- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
What’s the best car of 2012? Who knows. Is a Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 better than a Ferrari 458 Italia? What about the Scion FR-S? Or a Prius Plug-in Hybrid? The past year has seen the launch of numerous excellent vehicles, including some we really didn’t expect to be any good. That said, we’ve put together our list of the top five surprisingly good cars of 2012, starting with the updated Mazda3.
Mazda‘s new SkyActiv engine was never intended to be used in the current Mazda3 platform, but with the new 40-mpg motor already developed, product planners decided it didn’t make sense just to sit on the technology – especially in a hyper-competitive segment where cars like the Cruze, Focus and Elantra are all claiming the big 40-mpg rating.
Mazda has finally released official pricing on the updated 2012 Mazda3 with the optional 40-mpg SkyActiv engine model starting at $18,450. That model, the Mazda3 i Touring, makes 155-hp and 148 lb-ft of torque for a 5 percent improvement in overall power, a 10 percent improvement in peak torque and a 15 percent improvement in low to mid-range torque. Plus, it delivers 21 percent better fuel economy.
Mazda recently unveiled its new 2012 Mazda3 model, a mid-cycle update with one important change under the hood. Along with some cosmetic updates, the 3 gets Mazda’s new SkyActiv engine. At the time, Mazda was only willing to say that it was a direct-injection 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, targeting a 20 percent fuel economy improvement, while also adding low-end and mid-range torque.
Revealed today at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Mazda has confirmed that the SkyActiv-equipped Mazda3 will arrive at dealers in the U.S. and Canada this Fall. In addition, a diesel SkyActiv engine will be available a year later, with Mazda joining Volkswagen as the only non-premium automaker to offer a diesel in a passenger car.
Canada is a popular market for Mazda where the Mazda3 compact rivals the Honda Civic as the best-selling passenger car, and so it’s not a big surprise that the Japanese automaker chose the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto to announce the introduction of its SkyActiv engine and transmission in the 3.