Last post on Sep 19, 2012 at 8:52 AM
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Mazda, Automotive News
#1 of 25 Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom?
Aug 13, 2012 (8:47 am)
There's a few reviewers (and people) out there less than pleased with SkyActiv technology. Some feel there isn't enough torque, others feel the shifting or throttle response is blunted too much. Admittedly we have only one example to play with, the SkyActiv 2.0L with manual or automatic. Overseas has a 2.2L SkyActiv TDI, a SkyActiv1.3L (though given the numbers I fail to see the point of that one) and an upcoming SkyActive 2.5L, which should finally make the MZR 2.5L and it's primitive tranny go away.
Will SkyActiv save or sink Mazda? And who would take the lightweight sport crown, since Honda seems to want to be Toyota now?
#2 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [bpizzuti]
Aug 13, 2012 (9:44 am)
Dilute Zoom, ZOOM...?
License SkyActive technology to Ford if nothing else.
#3 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [wwest]
Aug 13, 2012 (10:24 am)
It is a great powertrain, but Ford has sunk a lot of money and time into their 2.0L high compression engine, and their 6 speed DCT. Mind you, the engine was originally the Mazda MZR, which Mazda is now abandoning...
#4 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [bpizzuti]
Aug 13, 2012 (6:55 pm)
Ford, with EcoBoost, is headed down a dead end road.
Idiot engineers seemed to have not been aware of the problem caused by condensation in hot and humid climates. Condensation inside the charge air cooler, intercooler.
Current fix, not working in all climate conditions, was to reduce the cooling efficiency of the IC.
Mother nature RULES!
#5 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [wwest]
Aug 13, 2012 (6:49 pm)
I dunno, I think EcoBoost itself has potential, but not as a stand-alone approach. Ford needs to refine that DCT. Ford has the resources to try both high compression and forced induction just to see which brings in better results though. Frankly, I think high compression is the better way to go. forced induction generates similar stresses on an engine, but removing the turbo reduces the number of moving parts to worry about.
But doing high compression with the MZR was a mistake methinks. Oh, sorry, the Ford DI Eco-whatever-the-frig-Ford-name-it-is non Mazda design.
#6 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [wwest]
Aug 14, 2012 (5:54 pm)
Skyactiv (at least in it's NA spark-ignition version) is marketing hype worse than any other brand. It could mean something in the future if they bring to the US technologies that actually matter.
Ecoboost is far from a dead-end road; it's exactly the same as what other automakers are doing, and will continue to do until we're all powered by hydrogen and unicorn dust.
Fiat's 1.4L multi air with it's *gasp* 9.8:1 compression ratio!!! (think of the children! Don't they know they are hurting the children with such a low compression ratio!!! )
... gets better economy than Skyactiv. SIGNIFICANTLY better torque and power as well.
There literally is NO benefit on paper to Skyactiv over Fiat (now Chrysler as well)'s 1.4 turbo.
And if maxing out fuel economy is priority #1, the Cruze Eco with its 1.4L turbocharged engine and 9.5:1 compression ratio (for the love of all that is good, why won't they think of the children!!!! ) beats the Skyactiv as well.
If compression ratio were so important... it would actually show an improvement over engines with lower CR... which it DOESN'T. Ford's only disadvantage is that they are late to the turbocharged-DI-petrol game, and Fiat and GM have already worked the bugs out. Ford doesn't have to abandon EB anymore than Fiat or GM do (which would be pointless for both of them, since their engines are very good).
And the Skyactiv engine isn't the real cause for any efficiency increases anyway. As TTAC point out:
How did Mazda achieve these impressive gains? For starters, a much taller top gear with either transmission. Perhaps the oldest trick in the book, and one Iíve long wished for in my 2003 Protege5 (which struggles to top 30 mpg on the highway largely because its archaic 2.0 is spinning close to 4k).
You were spouting off about how Mazda was making '50%' more fuel economy because of higher CR? Bull! The biggest change is in the transmission gear ratios. That engine is no better than the mills it is replacing. They could use the 'Skyactiv transmission and the old MZR engine and net the same mileage'
Skyactiv is Mazda attempting to brand something that makes no improvements over what every other automaker is doing. That includes GM (42mpg Cruze Eco) and now Dodge (41 mpg Dart Aero).
Bottom line: your satisfaction with the Mazda3 SKYACTIV will depend on your driving style and expectations. Replicate the driving style and conditions of the EPAís tests, and youíll meet or exceed the EPAís numbers. Intensively employ the pedals, drive short distances in cold weather, or exceed 55 on the highway, and those numbers arenít happening. -Michael Karesh, TTAC
55 mph nets you 37mpg? Woohoo! Not. Mazda better bring over the Sky-D and work on that sparkless-ignition gasoline engine, because there doesn't seem to be any reason at all, on paper, or in the hands of testers, to upgrade to Skyactiv over Mazda's base engines.
