Mazda’s revolutionary Skyactiv X petrol engine has been added to both the Mazda 3 small hatchback and sedan line-up, as well as to the mechanically related CX-30 crossover range, bringing a frugal but lively option at the most premium end of the spectrum.
Priced from $40,590 for the manual or $41,590 for an auto, the X20 Astina is the new flagship of the Mazda 3 line-up sharing is identical in specification with the G25 Astina but offers a technological tour de force under its bonnet in place of the G25’s more conventional petrol engine.
Mazda’s 3 X20 is on sale now and the same engine will be made available for the CX-30 from September. Like the Mazda 3 X20, the CX-30 X20 is also at the top of the pile in Astina AWD grade and priced from $46,490.
The Skyactiv X engine is the world’s first compression-ignition petrol engine and, according to its maker, brings superior torque and power without the corresponding fuel consumption.
You can read our first-drive review to see how we got along with this intriguing engine here.
Displacing 2.0 litres, the lightly supercharged four-cylinder produces 132kW and 224Nm but thanks to a little Mazda engineering wizardry uses just 5.5 litres of petrol per 100km on the combined cycle.
It manages the frugal figure through a combination of its proprietary compression ignition technology, coupled to its M Hybrid mild electric assistance.
In short, the Skyactiv X engine can, under certain conditions, combust petrol in the same way a diesel engine does, bringing the same high torque and efficiency characteristics.
For a more detailed explanation of how Mazda’s world-first engine pulls this party piece, read our in-depth tech dive here.
Explained: Mazda Skyactiv X engine
While Mazda isn't yet confirming any other models destined to get Skyactiv X power, marketing and product director Alistair Doak said the arrival was just the start of the technology for the company.
"It’s to add it to the portfolio and get the mild hybrid conversation started for us," he said. "It’s an important thing for us, even though it’s only in high-end Mazda 3 and CX-30 at this point.
"This is just one small step in the Skyactiv story, but it’s very much a key technology for us."
In both the Mazda 3 and CX-30 cases, the more advanced engine adds $3000 to the asking price compared with the identically specified G25 variants.
While the more conventional 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder can’t get close to the X20’s economy with an average efficiency of 6.5L/100km, it remains the performance champ for now with an output of 139kW and 252Nm.