Sometimes, automakers are fine with their mules coming under the watchful lenses of spy shooters. Proof of this can be seen plastered across the bodysides of the Mazda3 mule you see above. Clearly, Mazda wants the world to know that engineers are working hard on the company's so-called Skyactiv-X engine technology so badly that it's created a custom matte black vinyl wrap for its test mules. Clever.
Expect to see this sweet new engine tech in the 2019 Mazda3. This SCCI, or Spark Controlled Compression Ignition system holds tremendous potential to boost the efficiency of gasoline-powered engines by 20-30 percent, thereby matching the fuel economy of a comparatively sized diesel engine. As an added bonus, torque figures are expected to jump a similar amount.
Besides the placard-sized stickers, there isn't much to see here. The car is clearly a Mazda3 hatchback, though the fenders are punched out a bit and the fuel door is modified from stock. We'd wager that future prototypes will wear a lot more camouflage to cover up next-gen bodywork. In other words, stay tuned.