#7 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [bigmclargehuge]
Aug 14, 2012 (6:09 pm)
I beg to differ, Fiat's 1.4L turbo gets slightly worse MPG than the SkyActiv. In return it does provide more power and torque, but it gets 39 MPG highway without special aero tweaks, and to get that it needs an active grille shutter system. Mazda gets 40 (better in the real world), without grille shutters, without underbody aero tweaks, and WITH the road feel and handling that even makes BMW owners jealous at times.
That's not to say the Fiat 1.4L Turbo isn't a nice engine, it is, and it shows just how pathetic GM is (identical displacement, they can't even manage 140 HP?). But the Dart is a pretty heavy platform, the engine isn't direct injected, and having a turbo is a disadvantage as well as an advantage. The thing about turbos is that they add complexity: they're an additional component to go wrong and break, and therefore need to fix. The mechanical complexity is a tradeoff.
One of the things Mazda sought to do was keep things relatively simple. They took a standard automatic and figured out how to make it more efficient. Reducing the use of the torque converter and using a beefier lockup clutch ARE significant you know, and EVERYONE's using a tall 6th gear these days, you can hardly criticize Mazda for doing so. The thing about the oldest trick in the book, is that everyone's going to use it, Dodge and Chevy included. How do you think THEY get such wonderful MPGs? I'll give you a hint: in 6th gear, the RPMs are low enough to take the engines out of boost.
#9 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [bpizzuti]
Aug 15, 2012 (5:30 am)
I like driving Mazda's, don't get me wrong. And I've certainly seen the reviews criticizing the Dart's handling.
I don't disagree that transmission are using taller gearing across the board as well. My point is, we could argue engines all day, and in the end swapping out transmissions is going to net a higher result than either downsizing + turbocharging or raising the compression ration by 20%.
The other angle to that, just as you said, is that the Dart is a pig. It's pushing 39mpg in its non-eco trim whilst carrying quite a load.
My response was more targeted towards wwest's blind hatred for Ecoboost... when other manufacturers are going that way at the same time (or even a little sooner) and are getting good results.
Is Ecoboost a silly name? Yup. So is Skyactiv. It's all marketing hype. These makers would be pushing fuel economy regardless of any branding, its what they can convince the public that counts in that regard.
However, it would be foolish to abandon the Ecoboost line, when every manufacturer sees the development potential of small turbocharged engines lasting for decades. Not exactly a 'dead end.'
It really is hard to fathom why he only rags on Ford, hence the lengthy post.
When almost every manufacturer (including Mazda!) has said the way to make power in small cars is to phase out V6s, and add a turbo... it sounds to me like it's not just Ford, but the entire industry of... ehem... 'idiot engineers' according to willard... that see a lot of development potential in these engines.
We're not so far off from agreement. Mazda builds good chassis'. I'm actually serious when I say they should bring the Sky-D over in the Mazda 6. I would be very interested in that car. But between a Sky-G and an Ecoboost Fusion, I'd take the turbo'd car.
To get back on the topic that wwest left by bringing up Ford; No, I don't think Skyactiv is diluting Mazda's sporting credentials.
#10 of 25 Re: Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom? [bigmclargehuge]
Aug 15, 2012 (5:49 am)
Well, they've said Sky-D is coming, but it looks like the mazda6 will get the 2.5L Sky-G. I'll be interested in seeing that, because from what I've read, the 1.3L Sky-G engine wasn't really an improvement over the 1.3L MZR (or whatever they called it). Less HP, less torque. On the other hand, the 2.0L Sky-G is a massive improvement over the 2.0L MZR.
Personally, I think EcoBoost has the same problem as any other turbo setup, I don't particularly like the added complexity of turbos, and I don't get why people will turbocharge a port injected engine and not add DI to maximize it. They are helpful at high altitudes, but between the lag and the added complexity, I'd be nervous. Basically, the whole idea of making a turbo engine more efficient is to have it acting like the small engine most of the time, and turn on the turbo when it's needed to accellerate. But I could see people staying in boost too much and getting WAY less fuel economy.
Mazda did plenty with the tranny, but they also did a lot of work on the engine to allow it to run efficiently and reliably at a 12:1 or higher compression ratio (unlike Ford, who just cranked up the compression ratio to 12:1 and crossed their fingers, it looks like). DI has been proven to add about 10 more HP with no MPG cost because it allows the engine to burn fuel more efficiently. One nice thing about what Mazda did is that it's real-world. Everyone's not just getting the EPA rating in the Mazda SkyActiv models, but they're having a relatively easy time BEATING the ratings. That alone tells me Mazda's doing something very right.
You are right in that a tranny will make a lot of difference. Take, for example, the Veloster Turbo, gets 37 MPG with the manual tranny, but only 34 with Hyundai's automatic. Part of that is probably a lack of efficiency in Hyundai's slushbox, and part might be an inability to get the engine out of boost in overdrive. I know some will point to the "inherent greater efficiency in manual transmissions" but that's just them not realizing that manuals sometimes have taller gearing than automatics. And sometimes the automatic has the taller gearing. Like with Mazda.