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Imagine you could combine the best features of a petrol and a diesel into one engine. Well, Mazda says it has, with the introduction of its game-changing new Skyactiv-X motor which premiered in the all-new Mazda3 unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, and will reach SA in the second half of 2019. Mazda said the Skyactiv-X would be the world’s first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition. The technology breakthrough of Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition (SCCI) combines the advantages of petrol and diesel engines to improve efficiency. To achieve this it uses a combination of spark ignition (as in a petrol engine) and compression ignition (as in a diesel). Skyactiv-X is said to be up to 30% more fuel-efficient than regular petrol engines, though exact specifications have yet to be released. Either way, it’s an engineering masterstroke.

Whether you pick the five-door hatch or four-door sedan, the new Mazda3 certainly is a looker. Stealing design cues fr...

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