This is in exchange for price hikes of between $200 and $500 across most of the range, which remains one of the widest in its segment by comprising four spec levels, petrol and diesel engines, manual and automatic transmissions, and front- or all-wheel drive.
The key changes are the fitment of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) forward and reverse across the whole range, as well as the adoption of Mazda's now-familiar G-Vectoring system that improves handling by cutting engine torque delivery and changing the weight balance in corners.
The cabin gets a new steering wheel and instruments, and options such as a clearer head-up display, adaptive LED headlights and digital radio. There's also more sound-deadening insulation to improve NVH, new suspension bush design and fine-tuned dampers.
Mazda has not changed the engines, which remain a 109kW/192Nm 2.0 petrol (fuel use 6.1L/100km) and a 77kW/270Nm 1.5 turbo-diesel (4.8L/100km). The CX-3 remains just 4275mm long, still has a tiny 264L boot and offers only 155mm of ground clearance.
Nevertheless, Mazda's smallest crossover has entrenched itself as Australia's top-selling small SUV since its March 2015 launch, with 40,000 sold so far, and a projected monthly average of 1500 units.
Chief rivals are the Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HR-V, Subaru XV, Nissan Qashqai and Juke, Holden Trax, Suzuki Vitara and Toyota C-HR. You could throw base versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Mini Countryman and Audi Q2 into the mix as well. The small SUV market has almost 10 per cent market share.
Across the four grades, Mazda projects 55 per cent of buyers will opt for the second-from-base Maxx, 24 per cent for the second-from-top sTouring, 12 per cent for the Akari flagship and just 9 per cent for the price-leading Neo.
Pictured: CX-3 Akari cabin
Delving further, Mazda expects 84 per cent of buyers will be content with front-wheel drive rather than the $2000 more expensive AWD, that 89 per cent of buyers will pay the extra $2000 for the six-speed auto over the manual, and just 3 per cent will bother with the $2400 pricier diesel.
As with all Mazdas, most pain hues are no extra charge (uncommon in the industry, where metallic and mica paint usually cost more), except for the Soul Red hero colour, which is a modest $300.
Read our 2017 Mazda CX-3 range review from this week's Australian launch here.
Mazda CX-3 pricing (excluding on-road costs) and specifications:
- 2.0 petrol FWD manual - $20,490 (+$500)
- 2.0 petrol FWD auto - $22,490 (+$500)
- Six airbags
- Reversing sensors
- 16-inch steel wheels
- Power windows
- Rear spoiler
- Cloth seats
- Cruise control
- Push-button start
Maxx extras for $2400 premium over Neo
- 2.0 petrol FWD manual - $22,890 (+$500)
- 2.0 petrol FWD auto - $24,890 (+$500)
- 2.0 petrol AWD auto - $26,890 (+$500)
- 1.5 diesel FWD auto - $27,290 (+$500)
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Reversing camera
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Leather wheel and gear shifter
- 7.0-inch screen screen with rotary dial
- Digital radio
sTouring extras for $4100 premium over Maxx
- 2.0 petrol FWD manual - $26,990 (no change)
- 2.0 petrol FWD auto - $28,990 (no change)
- 2.0 petrol AWD auto - $30,990 (no change)
- 1.5 diesel AWD auto - $33,390 (no change)
- 18-inch alloys
- LED headlights and tail-lights, plus DRLs
- Ran-sensing wipers
- Faux leather trim
- Flip-up head-up display
- Climate control
- Driver Attention Alert
- Traffic Sign Recognition
Akari extras for $4500 premium over sTouring
- 2.0 petrol FWD manual - $31,490 (+$200)
- 2.0 petrol FWD auto - $33,490 (+$200)
- 2.0 petrol AWD auto - $35,490 (+$200)
- 1.5 diesel AWD auto - $37,890 (+$200)
- Power/memory seats
- Black or white leather trim with suede inlays
- Adaptive LED headlights
- Lane-departure warning
- Front sensors