Although Mazda is well known for their Wankel "rotary" engines, the company has been manufacturing piston engines since the earliest years of the Toyo Kogyo company. Early on, they produced overhead camshaft, aluminum blocks, and an innovative block containing both the engine and transmission in one unit. This section summarizes piston engine developments. Note that only Mazda's V-twin, Inline-4, and V6 configurations have made it to market. The company has engineered and completed a W12 engine by 1990 for use in their proposed Amati luxury car brand. Due to financial hardships during that time, the luxury brand was abandoned as well as those two engines.
Like several other Japanese makers, Mazda produced V-twin engines for their three-wheeled delivery vehicles of the 1950s. These were also used in some of the tiny keicars of the 1960s. These were essentially motorcycle engines, and were largely superseded by water-cooled straight-4 engines in a few years, except for in the Mazda R360 which remained in production until 1969 especially for the handicapped.
Mazda's strength since the 1960s has been in its line of Inline-4 engines. Beginning with a tiny 358 cc kei car engine, one of the smallest ever made, Mazda continues to this day to be a leading developer of this type of engine.
- OHV engine - 358 cc–1.2 L OHV I4 (1961–1974)
- xC engine - 1.0 L–1.8 L SOHC I4 (1965–1983)
- E engine - 1.1 L–1.5 L SOHC I4 (1980–1987)
- F engine - 1.6 L–2.2 L SOHC/DOHC I4 (1977–2002)
- RF engine (including MZR-CD) - Diesel - 1983 - 2009
- G engine - 2.5 L–2.6 L I4 (1989–1999)
- B engine - 1.1 L–1.8 L SOHC/DOHC I4 (1985–2005)
- Mazda Z engine (MZR) - 1.3 L–1.6 L DOHC I4 (1995–2011)
- Mazda L engine (MZR) - 1.8 L–2.5 L DOHC I4 (2002–2011)
- Japan Kei car engine - Suzuki I4
- Diesel - 1.4 L–4.6 L I4
- YF - 2.0 L I4 for Mazda Tribute
- SkyActiv-G - 1.3/1.5/2.0 L I4 (2011–present)
- SkyActiv-G - 2.5 L I4 (2013–present)
- SkyActiv-D - Twin Turbo Diesel - 2.2 L I4 (2012–present)
Mazda has created three families of in-house V6 engines. As of 2000, they build and use the Ford Duratec V6 design.
- J engine - 2.0 L–3.0 L 60° V6 (–1995)
- K engine - 1.8 L–2.5 L 60° V6
- Diesel V6 - 4.1 L–5.5 L ZB/ZC V6
- AJ/MZI - 2.5 L and 3.0 L V6 - The Mazda version of the Ford Duratec DOHC V6. The 3.5 L MZI is the Ford Cyclone engine.
Mazda is the only producer of successful Wankel engines, positioning them as a prime sports car powerplant. All of Mazda's Wankels are based on their first design of the 1960s, though there have been significant developments over the four decades. After Mazda RX-8 production ceased in 2013, Mazda has carried on with testing prototypes to re-introduce the rotary as part of the "SkyActiv" lineup, dubbed SkyActiv R, displacing 1600 cc and featuring direct injection, laser ignition and forced induction.
- Wankel family - 1.0 L-2.0 L Wankel (1967–present)