The long-awaited Mazda CX-3 has been unveiled ahead of tomorrow’s Los Angles auto show and in the lead up to its anticipated Australian debut in March.
Arriving two and a half years after CarAdvice first revealed plans for the baby SUV in a world exclusive, the CX-3 will sit below the successful mid-sized Mazda CX-5 – which continues as Australia’s best selling SUV – both in terms of size and pricing.
Based on the recently launched Mazda 2 city car, the CX-3 measures 4275mm long, 1765mm wide and sits 1550mm high (with the shark fin antenna). The front overhang measures 910mm while the rear retains the hatch’s stocky proportions with a 795mm overhang.
Its design is what Mazda calls beautiful yet radical. The front wears a seven-fin grille while the headlights have been separated from the indicators for an “eyes gazing forward” look.
Mazda says the CX-3’s overall design was focused on creating a car that looks larger than it really is, something the company’s designers have achieved by blacking out the D-pillars and employing a long nose.
The interior borrows heavily from the Mazda 2, which itself borrows from the Mazda 3, meaning a big focus on bringing down the workload of the driver to take in large amounts of information by a simpler method of information display.
Furthermore, high-end technology is front and centre in the cabin (on the high-spec models), with a head-up display and Mazda’s MZD Connect leading the Japanese pack in infotainment systems.
Mazda has confirmed details of two four-cylinder Skyactiv engines: a 2.0-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel. Both will be available with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
Power and torque figures remain unconfirmed, however a similar 1.5-litre diesel is being used in the Mazda 3 overseas with 77kW and 250Nm.
Although official details are yet to be confirmed for Australian models, we believe both will make it to local showrooms with the petrol models powering the front wheels and the diesels available with all-wheel drive.
Mazda says the AWD variants make use of a newly developed system that is similar in nature to that in the CX-5 (active torque control coupling), but also make use of a “front wheel slip warning detection system” that better understands the driver’s intentions with changing road conditions.
Those variants also get additional sound deadening via reinforcements added to the crossmember that connects the rear frame.
The CX-3 rides on a MacPherson strut front suspension while the rear makes do with a torsion beam axle.
Mazda says the CX-3 makes use of SkyActiv-Chassis technology, which in this case comprises 63 per cent high-tensile steel, of which 29 per cent is ultra-high-tensile steel (780MPa) and four per cent is rated at 1180MPa.
The Japanese company will bring its i-ActiveSense set of active safety features to the CX-3 range.
The Mazda CX-3 will take on the likes of Holden Trax, Peugeot 2008, Ford EcoSport and Suzuki S-Cross and Mazda Australia is anticipating that it will be the third best selling car in its line-up after the Mazda3 and CX-5, which would suggest sales of 1000-2000 per month.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, however the bigger Mazda CX-5 starts in Australia from around $28,000, which would suggest the CX-3 will have a starting price between $20,000 and $25,000.