Mazda to show concept, fuel efficient engines in Tokyo

Mazda announces its lineup for the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Mazda Kiyora
The Kiyora concept, already shown in Paris, won't be the highlight of the Tokyo Motor Show. Mazda

Getting a jump on the competition, Mazda announced its lineup for next month's Tokyo Motor Show, which includes the Kiyora concept car, two new engines, and a new transmission. Usually concept cars are the show highlight, but in this case, the Kiyora is a beard, as it was already shown at last year's Paris auto show . The real news will be the more efficient power trains that Mazda developed, although these lack the glamor of a design concept.

Mazda Sky-G engine
Mazda's new Sky-G engine gets 15 percent better torque and fuel economy than current engines. Mazda

However, this power train tech will have a more realizable effect on Mazda's vehicles and how we drive them. This line of power train tech goes by a new eco-brand from Mazda, Sky. The Sky-G is a direct injection engine with a newly designed block. The design reduces friction and delivers a more efficient fuel burn. Mazda claims that the 2-liter version would get 15 percent better fuel economy and torque compared with its current 2-liter gasoline engine. Mazda will also show a Sky-D engine, a turbo-charged diesel that shows efficiency improvements of 20 percent over Mazda's current 2.2-liter diesel engine. Although Mazda says the Sky-D shows lower exhaust emissions, it's not clear whether that engine would meet U.S. emissions requirements.

The Sky-Drive, a new transmission from Mazda, will also be on display. It's an automatic, using a torque converter, but Mazda has refined it to reduce friction and slip, delivering a feel comparable to a dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Mercedes-Benz previously did an impressive job refining its automatic transmissions for more direct gear engagement, and we anticipate that Mazda's Sky-Drive should deliver a similar feel. Mazda says the refinement of the transmission delivers a 5 percent increase in fuel efficiency.

Mazda's theme for this line of Sky power train technology at the Tokyo show will be "The Mazda Sky concept--Providing driving pleasure and environmental and safety features for all customers!" The grammar may be amusing, but the overall import is that Mazda intends to increase its fuel efficiency by 30 percent from 2008 to 2015. With these technology improvements, the company seems well on its way.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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