Mazda first revealed its fuel-efficient Sky-G and Sky-D combustion engines at the 2009 Toyko motor show, but the automaker laid out its plans to introduce the designs into the North American market at the 2010 New York International Auto Show.
Details on the gasoline-powered Sky-G engine are still sparse, but Mazda says it will launch the stingy four-cylinder globally in 2011, starting in the U.S. The new direct-injection four-cylinder engine reportedly delivers a 15-percent increase in both torque and fuel economy over the current 2.0-liter I-4. We’ve yet to hear which vehicle will first receive the Sky-G technology, but given a Mazda3 equipped with the engine could potentially return fuel economy akin to the smaller Mazda2, we imagine Mazda’s compact car is a definite possibility.
Surprisingly, Mazda also plans on bringing its efficient Sky-D diesel engine to the U.S. for the 2012 model year. Although it would make sense to offer the engine in a larger vehicle like the CX-7 or CX-9 crossovers, the company’s official release says the oil-burning engine will be fitted in a “next-generation midsize sedan” — so we’re betting a diesel Mazda6 is in our future.
Thanks in part to a two-stage turbocharger, optimized fuel delivery, and a revised combustion chamber, the Sky-D can reportedly help the 6 return up to 43 mpg on the highway — better than Ford’s Fusion Hybrid. Better yet, the engine returns 20-percent better fuel economy than Mazda’s present 2.2-liter turbo-diesel I-4, and requires no exhaust aftertreatment to meet EPA emission standards.
Both engines will be mated to a revised automatic transmission, billed as “Sky-Drive.” By reducing internal friction, modifying the torque converter’s design, and changing when it actively locks up, Mazda says the gearbox helps deliver an additional 5-percent improvement in fuel economy over a conventional design.