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May 28, 2018

Mazda's Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture: It's All Come to This (w/ Video)

Everything Mazda’s been working on from its monotsukuri innovation, bundled planning, and common architecture is coming together with this: their all-new platform which they call Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. Underpinning future Mazda vehicles starting with the all-new 2019 Mazda3, it’s meant to deliver the ultimate feeling of oneness with the car by optimizing innate human abilities.

Here are 5 key points you should know about Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture:

#1. It’s not just a platform

Mazda isn’t looking at Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture in the traditional sense where it’s simply a platform or top hat. Instead, it’s a holistic approach, encompassing total vehicle development from the platform, body, and chassis to even the seats and tires.

Seeing it bolted onto the current Mazda3 means it’ll be more or less the same size as the current vehicle, a fact confirmed by Mazda’s Executive Officer in Charge of R&D Administration and Product Strategy Hidetoshi Kudo.

#2. Human-centered design

Having announced its “Human-centric Design Philosophy” back in 2016, Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture brings that one step forward. The evolution of the individual Skyactiv has come to this. With every element fully integrated, this new vehicle architecture is said to optimize innate human abilities improving both driver input and car feedback. As a result, the car can quickly respond to changes in the driving environment while its occupants will be made more comfortable.

Mazda studied the human walk as basis for its Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. While walking looks deceptively simple, the body naturally balances itself using its shoulders, chest, and pelvis. This is all while it keeps the head motion suppressed (the head bops up and down 40 millimeters while walking, but you never realize it).

#3. Relying on the ability to balance

With that, Mazda is looking to exploit the human ability to balance itself to deliver what its engineers call the “ideal state for a car.” Keeping the occupants’ head stable just like walking is key and they’ve done so by keeping the spine at its natural S shape and use the legs and pelvis as sort of springs—transferring road feedback just like walking.

While the new architecture is 10 percent lighter than the current platform, the work doesn’t just start and end with weight. Instead, the real work here is to make sure the overall mass enables smooth movement—akin to balancing on a sphere. They’ve achieved this by looking at how forces act on a vehicle and by controlling it by adding rigidity, especially diagonally and employing a torsion beam axle.

#4. It’s got a torsion beam axle, but…

Moving its upcoming Mazda3 from a multi-link independent rear suspension to a torsion beam axle one sounds like a downer, but Mazda does have reasons to their madness. First, this simpler setup allows engineers to fine tune the chassis across a variety of road surfaces. Second, it allows for less noise, harshness, and vibration (an acknowledged Mazda weakness) to enter the cabin because the torsion beam connects the rear wheels with a single steel subframe that twists via a transverse beam. Third, it’ll allow for expanded rear seat and cargo space without having to lengthen the wheelbase as much.

For those wanting a sportier driving experience, don’t fret. Mazda’s torsion beam design is unique in that it broadens at the ends strengthening the area near each wheel helping minimize alignment distortion through the suspension’s vertical travel. Mazda also said that during their test parameters, this new set-up is far more superior than the current model’s independent multi-link setup in “every aspect.”

#5. It’s about perception

Realizing that a car’s smoothness is dictated largely by perception (typically the difference between what the human body perceives and what the car actually goes through), Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture adds ring structures to improve diagonal stiffness by 30 percent compared to the current model. With that, forces that act on the car are transmitted almost instantly keeping the occupants stable.

At the same time, instead of just focusing to reduce cabin jolting (the traditional thinking), Mazda is now using the entire vehicle, starting from the body’s rigidity to the tires, wheels, spring and damper, and even seats to mitigate unwanted forces acting on the car over a period of time. In fact, in their studies they’ve actually opted for softer tire sidewalls allowing G-Vectoring Control to work better.


  1. Their cars are already better than the competitors and they keep improving. Good job Mazda!

    1. Malakas lang PR ng Mazda kaya nakakagawa sila ng PR-Media Complex.

      Release ng PR > Fills Media pages on slow news days > Exponentially more PR for Mazda > More revenues for Media

      Pero when you look at the market, the wisdom of the crowd prevails.

      Toyota pa din ang king.

    2. Wisdom or ignorant mentality of the crowd? If you compare toyota's offerings to honda, subie or mazda, they're very incompetent specs and equipment while having a higher or similar price. The main reason why people buy toyota is due to the so called "toyota reliability", cheaper parts due to the mass of ignorant buyers. But if you look at the innovation part, Toyota's only innovation is in the hybrid area which is almost non existent here. Most hesitate to buy mazda, honda or subaru due to their perceived expensive parts. That is why toyota keeps selling less valued products for more money.

    3. Still Toyota and accord will outsell your Mazda. Ayaw nila ng corporate look(aka Mazda cost cutting) niyo haha it isnt appealing at all when they all look the same.

    4. 1. I've never heard of the term "ignorance of the crowd". Homo Sapiens have existed for 300,000 years. If the crowd is ignorant most of the time, humans would have long been extinct.

      2. See the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This is where most self-proclaimed know-it-all's fit. These are the people who bash the crowd as ignorant and would have you believe that their hipster choices are the best.

      3. If people are buying Toyota's because of reliability, what's wrong with that? If Mazda and the likes can't even produce a car with decent reliability, what's the point of all those so-called "innovations"? I know. Marketing.

    5. 1. What I meant is the ignorance of the crowd regarding product to product comparison, why would you liken it to humanity's extinction? That's a different topic. If you base spec for spec a Toyota Altis 2.0 V for a Honda Civic RS Turbo or for a Mazda 3 R/Speed, the Toyota is closely priced with the RS Turbo or in Mazda's case, the Mazda is overwhelmingly equipped compared to the Altis. The Toyota is clearly overpriced for what it is and despite that fact, it still sells more than the Honda or the Mazda. If you notice most car buyers here don't even research or test drive all of the three, they just go straight to Toyota because it is the "safe choice". That is why I stated that they are ignorant, and why Toyota keeps raking in profits despite the competition's best efforts.

      2. Hipster? The Honda Civic and the Mazda 3 are simply the best choices in the C-segment if you really did your research. It's not a know it all, I just did my research, and they did not.

      3. Every modern Japanese car today are reliable if maintained properly. Even Toyota isn't that bulletproof in terms of problems. Every brand has its minor problems, Toyota cars aren't invincible. How are you sure that Mazda and the likes aren't reliable? I've owned a Mitsubishi, a Honda and now a Mazda, and I haven't experienced any problems so far. If there is really one brand with the best marketing, it is toyota. Selling under equipped cars at a similar price or even higher than the competition.

    6. LOL.

      - Toyota and Honda have bigger budgets for marketing and promotions, just look at their ride&drives and the payola they give to local motoring journalists, so this BS about Mazda PR doesn't square with the facts. Bigger marketshare==bigger marketing budget. I commend Mazda for real innovation, and not just rehashed low-tech crap packaged in a newer shell like what the others do.

      - The Toyota perceived "reliability & resale value" is literally the sales pitch of their marketing professionals, only ignorant & lazy sheeple would fall for that. If we go by Toyota's logic they would still be selling Corollas with the 2E engine, 4-speed MTs and 3-speed ATs. After all, it's proven to be reliable and easy to maintain right? Lulz.

      - More marketing BS about more sales==better product. Lulz. That's the function of marketing & advertising, to compel the ignorant and easily-impressionable to buy thc cheapest-to-produce, low-tech product. Just look at phones, cameras & other consumer electronics for examples.

  2. This is why driving a Mazda feels so different than the others. They really care about the human part, and not just speed and power. Though, most of the cars except for the base models with the smaller engines are no slouches. I wish they would offer the 2.5L engine for the Mazda 3 here.


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