Mazda in Japan has released details of its updated Mazda3 hatchback and sedan range, which includes a power boost for the SkyActiv-X engine.

When this 2,0-litre, four-cylinder “spark-plug-controlled compression ignition” engine debuted in the Mazda3, it generated 132 kW and 224 N.m. This latest update, however, sees those peak outputs increase to 140 kW and 240 N.m.

Of course, this powertrain is not available in South Africa, with the company’s local arm saying the country’s fuel quality prevents it from offering the SkyActiv-X option here.

In addition, models equipped with the SkyActiv-D 1,8-litre turbodiesel mill (likewise not available locally) now make 95 kW (up from 85 kW), while maximum twisting force of 270 N.m is offered over a wider engine speed range (1 600-2 600 r/min).

From what we can tell, no updates have been made to the naturally aspirated SkyActiv-G petrol units that make up the range in South Africa, while the turbocharged 2,5-litre powerplant still appears to be exclusive to North America.

What else is new for the JDM version of the Mazda3? Well, while styling appears unchanged, the Japanese firm has made some under-the-skin changes, tweaking the coil springs and dampers across all models and thus “improving dynamics performance and riding comfort”.

Mazda has also updated various driver assistance features, including the “cruising and traffic support” function and the radar cruise control system.

Lastly, the range in Japan now includes a special edition commemorating both the 2020 World Car Design of the Year award won by the Mazda3 as well as the company’s 100th anniversary.