The Mazda Kai Concept Previews a Future Without Spark Plugs

The production car previewed by this concept will be the first home for Mazda's new homogenous-charge combustion ignition engine. We can't wait to drive it.

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Mazda raised quite a stir this summer when it announced that it had cracked the code for making a supercharged, homogenous-charge combustion-ignition (HCCI) engine, promising it'd be in production by 2019. Later, the automaker confirmed that this engine, dubbed Skyactiv-X, would find it's home in the next-generation Mazda 3 compact. And now, we get our first preview of that car.

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The Mazda Kai Concept makes its debut today at the Tokyo Motor Show, and it gives us a good idea of what the next-generation Mazda 3 hatchback should look like. It rides on Mazda's upcoming, second-generation Skyactiv architecture that's set to underpin all of the Japanese company's future cars, and yep, it's got the Skyactiv-X engine.

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The Kai Concept's design follows in the footsteps of the gorgeous Mazda RX Vision Concept that debuted at Tokyo two years ago. At the Motor Show, the Kai Concept will share the stage with Mazda's Vision Coupe concept, a fastback four-door sedan.

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Mazda promises that future models riding on the new Skyactiv platform will be quieter and more comfortable than their predecessors, and more fun to drive. Of course, that new Skyactiv-X engine is a big step forward for Mazda's future cars too.

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As we've explained before Mazda's Skyactiv-X engine will use compression to ignite its fuel-air mixture at low loads, only utilizing spark plugs under harder acceleration. It promises diesel fuel economy and torque with gas-powered performance and refinement.

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Considering Mazda has said previously that its HCCI engine would reach production in 2019, perhaps the next-generation 3 will debut for the 2020 model year. We can't wait to see what Mazda has in store.

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