Mazda zoom zooms into tiny CUVs with CX-3
LOS ANGELES -- Mazda Motor Corp. has a new baby in the family.
The independent Japanese automaker on Tuesday formally introduced the CX-3 crossover ahead of its official unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
With the CX-3, which stands 4 inches taller than a Mazda3 compact five-door from road to roof but 7 inches shorter from bumper to bumper, Mazda is joining the growing list of automakers offering off-road looks and premium content in a package that was once considered too small for anything but economy cars.
Mazda said that it plans to launch the CX-3 next spring and sees the crossover becoming a new core model in its worldwide lineup.
â€œThe CX-3 is a global car,“ Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai told Automotive News this month. â€œWe have lots of owners of Mazda2 compacts. And as the lifestyles of those owners change, with growing families and such, the CX-3 will be a good replacement.“
Though it is based on the new Mazda2 subcompact, assembled in Japan, Thailand and Mexico, Kogai said the CX-3 will be manufactured only in Hiroshima, Japan.
Using Mazda”s Kodo design language, the CX-3 takes many of its cues from the Mazda3 and Mazda6, including a shield-shaped grille flanked by chrome wings with lines that extend into the headlights. But it conveys its status as a crossover with a larger air intake beneath the grille, angular housings for the fog lights and black plastic wheel arches that transition into the rear bumper.
The most daring design element may be the blacked-out glass and sheet metal around the rear window, quarter windows and D-pillar. This look, also featured in the redesigned 2015 Nissan Murano crossover, gives the illusion of a â€œfloating“ roof.
Mazda said it will launch the CX-3 in the United States with a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter Skyactiv gasoline engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. In the Mazda3 and CX-5 compact crossover, the engine puts out 155 hp and 150 pounds-feet of torque.
The all-wheel-drive system from the CX-5 will be available as an option.
The CX-3 also gets the Mazda Connect infotainment system from the Mazda3, which is being added to the refreshed CX-5 and Mazda6 midsize sedan for the 2016 model year.
The car will be slotted into the lineup beneath the CX-5, which starts at $22,375, including shipping. Pricing and options for the CX-3 have not been announced.
At 168.3 inches long, 67.5 inches wide and 61 inches high, the CX-3 stands 6 inches shorter than a CX-5, giving up 11 inches in length and 4 inches in width.
Mazda hopes that the CX-3 will grab a share of a growing market for tiny crossovers in Europe, where it will go up against the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Dacia Duster, and in the United States, where the main rivals will include the Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore.
You can reach Gabe Nelson at [email protected]
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