The new Mazda3 is certainly a looker, with a cocktail of sharp lines and swooping curves. Picture: MARK SMYTH
The new Mazda3 is certainly a looker, with a cocktail of sharp lines and swooping curves. Picture: MARK SMYTH

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.

The new Mazda3 is available in five-door hatch (pictured) or four-door sedan. Picture: NETCARSHOW
The new Mazda3 is available in five-door hatch (pictured) or four-door sedan. Picture: NETCARSHOW

Whether you pick the five-door hatch or four-door sedan, the new Mazda3 certainly is a looker. Stealing design cues from the recent Mazda Kai Concept, it utilises a fine blend of sharp lines and swooping curves to help it stand out from its rivals. The designers have also made the A-pillars as slim as possible to help reduce blind spots when navigating through obstacle-rich urban environments.

 To make the driving experience as stress-free as possible, Mazda adopted a minimalistic interior with very little clutter to distract drivers.Switchgear has been kept to a minimum, with all of the car’s main controls accessible through a user-friendly Mazda Connect infotainment system. Expect full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Ergonomics were also factored into the equation. As such, the gear lever has moved closer to the steering wheel for faster shifting. Yep, Mazda understands that there are still people out there who enjoy driving.

The new Mazda3 is built on an all-new platform known as Skyactiv Vehicle Architecture. According to Mazda, this makes the car feel “as natural and stress-free as walking on your own two feet.” Hopefully this means it handles well too.

Apart from the clever new Skyactiv-X engine, the new range will also be powered by Skyactiv-G petrol motors (1.5, 2.0 and 2.5), plus a Skyactiv-D 1.8 diesel.

Purists will be pleased to hear that there will still be a manual gearbox on offer. Although at this stage we can’t say what engine it will be paired with.