The U.S. is just getting its first taste of the funky Mazda2
, a car that has helped rewrite the rulebook on affordable hatchbacks by showing that cheap doesn’t have to mean drab and boring to drive. However, the next-generation of Mazda’s global small car is currently in the works and is set for debut in Japan as early as the first half of next year.
There’s no word on when this version of the Mazda2 will finally reach the U.S. but when it does we can reveal that it will return a fuel economy of 70 mpg--without the aid of any electric motors. This is because the car will feature Mazda’s next-generation of drivetrain, body and chassis technologies, dubbed SKYACTIV.
It will come powered by a SKYACTIV-G engine, Mazda's next-generation direct injection gasoline mill that achieves significantly improved fuel efficiency thanks to a high compression ratio of 14.0:1 (the world’s highest for a production gasoline engine). In addition to the improved fuel economy, Mazda also claims that the higher compression ratio enables more torque, especially at lower to mid-range engine speeds, which should make the car a whole lot more fun to drive around the town.
Also aiding fuel economy will be a new-generation of automatic and manual transmissions. Mazda claims that its new SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission leads to a 4-7 percent improvement in fuel economy thanks to improved torque transfer efficiency through a wider lock-up range. A new manual transmission has also been developed, one that features significantly reduced size and weight and reduced internal friction.
Finally, a lighter body design will also help improve the fuel economy of the next-generation Mazda2 even further. The automaker’s new SKYACTIV-Body is claimed to be 8 percent lighter yet 30 percent more rigid than current designs. These gains are mostly achieved through optimized bonding methods and expanded use of high-tensile steel.
The end result of all the advanced technology is a car that Mazda claims will return 70 mpg, making it the world’s most fuel efficient production gasoline car. The only question that remains: How long will it take Mazda take to bring this model over to the U.S.?