The 2012 Mazda 3 takes a leadership role in automotive engineering with what Mazda is calling SkyActiv technology, ''an engineering philosophy that starts with a blank slate and open mind.''
The big change for 2012 is the introduction of a new 2.0-liter engine that gets Mazda's SkyActiv treatment, delivering a terrific 28 miles per gallon in the city, 40 mpg on the highway. In fact, during one good run with that engine, we got 43.7 mpg. The SkyActiv engine runs on Regular gasoline.
The 2012 Mazda3 lineup features two new SkyActiv transmissions to go with the SkyActiv engine: a 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual. We found both worked beautifully.