Known in the press as the CX-3, the new crossover has been the subject of speculation for some time, with reports pointing to a 2015 or 2016 debut.
Speaking with TMR this week, Mazda Australia boss Martin Benders said that compact SUVs are a compelling segment for the company.
“There’s opportunity there [in the compact SUV segment], absolutely. We’ve made it clear that it’s an area we’d like to be represented in.”
A small CX-3 model could provide Mazda with a significant boost, with sales in the segment passing 50,000 year-to-date - compared to 42,958 for the same period in 2013.
Responding to speculation that such a model could still be some time away, Mr Benders added, “Oh, it’s not that far away”.
But, while this latest rendering (top of article) points to a ‘jacked up’ version of the Mazda2’s design, the CX-3 would likely share the styling themes of the midsized CX-5.
The usual rugged-look tricks should feature, including the unpainted grey plastic guards shown here (but expect them to extend over the wheel arches).
As with the new 2, the CX-3’s development focus will be on lightweight materials and efficient powertrains to battle the ultra-low fuel figures of the latest models in the light-car market.
Expect Mazda’s new 77kW/250Nm 1.5 litre diesel engine to feature, mated to six-speed manual and automatic transmissions - just as it will in the new Mazda2.
Watch for whispers of the CX-3 to become reality in 2015.
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