Mazda's local lineup now has three Skyactiv vehicles: the Mazda 6 with a 2.5-liter engine and the i-Eloop regenerative braking system; the CX-5 AWD Sport, also with a 2.5-liter engine and a precise slip detection system that engages all-wheel drive only when necessary; and the newly launched CX-5 FWD Pro with a 2.0-liter engine. All these vehicles also have the i-Stop idling feature.
Since fuel efficiency is one of the prime selling points of Skyactiv, it was only a matter of time before the technology was given a shakedown by way of an economy run--in this case, the Mazda Skyactiv Experiment.
But the thing with economy runs--especially when the local media is involved and prizes are at stake--is that they are hardly ever representative of real-world conditions. So, to ensure no extreme tactics are employed, Berjaya Auto Philippines, the official distributor of Mazda in the country, compiled a list of fuel-saving driving tricks (coasting in neutral, turning off the A/C) that will net penalties should they be employed. Marshals were also assigned to each test car to keep track of infringements.
Three units each of the 6, the CX-5 FWD Pro, and the CX-5 AWD Sport were used, for a total of nine test cars. Each unit carried three media participants and a marshal. The experiment was run over the course of two days, with the first day being a 30km city leg passing through heavy-traffic areas in Makati, Manila and Quezon City. The highway leg on the SCTEX the next day was 225km long, divided into three 75km portions separately run at 60kph, 80kph and 100kph. An additional objective for the second day was to find out which highway running speed returned the most efficient fuel-consumption figure (we'll discuss this in greater detail in a separate article).
Fuel consumption was determined via the fuel top-up method--in which the distance run between two top-ups is divided by the number of liters put in during the second refueling--using Shell FuelSave Gasoline. This 91-octane formulation satisfies the Skyactiv engine's fuel requirements.
The experiment results are summarized in table form below. For the city fuel consumption, one thing that stands out is the 27.802km/L figure achieved by Car #3, a CX-5 AWD Sport. It is more than twice the range (10.531km/L) managed by the next best unit, also a CX-5 AWD Sport (Car #2). Observers from the Automobile Association Philippines noted that the possible existence of an air pocket in Car #3's fuel system may have contributed to its stratospheric city figure.
However, our motorsports editor Mikko David, who'd been tapped to design the test route given his experience in mapping courses for similar events, offered this explanation: "Car #3 maximized i-Stop by leaving a gap of about two car lengths to the car in front when it stopped for a traffic light. Then, when the engine restarted and the light had not turned green, the driver would allow the vehicle to edge forward until it was right behind the car in front, at which point he stepped on the brakes for i-Stop to cut the engine again. In effect, he was getting two applications of i-Stop at every traffic light."
Asked if this went against the experiment's objectives, Mikko admitted, "It did, but to be fair, it also wasn't against the rules. It became a matter of maximizing the available technologies in the car. They also turned up the A/C temperature to 30 degrees when i-Stop cut the engine, and used the paddle shifters to get to the higher gears sooner. So air pocket or none, I believe Car #3 would still have achieved the best city figure."
He added: "If there's one thing I've learned from this event, it's that the media can be very crafty in economy runs. For sure they will go into the gray areas!"
By crafty, we take it to mean "tactics" you wouldn't do in real-world driving.
Anyway, Car #3's figures were not included in the average of city-highway fuel consumption per model. As for the rest of the results, do they meet your expectations of Skyactiv?
Photos by Sharleen Banzon
|City consumption||Highway consumption
|Car #1: CX-5 AWD Sp||6.174||16.439||11.306||12.283 (CX-5 AWD Sp)|
|Car #2: CX-5 AWD Sp||10.531||15.986||13.258|
|Car #3: CX-5 AWD Sp||27.802||14.994||21.398||(not included in average)|
|Car #4: CX-5 FWD Pr||8.162||16.295||12.228||13.418 (CX-5 FWD Pr)|
|Car #5: CX-5 FWD Pr||10.387||18.015||14.201|
|Car #6: CX-5 FWD Pr||9.398||18.249||13.824|
|Car #7: Mazda 6||6.906||18.744||12.825||13.767 (Mazda 6)|
|Car #8: Mazda 6||8.125||21.111||14.618|
|Car #9: Mazda 6||9.513||18.205||13.859|