Mazda 3 SISS

Focus rival debuts firm’s new stop-start technology

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Refined and robustly engineered, Mazda’s SISS stop-start system has the hallmark of a great fuel saving technology – namely that its operation goes virtually unnoticed by the driver. While bosses remain coy about the true extent of the system’s effectiveness, the firm has hinted that it will offer real value for money when it hits showrooms in 2009.

Zoom-zoom is on a mission to go green-green! And we discovered Mazda’s on the right track when we drove the new 2.2-litre diesel, which is set to debut in the 2009 version of the 6 (Issue 1,031). But what about the brand’s petrol engines? Joining the diesel is a direct-injection 2.0-litre petrol powerplant which will debut in the all-new 3, also due next year.

This engine will be the first to feature Mazda’s sophisticated new stop-start set-up. The Stop Idle Start System (SISS) cuts the car’s ignition when it slows to below 3km/h and the gearbox is in neutral. Special sensors on the crank then prime the engine with petrol ready to fire up again in only 0.35 seconds.

In practice, the system is controlled and refined, and it’s at least as appealing as BMW’s EfficientDynamics system. The new engine is also very torquey and responsive at low revs.

Mazda plans to use this technology on petrol engines before applying it to a new 1.6-litre rotary unit, due in 2010, and a super-efficient diesel which arrives in 2011. SISS can also be fitted to models with automatic gearboxes, as previewed by Mazda’s Kiyora Paris Motor Show concept, and goes on sale in Japan next year.

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