Mazda Reveals All-New CX-3, Updated CX-5 in Los Angeles
CUVs Bring Zoom-Zoom to Auto Show
As expected, Mazda unveiled its all-new 2016 CX-3 compact crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show, releasing photos and specifications of the cute ute yesterday. Also bowing in Los Angeles is the updated 2016 CX-5, which saw its first major refresh since the model came on the market for 2013.
The CX-3, which will go on sale sometime in 2015, is based on the automaker’s smallest offering, the subcompact Mazda2. Designed to do battle with the likes of the Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax, the CX-3 should bring a dose of driving fun to the compact crossover segment, which starts with the crossover’s expressive styling.
The CX-3 is the latest beneficiary to Mazda’s “Kodo” design language, and it looks great. The angular front headlights align neatly with the seven horizontal grille bars, giving the front end a technical, serious look. Strong front and rear fender lines intersect on the bodysides, and the hood contours lead into the A-pillar, so the side view is undoubtedly interesting. While the overall shape and some details look very similar to the CX-5, Mazda has given the CX-3 its own character, with unique surface sculpting and a semi-floating roof panel.
In the United States, the crossover will be equipped with Mazda’s 2.0L “SKYACTIV-G” I-4 engine, which also powers the Mazda3 and Mazda CX-5. In those applications, the four-banger makes 155 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque, which should be more than enough for the CX-3’s slight dimensions. The CX-3 will come standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which is surprising given the car’s expected low price. Mazda’s new-generation all-wheel drive system will also make an appearance on the CX-3 as an option. Mazda promises excellent fuel economy from its SKYACTIV suite of technology, including lower-friction powertrain components and weight-saving measures throughout the vehicle.
Unfortunately for diesel fans, the overseas-market SKYACTIV-D 1.5L oil burner has not been confirmed for the U.S. market, and our foreign friends will also have the option to row their own gears, while we get stuck with an admittedly very good automatic transmission.
The CX-3 will be available with features that were inconceivable in luxury cars a decade ago. The intuitive and functional Mazda Connect infotainment system makes an appearance in the modern, clean interior, as does the i-ACTIVESENSE collision warning system and “human-machine interface” heads-up display. We have no doubt that if your pockets are deep enough, you should be able to option the CX-3 with just about any feature available in other Mazda models.
The compact CX-3 isn’t the only Mazda getting some love at the LA Auto Show. The company will also bring a refreshed Mazda6 and the all-new MX-5 Miata to the City of Angels, in addition to the CX-3’s big brother, the updated CX-5.
The fun-to-drive CX-5 will see its first midcycle refresh for 2016, and the changes are somewhat predictable. An updated front and rear fascia, which still borrows heavily from Kodo, brings the CX-5’s face in line with more recent Mazda vehicles. Horizontal chrome bars now bisect the grille, while updated wheels and an optional LED rear lighting signature give the CX-5 a more modern (if somewhat fussy) appearance.
The company’s i-ACTIVESENSE shows up in the updated CX-5 as well, with features like radar-based cruise control and “smart” braking, which will actively slow the vehicle if a collision is detected to avoid or mitigate the effects of an accident. Blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic detection further help the CX-5’s driver avoid crashes.
Mercifully, Mazda will continue to offer the 2016 CX-5 with a six-speed manual transmission, although a six-speed automatic is available as well, and engine choices are the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L and 2.5L inline-fours. Fuel economy should be as good or better as it is in the 2015 CX-5.
While neither the CX-3 nor the CX-5 are ideal for towing, off-roading, or other extreme duties associated with SUVs, they nonetheless should offer a fun on-road driving experience and excellent efficiency at a reasonable price. Mazda seems to have really hit its stride with its recent slate of cars and crossovers, and we’ll look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it’s available.