Mazda has updated the innovative Skyactiv-X engines found in its CX-30 compact SUV and the Mazda3 family hatchback, improving both power and economy. The current Skyactiv-X petrol engines use diesel technology to make combustion more efficient, while also making the most of mild-hybrid systems.

The already-efficient 2-litre engines have become even more eco-friendly for 2021, though, with modifications including a tweaked compression ratio, new pistons and alterations to the mild-hybrid system’s software. All that means the latest engine – which wears the e-Skyactiv X moniker – is now slightly more powerful and a tad more efficient.

A 6 bhp increase in output has taken the total to 184 bhp, while also reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by between 5 g/km and 11 g/km, depending on the model. That news not only improves the performance of the mild-hybrid models, but it also means customers choosing the 2021 cars will pay less in company car tax.

Gallery: Mazda CX-30 e-Skyactiv X GT Sport Tech

For example, a driver choosing the cheapest e-Skyactiv X CX-30 – the front-wheel drive manual SE-L Lux – will see emissions 6 g/km lower than the outgoing Skyactiv-X model. That’s enough to drop the car down a tax bracket, reducing company car tax from 29 percent to 28 percent. Better still, the car also becomes more economical, offering an extra 2.5 mpg over its predecessor.

If you go for the high-end GT Sport model with four-wheel drive, you’ll see emissions fall by 11 g/km, while fuel economy improves by 2.4 mpg. And although the new engine makes little difference to the performance figures, Mazda claims it also makes the car easier to drive and better on fuel in the real world.

The new engine is also available on the Mazda3 hatchback, where it offers similar improvements to performance and efficiency. Again, improvements in emissions range from 5-11 g/km, with the new engine offered on all but the entry-level SE-L model. Both the new Mazda3 and the updated CX-30 will arrive in the UK from April 1, but they are both available to order now.

“Our spark-controlled compression ignition (SPCCI) engine technology is part of our multi-solution approach to powertrains and sustainability that has also seen the introduction of Mazda M Hybrid in Mazda3 and Mazda CX-30, plus the launch of the Mazda MX-30 – our first battery electric car,” said Jeremy Thomson, managing director at Mazda UK.

“The updates to this technology with e-Skyactiv X have further enhanced the unique blend of performance and efficiency offered by our Skyactiv-X Technology. The Mazda CX-30 is now our best selling car in the UK, and 47 percent of CX-30s and Mazda3s sold in the UK feature the SPCCI engine, so I’m delighted that the 2021 models are now ready for customers to configure, order and engage with remotely via our digitally open dealer network.”

Gallery: Mazda3 e-Skyactiv X GT Sport Tech