2016 Mazda CX-3 unveiled ahead of LA Auto Show (pictures)

Subcompact crossovers could be 2015's hottest new segment and Mazda is entering the fray with the new CX-3.


Antuan Goodwin

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2016 Mazda CX-3

At a preview event ahead of the 2014 LA Auto Show, Mazda unveiled the new CX-3 subcompact crossover.

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Enter a new segment

This is a new segment for the Mazda. The CX-3 will find itself going head to head with the likes of the Nissan Juke and the upcoming Honda HR-V.

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Kodo: Soul of Motion

The CX-3's design is evocative of the CX-5 compact crossover, but the automaker points out some new elements of the Kodo design language that debuted on the new MX-5 Roadster.

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Cab rearward design

Mazda points out the CX-3's "cab rearward" design as a similarity with the MX-5 Roadster. The CX-3's windscreen sits back from the low and elongated hood.

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Visual weight

The crossover's visual weight is biased toward the rear, where the wheels are pushed toward the rear bumper. Strong rear wheel arches "propel the vehicle forward" in Mazda's words.

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Front wheel drive

Despite what the visuals say, the CX-3 will no doubt be a front-wheel driver. Mazda did mention that a new generation of its all-wheel drive system will be available.

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Twist transition

Like the CX-5, the Mazda CX-3 features a central "twist transition" intersection of its front and rear character lines at the midpoint of the design.

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Athletic, graceful

Mazda wanted the CX-3's design to be "athletic, graceful, and energetic." We wonder how much of Mazda's Zoom-Zoom makes its way into the crossover's performance.

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Model overlap

Under the hood, expect the North American Mazda CX-3 to be powered by the automaker's 2.0-liter Skyactiv G engine.

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Subcompact crossover

Between the Nissan Juke, the Honda HR-V, the Jeep Renegade, and now the Mazda CX-3, the compact crossover is about to become a hotly contested segment.

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The rear end reminds me of the Mazda3 hatchback, but more upright. The CX-3 has a slightly higher ride height and, presumably, a bit more hatch space. Interestingly, the CX-3 is shorter from nose-to-tail than the Mazda3.

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Rear spoiler

A black d-pillar creates the illusion of a floating roof. Meanwhile, an integrated spoiler punctuates the tail.

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Interior design

The CX-3's interior fits right in with the rest of the automaker's lineup and features tech and amenities familiar to the brand.

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Safety tech

Sensors and cameras at the top of the windshield indicates that the CX-3 will be available with the automaker's i-ActiveSense safety technologies. This means lane departure alert, forward collision alert, adaptive cruise control, and active high beam headlamps.

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7-inch touchscreen

The Mazda Connect infotainment system should use a combination of a 7-inch touchscreen atop the dashboard and a physical controller on the center console.

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Physical controls

The physical infotainment controls are an evolution of what we've seen on the road in the latest Mazda3 and previewed in the new MX-5 Roadster.

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Skyactiv D

The white example was a right-hand drive model and was equipped with a Skyactiv D engine, so at the very least we'll see a diesel powered model in the European market.

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Transmission options

An automatic transmission will be standard for the North American CX-3, but the European diesel model appears to be available with a manual gearbox.

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