving feel with Toitsukan: a linear response to driver inputs that ensures a consistent sense of oneness between driver and car.

SKYACTIV-G 2.0 models

All FWD 2.0-liter models deliver satisfying performance, enhanced torque across the full range, and linear response thanks to the new, highly-efficient SKYACTIV-G 2.0 gasoline engine. High efficiency is achieved with new engine technologies such as multi-hole injectors, cavity pistons, dual sequential-valve timing (S-VT) and reduced friction and pumping losses.

SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine specifications

Type: water-cooled inline 4-cyliner DOHC 16-valve

Displacement: 1.997 liters

Bore x stroke: 83.5mm x 91.2mm

Compression ratio: 12.0:1

Max. power (net): 113kW (154ps) @6,000rpm

Max. torque (net): 194Nm (19.8 kgf/m) @4,100 rpm

Fuel delivery: in-cylinder direct injection

Fuel: regular gasoline

The newly-developed SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission adds an extra gear and increases the lock-up range (the time when the clutch is mechanically locked) from 49 percent to 82 percent (driving under the JC08 mode test cycle). This provides a direct shift feel similar to a manual transmission and smooth, powerful acceleration

SKYACTIV-DRIVE features a mechatronics module built into the shift control CPU that realizes exceptionally smooth gear changes

The combination of the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine with SKYACTIV-DRIVE provides smoother response to the driver's application of the accelerator pedal

All models

Thicker body frame with a closed cross-section and other enhancements improve rigidity for greater handling stability and reduced road noise

The chassis is tuned to provide more agile response to steering inputs and a comfortable, reassuring ride feel

3. Outstanding environmental performance

Best-in-class fuel economy of 20km/L under the 10-15 mode test cycle (17.6km/L or 17.2km/L under the JC08 test cycle) achieved by most models with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine. Mazda's innovative idling stop system, i-stop, now uses less fuel at restart and operates with greater frequency, contributing to better than ever fuel savings.

SKYACTIV-G 2.0 models

The combination of the highly-efficient SKYACTIV-G engine and SKYACTIV-DRIVE transmission, together with a new undercover, aerodynamic silencer and low rolling-resistance tires (15-inch wheels), achieves outstanding fuel efficiency of 20km/L Fuel economy of SKYACTIV-G 2.0 model grades

Body type Grade Tires Fuel economy
10-15 mode JC08 mode
Sport 20S-SKYACTIV 16-inch 18.8km/L 16.2km/L
20C-SKYACTIV 15-inch 20.0km/L 17.2km/L
Sedan 20E-SKYACTIV 15-inch 20.0km/L 17.6km/L
20C-SKYACTIV 15-inch 20.0km/L 17.6km/L

To encourage an eco-friendly diving style, an i-stop activation log is added to the multi-information display (MID) located at the top of the instrumental panel

The 20S-SKYACTIV, 20E-SKYACTIV and 20C-SKYACTIV grades meet Japan's 2010 fuel economy standards plus 25 percent, and qualify for the government's eco-car tax reduction program

All models

The 15S, 15C and 20E (4WD) model grades feature an eco-gauge in the center of the meter panel to encourage a fuel-efficient driving style

All model grades qualify as Super-Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (SU-LEV), achieving exhaust emissions that are at least 75 percent lower than the levels required by the Japanese government's 2005 exhaust emissions standard

The 15S and 15C grades meet Japan's 2010 fuel economy standards plus 15 percent, and qualify the government's eco-car tax reduction program

Mazda records and analyses the vehicle data necessary to perform a vehicle Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The facelifted Mazda Axela will produce five percent less carbon dioxide (CO2), three percent less nitrous oxide (NOx), two percent fewer non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), two percent less sulphur oxide (SOx), and three percent less particulate matter over its lifetime than the previous model

4. Enhanced safety features

The facelifted Mazda Axela was developed with a strong focus on active safety technology. Improved visibility, control layout, and a more linear driving performance provide enhanced peace of mind. The range of models equipped with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) as standard equipment has been expanded to include the 15S model grade.

Additionally, the following safety features are carried over from the previous model:

Mazda's Adaptive Front Lighting System, which enhances visibility when cornering at night, is equipped on some model grades

The Rear Vehicle Monitoring system, which detects vehicles approaching from behind and alerts the driver, is equipped on some model grades

The Emergency Signal System, which rapidly flashes the hazard warning lights during emergency braking to alert following drivers, is standard equipment on all model grades

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices

* Price of the model in the photo
Body type Drive Grade Engine Transmission Price (yen)
(with tax) (without tax)
Sport FWD 15C MZR 1.5L CVT
(Activematic) 1,660,000 1,580,953
15S 1,790,000 1,704,762
6-speed EC-AT 1,900,000 1,809,524
20S-SKYACTIV 2,150,000* 2,047,619
DISI Turbo 6-speed MT 2,678,000 2,550,477
4WD 20E (4WD) 2.0L DOHC 4-speed EC-AT 2,100,000 2,000,000
Sedan FWD 15C MZR 1.5L CVT
(Activematic) 1,660,000 1,580,953
6-speed EC-AT 1,900,000 1,809,524
20E-SKYACTIV 2,050,000 1,952,381
4WD 20E (4WD) 2.0L DOHC 4-speed EC-AT 2,100,000 2,000,000

- If the special body color Crystal White Pearl Mica is selected, the price increases by 31,500 yen (including tax).


To coincide with the launch of the facelifted Mazda Axela, Mazda will commence the JAPAN DRIVE Fest, a unique marketing campaign, at Mazda, Mazda Anfini and Mazda Autozam dealerships throughout Japan on October 8, 2011. The campaign is intended to encourage customers to test drive models with Mazda's breakthrough SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY.

The JAPAN DRIVE Fest uses the scoring function of Mazda's innovative intelligent-Drive Master (i-DM) technology, which effectively supports enjoyable driving, a comfortable ride for passengers, and enhanced fuel economy. Customers who test drive a vehicle equipped with SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY will be invited to compete nationwide by submitting their i-DM score.

Mazda Information


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