We don’t believe in CVTs or downsizing, says Mazda

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Mazda says it will not chase CVTs or engine downsizing.

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.

  • teofli

    Obviously if the Skyactiv engine provides greater fuel economy and emits less carbon mot of us the oldies will choose it.

  • motor1

    On paper the mini turbos look impressive, but that’s not the case on the road. Then there’s the issue of reliability. Those small turbocharged engines work very hard to give that performance and will not last as long as a naturally aspirated engine of slightly bigger capacity. Mazda is obviously choosing long term reliability over short term performance. As for CVT’s, maybe they good for fuel consumption but they sure can spoil the drivability of any car spectacularly

  • disqus_hiF7NvKYKq

    At last a automaker and powertrain engineer with savvy. Mazda marque sure is going places in the major markets. Sales on the up as more consumers realise that highly stressed motor cycle size engines only offer short term vroom vroom power and don’t really offer the customers reliability, durability and longevity particularly in SA climates. And CVT gearboxes are not rugged enough as they don’t last and break too easily vs the torque converter auto boxes.

  • Best car brand!!!!!!!

    • Swona

      lol, yes it is

  • Swona

    “in real-world driving, our normal Skyactiv engine still outperforms a downsized turbo both in drivability and C02 output”

    Mr Chen is lying.
    Mazda’s are great and would choose them over a german any day.
    C02 output yes, drivability fantastic… out perform no, fuel efficient yes but not better.

    This guy must stop trying to justify a design decision.

    • Chapeau Rouge

      Remember that he is probably comparing the 2l Skyactiv engine to a turbo of much smaller capacity. It may be quite possible for the Mazda to outperform a 1.4l turbo especially at sea level.

  • Arthur Dent

    Great cars. They do deserve to do much better.