Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

Mazda Motor Corp. says its new gasoline and diesel powertrains, slated to debut as early as 2011, will enable it to meet its lofty ambition of improving fuel economy across its lineup.

The auto maker’s 4-cyl. Sky-G direct-injection gas engine and Sky-D diesel mill, unveiled at the New York auto show today, will be a “huge step toward accomplishing our stated goal of achieving a 30% improvement in global fuel economy by 2015,” Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi says in a statement.

The Sky-G engine, which the auto maker says will boost fuel efficiency 15%, while also increasing engine power, will be the core powertrain in future Mazda vehicles. The auto maker reportedly will produce the Sky-G in displacements ranging from 1.3L to 2.0L

Along with the new engines comes a new transmission – the 6-speed automatic Sky Drive, reputedly the smallest and lightest in its class, which Mazda says is expected to improve fuel economy by an additional 5%, while achieving “a direct-performance feel like that of a dual-clutch transmission.”

Yamanouchi says the auto maker intends to launch the Sky-G engine mated to Sky-Drive in the U.S. in 2011. Following that, Mazda says it will roll out the new powertrain configuration in all markets. In which vehicles the technology will debut has yet to be announced.

The Sky-D engine mated to Sky-Drive will arrive in the U.S. in 2012 in a midsize car and is expected to achieve highway fuel economy of up to 43 mpg (5.5 L/100 km), which Mazda says is a 20% improvement over the 2.2L diesel it currently sells in markets outside the U.S.

The diesel mill will meet stringent Tier 2 Bin 5 regulations because of Mazda’s proprietary catalyst technology, which does not require a urea exhaust treatment.

“By optimizing our existing technologies – engines, transmissions, weight reduction and aerodynamics – we aim to benefit all our customers and minimize the cost of ownership,” Yamanouchi says. “The phased introduction of these new technologies will form the building blocks of Mazda’s future.”

The auto maker also says its all-new ’11 Mazda2 B-car is scheduled to arrive in U.S. showrooms in July with a base price of $13,980, excluding a $750 destination and delivery charge.

The Mazda2, which shares a platform with the new Ford Fiesta, will offer two trim levels – entry level Sport and Touring.

The Mazda2 Sport will come equipped with a 100-hp 1.5L 4-cyl. engine mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.

Standard equipment includes antilock brakes, dynamic stability control, traction control, electric power-assist steering, 15-in. wheels, tilt steering wheel, remote keyless entry system and 60/40 split fold-down rear seats.

The Mazda2 Touring, with a base price of $15,435, comes with the same engine and transmission options as the Sport but adds upgraded cloth-seat fabric with red piping, 15-in. alloy wheels, fog lights, rear roof spoiler, chrome exhaust tip and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

bpope@wardsauto.com