Mazda - will SkyActiv dilute ZoomZoom?

bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
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?


  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Dilute Zoom, ZOOM...?


    Sink Mazda...NO!

    License SkyActive technology to Ford if nothing else.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    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...:)
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2012
    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!
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    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. :)
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377
    edited August 2012
    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!!! :P )

    ... 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!!!! :cry: ) 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 I’ve 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 EPA’s tests, and you’ll meet or exceed the EPA’s numbers. Intensively employ the pedals, drive short distances in cold weather, or exceed 55 on the highway, and those numbers aren’t 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.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    edited August 2012
    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. ;)
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377
    edited August 2012
    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.

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    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. ;)
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2012
    Here's the DEAL..

    The PRIMARY advantage (roadway) gained from forced induction comes from the ability to COOL the PRE-COMPRESSED charge air. Compressing and THEN cooling thereby increasing the EFFECTIVE compression ratio but without the charge air HEAT level were the compression done all within the cylinder.

    Basically, when it comes to forced induction, the more you can compromise between the two, lowest "viable" base/native compression vs highest EFFECTIVE compression ratio, the better.

    So while Mazda uses the highest base/native compression ratio enabled by DFI, Ford is stuck with a lower number in order to viably raise the CR via forced induction.

    Now, if you needed the HP gain of forced induction closer to 100% of the time, as in an aircraft engine, it would be quite reasonable to have the lowest viable CR otherwise.

    But Ford, with the EcoBoost design, must run the engine in derated/detuned mode, 10:1 vs 12:1 (or even 14:1) close to 100% of the time.
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377
    The PRIMARY advantage (roadway) gained from forced induction comes from the ability to COOL the PRE-COMPRESSED charge air. Compressing and THEN cooling thereby increasing the EFFECTIVE compression ratio but without the charge air HEAT level were the compression done all within the cylinder.

    That is really a strange thing to say. The primary advantage to forced induction IS greater torque/L and at lower rpms. Making equivalent NA engines seem 'high strung.'

    Cooling is just bringing the temp back to ambient. You even kinda allude to that here:

    Basically, when it comes to forced induction, the more you can compromise between the two, lowest "viable" base/native compression vs highest EFFECTIVE compression ratio, the better.

    'More the better', yes. But that is not the 'primary advantage' to forced induction. Intercooling is a way around the PV=nRT heating, but it's not the 'primary advantage'.

    That's like saying the primary advantage to a transmission is the automatic transmission cooler. It's not like they end up running cooler than a manual. The cooler is just a feature to improve longevity and efficiency.

    But Ford, with the EcoBoost design, must run the engine in derated/detuned mode, 10:1 vs 12:1 (or even 14:1) close to 100% of the time.

    Think of the children!!!! Low compression ratio's!!!! The CHILDREN!!!! :cry:

    That's all super. However, in the real 'roadway' world, it doesn't seem to matter.

    They don't seem derated or detuned, when they are achieving better fuel economy, as well as power and torque than the best that Natural Aspiration can offer.

    A high compression ration hasn't proven to be the cause of any significant improvement, compared to proper gearing of the transmission in the Skyactiv.

    All this flap you make about CRs and FI, its all utterly pointless. Because in the world of small engines whomever builds the best transmission and the most aerodynamic car gets the best mileage. There's less than 5% difference between the best of your magical high-CR NA engines and the best 9.5 CR FI engines.

    I don't know why you've been talking about it this long. It's useless.

    There is no 20% improvement in fuel economy to be found over Fiat's 1.4L turbo compared to Skyactiv. There's hardly anything in it at all. And the Fiat has MUCH more development potential left in it. Skyactiv is most likely closer to tapped out.

    And there are reports of Skyactiv cars not hitting advertised mileage...

    There is absolutely no point in Ford going Skyactiv, as opposed to refining Ecoboost. It is not a 'dead-end' anymore than the turbo engines from Fiat/Chrysler, BMW, VW, or GM are.

    Even Mazda is abandoning the Skyactiv V6 (likely because it would suck). They are going to continue with turbo-4s.

    And Ford will likely sell more Ecoboosts over the next decade than Mazda will sell automobiles. Not bad for a 'dead-end' ;)
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377
    edited August 2012
    But Ford, with the EcoBoost design, must run the engine in derated/detuned mode, 10:1 vs 12:1 (or even 14:1) close to 100% of the time.

    That's actually quite false.

    I just checked on my way to work, took the long way around so I could drive on the highway.

    At highway speeds, ~60-70mph (I didn't do 80 because I'd be recklessly breaking the law at that point) the Ecoboost averages 3psi for any highway trip.


    On coast, it descends to 1psi, but during any 'resume', 'accel' or slight inclines (remember this is an interstate, so the inclines are very slight, not steep at all) it hit 5psi about 20 times on only a 10 mile trip. But for a perfectly 'flat' section in which I was trying to maintain 65mph, the turbos were producing 3psi above ambient.

    3 psi over vacuum on a 10:1 CR engine is almost exactly 12:1 EFFECTIVE COMPRESSION RATIO.

    And when going uphill, the Ecoboost is at 13.5:1 (5 psi available) effective compression ratio, on regular gas, whilst the Skyactiv is 'detuned' to 12:1 in the US.

    I've already demonstrated that with less than 5-10% accelerator application, the boost goes into the (+). Actually up to 5psi above ambient. It takes about 5% accelerator application to drive at highway speeds. The turbos are spooled, the engine is running 'mild boost', above what vacuum could provide.

