At 2013 Auto Show, Technology's In The Driver's Seat

Mazda Skyactiv

Mazda in early 2012 introduced its latest engine technology to the world with a Skyactiv Super Bowl commercial that was long on branding and experience and extremely short on substance. But the proof was in the 2012 model-year pudding, as its Mazda 3, 6 and CX5 vehicles have boosted engine torque by 8 percent and improved fuel economy to 40 MPG from a previous high of 29. The technology also incorporates a super-light aluminum alloy to shave about 200 pounds from the overall vehicle weight. But the key to engine performance improvements, according to a Mazda spokesperson, is the code-shaped cylinder head (shown) and a specially shaped piston, which "allow the cylinder to drive further toward the cylinder head for a smaller compression area," and a compression ratio of 13-to-1. Most other engines operate at 10- or 11-to-1, the spokesperson said.

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