Cars > Mazda > Mazda Axela Sport 20S SkyActiv 2012

By Ketan Patel

Mazda Axela Sport 20S SkyActiv 2012 Review

Mazda has been quite busy lately because not only have they revealed the Kuro Special Edition for the MX-5 2012, they also debuted the new 2013 MX-5 model in Japan known as the Roadster RS. The story does not stop here because the Mazda 3 (a.k.a. Axela in Japan) received a brand new performance package dubbed the Mazda Axela Sport 20S-Skyactiv. Let's take a look at some of the notable changes it will bring to the 2012 model.

Under its hood the Axela received a new engine version. The 2.0 liter DOHC direct-injection turbo unit has been mated with a Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed EC-AT Activematic gearbox which sends the power to the front wheels, the new package increasing the top speed of the hatchback to 240 km/h.

Fuel economy for the model with 15-inch wheels is rated at 17.4km per liter, but if the 16 or 17-inch wheels are selected fuel efficiency drops by one km per liter.

On the exterior some of the most notable traits of the Axela are the new set of 17-inch reflective aluminum wheels and the large rear roof spoiler. Inside, the Sport 20S received a few noticeable upgrades when compared to the other versions, including leather seats, leather-covered parking brake lever and shifter knob, plus cruise control.

Furthermore, the cabin has been made quieter with the use of sound-proof glass, thicker sound and vibration padding underneath the seats, plus the addition of accosting insulation below the A-pillar.

Other enhancements and safety features include the Adaptive Front lighting System, the Rear Vehicle monitoring system, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat and bi-Xenon headlights.

The price tag in Japan starts at 2,380,000 Yens (roughly $30,000). Availability outside of Japan has not been revealed so far, but overall the Mazda 3 2013 would be a much more interesting hatchback if it came with the Skyactiv package, and it would at least give it a fighting chance against the 2013 Ford Focus ST which interestingly enough also packs a 2.0 liter engine. In case neither one of these hatchbacks are your cup of tea, you might also be interested in taking a look at the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback or the Subaru Impreza Hatchback.

Hide Official Press Release

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation today announced the launch in Japan of a special edition of its Mazda Axela (known overseas as the Mazda3). In addition, several models in the Axela range have received upgrades. Sale of the special edition Mazda Axela Sports 20S-SKYACTIV Advanced Style and the upgraded models started today at all Mazda, Mazda Anfini and Mazda Autozam dealerships throughout Japan.

The Axela Sport 20S-SKYACTIV Advanced Style is based on the Axela Sport 20S-SKYACTIV and enhanced with features such as leather seats, a leather-wrapped parking brake lever, and cruise control. Additionally, ride quality is improved and noise in the cabin has been further reduced through the use of sound insulation and sound-proof glass. The model's sporty features include a speedometer scaled up to 240km/h and a large rear roof spoiler.

Safety features have also been upgraded, including the employment of Mazda's Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), which alters the direction of the headlights in accordance with vehicle speed and steering movements. In addition, the Rear Vehicle Monitoring system detects vehicles approaching from behind on either side when driving on the highway. Warning signals alert the driver if he or she attempts to change lanes when there is a risk of collision.

With the upgrade to the Axela range, revisions to the fuel management system of the highly efficient SKYACTIV-G 2.0 direct-injection gasoline engine have resulted in improved fuel economy. The Axela Sport 20C-SKYACTIV and 20S-SKYACTIV equipped with 15-inch tires achieve a fuel economy rating of 17.4km/L (JC08 mode test cycle) and qualify for a 75% reduction in both vehicle acquisition and vehicle weight taxes under Japan's eco-car tax reduction program*1.

The Mazdaspeed Axela is equipped with a powerful MZR 2.3-liter direct-injection turbo engine. Its look has been sharpened up with a new shark fin antenna and gunmetal gray for the aluminum wheels and lower rear bumper.

Main features of the special edition Mazda Axela Sport 20S-SKYACTIV Advanced Style

Superior high quality interior
  • Genuine leather seats and a parking brake lever with genuine leather cover
A quieter cabin
  • Sound-proof glass
  • Additional acoustic insulation beneath the hood and below the instrument panel
  • Thicker sound and vibration padding under the front seats and addition of acoustic insulation below the A-pillar.
Sporty interior and exterior design
  • Features the same large rear roof spoiler as the Mazdaspeed Axela (lower section is black)
  • 17-inch reflective aluminum wheels
  • Speedometer scaled up to 240 km/h
Enhanced safety and comfort
  • Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS)
  • Discharge headlights (bi-xenon)
  • Rear Vehicle Monitoring system
  • Automatic anti-glare rear view mirror
  • 8-way power adjustable driver's seat
  • Cruise control


Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Mazda Axela Sport 20S-SKYACTIV

  Model Drive Engine Transmission Price including
tax (yen)
Advanced Style*2
(6-speed EC-AT
2,380,000 50%
  • - A separate recycling fee of 13,640 yen is necessary in addition to the price listed above.
  • - If the special body color Crystal White Pearl Mica is selected, the price increases by 31,500 yen (including tax).


Main features of the upgraded Mazda Axela

Improved fuel economy of SKYACTIV-G 2.0 gasoline engine models. Axela Sports with 15-inch tires qualifies for 75% tax reduction.
  Model grade Tires (inch) Fuel economy
(JC08 mode test cycle)
15 17.8km/L 50%
20E-SKYACTIV 16*3 16.4km/L
15*3 17.4km/L 75%
20S-SKYACTIV 16/17*3 16.4km/L 50%
15-inch tires available on more model grades and with a wider range of options
  • 15-inch aluminum wheels option now available on the Axela 20C-SKYACTIV
  • 15-inch aluminum wheels are available with a wider range of options on the Axela Sedan 20E-SKYACTIV and Axela Sport 20S-SKYACTIV model grades.
Renewed design for both interior and exterior
  • The center cap of the aluminum wheels changed from silver to black.
  • Leather wrapped shift knob design is now the same for both the MZR 1.5-liter engine models and the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 gasoline engine models.
A sharp new sporty look inside and out compliments new features of the Mazdaspeed Axela
  • Shark fin antenna
  • 18-inch gunmetal gray aluminum wheels
  • Gunmetal gray rear lower bumper
  • Black door mirrors
  • Large rear roof spoiler (lower section is black)


Manufacturer's suggested retail prices for the upgraded Mazda Axela

  Model grade Drive Engine Transmission Price including
tax (yen)
Sedan 15C FWD MZR1.5L
(1500 DOHC)
(7 speed Activematic)
(2000 DOHC)
(6-speed EC-AT Activematic)
20E-SKYACTIV 2,050,000
20E (4WD) 4WD MZR2.0L
(2000 DOHC)
4-speed EC-AT 2,100,000
Sports 15C FWD MZR1.5L
(1500 DOHC)
(7 speed Activematic)
15S 1,790,000
(2000 DOHC)
(6-speed EC-AT Activematic)
20S-SKYACTIV 2,150,000
Mazdaspeed Axela MZR2.3L
DISI Turbo
(2300 DOHC)
6-speed MT 2,700,000
20E (4WD) 4WD MZR2.0L
(2000 DOHC)
4-speed EC-AT 2,100,000


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