    This is why even the tiny little Fiat 1.4 with its sub - 10:1 compression ratio gets up to 41mpg in one of the heaviest compacts on the market.

    It's why I can hit 26-27mpg on a highway trip in an Ecoboost 3.5. The boost gauge starts to tick up towards positive at highway speeds.


    It is more likely closer to 10-20% of the time (idling) when it doesn't even matter.

    You wasted years of your life arguing this point.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    The bottom line here is that turbo engines have both advantages and disadvantages. For "smaller" applications, Mazda decided not to go with the added complexity and cost of forced induction, and instead chose to enhance engine and exhaust design to deal with higher NA compression ratios.

    This also makes sense in that it reduces the number of engine blocks and headers they need to worry about. Mazda is a small company, one of the smallest car manufacturers out there, they're not even as big as Chrysler, much less Ford or GM. Up to 2.5L it's N/A SkyActiv, and above that, you slap a turbo on the 2.0L or 2.5L to get V6 power. That makes the most of their limited resources, where designing a whole slew of turbo engines from 1.0L all the way to 2.5L would be very difficult for them right now. I kind of question why Ford is doing it, in fact, seems a bit wasteful, but they have the resources to have both a 1.0L turbo 3 and a 1.6L N/A 4 producing about the same HP, one for the Fiesta, one for the Focus, plus the mutated 2.0L former MZR that they cranked up the compression on.

    Ford's selling a lot of EcoBoosts because they're putting it in the F150. They sell a lot of F150s, so duh, they're going to sell a lot of EcoBoosts. Q.E.D. :shades:
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    "...I kind of question why Ford is doing it, in fact, seems a bit wasteful.."

    Two reasons, Ford is on a sales roll at the moment due to the number of deep pocket purchasers of "boy-racer" mentality and a surplus of red-neck PU drivers.

    Speaking of the F150, browse about and find that Ford wasn't even prepared, and still isn't, to solve the riddle of condensation inside the intercooler. They actually have US patents that pre-date the F150 and apply directly to the design shortcoming of the condensation problem in the EcoBoost F150. Yet they seemingly didn't have the common sense to use the knowledge.

    Ford's initial fix, move the problem further SOUTH(***), down to the gulf coast maybe.

    Lower the efficiency of the IC so the atmospheric conditions must be more extreme, more HOT and humid, to incur the problem.
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377
    edited August 2012
    Skyactiv yo!

    Ford is now working on a second fix for the condensation issue. So obviously... the are going to continue Ecoboost development, not 'abandon' it.

    It is still utterly stupid to claim Ford is at a 'dead end' with Ecoboost, when most manufacturers are turning to forced induction because of its development potential, in term of power/torque AND FUEL ECONOMY.

    Ford will continue to be on a sales roll for the foreseeable future.

    To adulthood 'boy racer' wwest, everything you ever knew about turbocharged engines, even the 'patented' Ecoboost, has been proven wrong.

    3 psi cruising at 65mph on the highway. 12:1 effective compression ratio. You literally wasted years of your life on this argument.

    What did Ford tell you when you suggested your foolishly overcomplicated bi-compressor bi-modal heat-exchanging engine?

    I'll bet they told you to pound sand, and now you're upset about it.

    It's not nice to pick on people smarter than yourself, i.e. these 'rednecks' who all seem to know more about engines than you do.
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377

    I don't think Mazda is doing anything wrong, for the record.

    I just think it is stupid to claim Ford is at a 'dead end' by someone who hasn't even made a single claim about how Ecoboost works correctly (I'm not referring to you.)

    I think Mazda will be fine. Still a small maker, making safe decisions. They are going to go the same route as Ford in the end, having a mix of NA engines and turbocharged engines.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    I didn't realize this would be one of the great debates of our time, or I would have titled the thread differently. Maybe we should invite someone in to represent EarthDreams from Honda too. :shades:

    Do the other manufacturers have names for their fuel saving schemes? FIAT is using MultiAir on pretty much everything, but that seems to just be advanced CVVT.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    I hear turbos are great for higher altitudes, but I personally just don't trust the additional complexity that much. It's another part to go bad, you know?
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377
    I personally would rather a turbo than any other car type.

    I'm just not worried too much about the complexity. Diesels are often even more complex and I love them as well.

    However, its totally subjective. I don't expect everyone to want to drive like me.

    And again, I do like Mazdas handling. I don't think you can buy a bad mainstream car these days. They are all better than they used to be in their respective ways.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    Mazda is doubling down on SkyActiv, making a 2.5L version for the Mazda6 (and other applications maybe?). Does that reduce the need for a SkyActiv diesel here? With the discontinuation of the Mazda2, will we see a sub-2L SkyActiv?

    I do wonder what they'll do with the CX-9 and it's V6...also kind of wonder when the mazda5 will get a SkyActiv engine.
  • bigmclargehugebigmclargehuge Member Posts: 377
    I'm sure there is less than 50% chance we'll see the Sky-diesel in the US. Many manufacturers have promised and failed to deliver on the same promise time and again.

    Shame too, sounds like a real class leader.

    Interesting to see what kind of numbers the Sky-2.5 puts down in the Mazda 6.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    I'd like to see the 2.5L go into the CX-5 and the Mazda5. Especially the latter, it'll be a very viable people-mover.
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