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2016 Mazda CX-3 First Look

When the CX-5 is a Tad Too Big

Erick Ayapana
Nov 18, 2014
The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show ushers in a refreshed and growing Mazda lineup. One of those new models is the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3, yet another entrant in the exploding subcompact crossover segment that already includes the Nissan Juke and the recently announced Honda HR-V. The 2016 CX-3, which slots below the CX-5, is based on the new Mazda2 unveiled earlier this year in Japan.
Mazda initially said the CX-3 would be powered by either a 1.5- or 2.0-liter inline-four, depending on the market. The 2.0-liter has been confirmed for the U.S.-spec model, but power figures have yet to be announced. Expect about the same output as the Mazda3's mill, which is rated at 155 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. That 1.5-liter engine, by the way, is the new Skyactiv-D diesel engine that will make its debut in the Mazda2. Don't expect that mill to make it to the U.S. anytime soon (if ever), especially given the fact that Mazda is still hard at work tuning the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D (for the Mazda6 midsize sedan) to meet U.S. performance demands.
Photo 2/52   |   2016 Mazda CX 3 Front Three Quarter
Photo 9/52   |   2016 Mazda CX 3 Front Three Quarters
That said, CX-3's 2.0-liter will be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It's unclear if a manual gearbox will be available, as well. Front-drive is standard, and an all-wheel-drive system with active torque control is available. If the CX-3 handles anything like the CX-5, then it should be fun to drive.
From the photos, the CX-3 looks like a puffed-up 2016 Mazda2. Both share a 101.2-inch wheelbase, but the CX-3 is longer and wider with an overall length and width at 168.3 and 69.5 inches, respectively. That makes the CX-3 pretty much identical in size with the Chevrolet Trax and Mini Countryman, but it's slightly larger than the Nissan Juke.
Styling cues also mimic the Mazda2, with plenty of Kodo-fied touches. The front clip sports the familiar wing-shaped chrome trim that defines the lower edge of the grille and blends nicely into the headlights. Like the Mazda2, the CX-3's profile features dramatic lines, including one that rises at the front fender and sharply drops and disappears at the rear door. Black cladding adds contrast and is used on the wheel wells and rocker panel, which also gets chrome-like trim. The tiny rear-quarter window emphasizes the CX-3's diminutive size, and the rear end is fairly sharp, with angular taillights, a subtle spoiler, and dual exhaust tips at the outer edges of the lower bumper.
Photo 10/52   |   2016 Mazda CX 3 Air Vent
The interior is also handsome. The design and layout are similar to the Mazda 2 and even the Mazda 3, with an instrument panel dominated by a center-mounted tachometer. The overall layout is ergonomically simple, but there are a few premium touches and features available. The passenger-side dashboard, for example, is trimmed with soft-touch material, and perforated leather and Lux Suede is available. The latter is used as seat inserts and trim for the door panels. Mazda also boasts about the metal-like trim pieces on the door accents, air-vent surrounds, and dash trim.
Mazda isn't skimping on technology, either. Aside from the usual suspects like Bluetooth and navigation, the CX-3 will be available with a head-up display. It's similar to the one found in the Mazda3, with a motorized reflective panel that pops up from the instrument panel hood. The CX-3 will also be available with Mazda's i-Activesense package of safety technology, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure monitoring, and forward collision warning.
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 will go on sale in Japan in spring 2015. Expect more details, pricing, and U.S. launch date following the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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