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A Mazda powertrain engineer says that the Japanese automaker doesn’t “believe in” using continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) or downsized turbocharged petrol engines.
Speaking to Road & Track at the Los Angeles Auto Show, powertrain engineer Jay Chen of Mazda North America said that downsized turbo engines were all about “trying to get great fuel economy and engine efficiency in one very small operating point”.
But in the real world, Chen explained, the results were vastly different.
“We’ve determined that CVTs and downsized turbocharging are not the solutions we want. It doesn’t drive like a Mazda,” Chen told the US publication, adding that “in real-world driving, our normal Skyactiv engine still outperforms a downsized turbo both in drivability and C02 output”.
“We don’t necessarily believe in what the other guys are doing. We believe the internal-combustion engine is here to stay; we believe our approach is better. In the past, Mazda has tried to compete with Toyota and Honda head-to-head as a mainstream headline commodity manufacturer, and we [got] hurt from that,” he said.
Mazda’s latest approach, of course, involves its new Skyactiv-X engine, which is set to become the world’s first commercial petrol mill to employ compression ignition (it will also feature a supercharger). The automaker says the new technology will unlock both more performance and improved efficiency.
Earlier this year, Mazda and Toyota signed an agreement to enter a “business and capital alliance”, which will include the establishment of a joint venture to produce vehicles in the United States. And Chen suggested that Toyota was coming round to Mazda’s way of doing things.
“They’re actually starting to see benefits of how we do things. Obviously, [Toyota’s] new engine is very similar to our Skyactiv-G engine. They envy us and our ability to challenge and do things differently. Their deal is that they want to study our engine expertise,” Chen said.