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One of numerous Mazdas on display at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the Demio (sold as the Mazda2 in North America) Smart Stylish, delivers as promised with a classy look that adds some luxury appeal to this sub-compact.
Based on the new ultra-efficient Skyactiv 1.3-liter model, the Smart Stylish gets a complete aerodynamic overhaul, with new front and rear bumpers as well as side skits and some large BBS wheels. Bringing the package together is a lowered suspension.
GALLERY: Mazda Demio Smart Stylish
Although it’s providing a fleet of some 100 Demio (Mazda2) all-electric vehicles to select lease customers in Japan (see above), Mazda doesn’t currently offer any other EV passenger vehicles.
However, that may soon change, as Chief Engineer Mitsuru Fujinaka has said the Hiroshima based automaker is looking to get regulartory approval so it can eventually offer EVs for sale in the United States, particularly California. “Sooner or later we will have these electric vehicles,” he said. “At least by 2018 though we will try to do it earlier.”
The JDM Mazda Demio models currently under test, sport a 70 kW electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack that adds approximately 220 lbs in extra weight. Fujinaka says the goal was to offer a zero tailpipe emisisons vehicle that delivered comparable performance to the regular 1.5-liter gas engined Demio and thanks to instant torque (equivalent of some 148 lb-ft), the electric version can scoot from 0-62 mph in less than 10.7 seconds and reach speeds of 87 mph. Range maxes out at approximately 125 miles.
Although the current Demio (Mazda2) EV likely won’t be sold in export markets, there’s a good chance that similar size successors could be. If and when that happens, it’ll be interesting to see both Mazda’s pricing strategy and rollout program, particularly here in the US.
This Fall Mazda will introduce the 2012 Mazda3, sporting the first use of the automaker’s new SkyActiv technologies in North America. Full details about the engine aren’t yet available, but it is a 1.6-liter and uses direct injection. That car won’t, however, be the first ever model to receive a new SkyActiv engine, with Mazda planning to introduce a SkyActiv-equipped Mazda2 in its home market of Japan – where it goes by the name Demio.
The new 1.3-liter 4-cylinder has an ultra-high compression ratio of 14.0:1 and features both direct-injection and dual sequential valve timing system to achieve 83-hp at 5400 rpm and 83 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.
Mated to a CVT transmission and an updated start-stop system, fuel economy for the new engine is rated at 70 mpg on the Japanese test cycle.
Mazda will first introduce the new engine this week at the Automotive Engineering Exposition in Tokyo, Japan, before it finds its way into a facelifted version of the Demio later this year. Mazda has not said if the 1.3-liter could find its way under the hood of the U.S.-spec Mazda2, but in a release the company outlined how the SkyActive technologies are part of a plan to reduce the automakers global fuel economy 30 percent by 2015.