New Mazda CX-3: Compact AWD With Diesel Option, Unveiled For LA Auto Show Photo:
Tim O'Brien | Nov, 19 2014 | 20 Comments

The covers have come off the all-new Mazda CX-3 at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

This unveiling heralds one of the most important releases of the next decade for Mazda. With this car, it leaps boots-first into the compact SUV category, the fastest growing market segment in Australia, and likely to become one of the most important.

‘Important’, because it will give Mazda yet another card in the deck to entice younger buyers into Mazda showrooms with a fresh new entry point to the brand.

Important also because the Mazda2 - while a very strong seller, and certainly one of the best light cars in the segment - has not done so well with younger males.

The CX-3 can change all that. We’ve not yet seen it here ‘in the metal’ (that’s for tomorrow), but for specs and features it is certainly well-endowed.

And when is it coming to Australia? Mazda told TMR today that we can expect to see it in Q2 2015 - that means before May next year (with Japanese sales beginning earlier that quarter).

Australian cars will all be sourced from Japan, Mazda Australia’s Alistair Doak confirmed.

Its classic cab-back sporty lines, large diameter tyres and optional 18-inch aluminium wheels (with gunmetal grey spokes, will ensure it looks the part.


Technical and style features

Engines: There are two engines on offer, both of which promise lusty performance in the compact CX-3.

A win for buyers is a diesel, the SkyActiv-D 1.5-litre diesel.

Also on offer, and certain to give this small SUV something approaching ‘warm hatch’ performance, is the SkyActiv 2.0 petrol. (Engine availability to depend on the market.)

Each is mated to Mazda’s new-gen AWD system. It is uncertain, but we may discover in the next hours, whether there will be a 2WD version on offer. It is very likely, given the strong 2WD sales in this segment.

There are however both six-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions are available.

There is a new-gen AWD system employing an active torque control coupling, with, Mazda claims, “a world’s first front-wheel slip warning detection system, which employs sensor signals to accurately monitor the driver’s intentions and constantly changing driving conditions.”

At the rear is a compact and lightweight power take-off and rear differential unit.

Does it all work as it should? We don’t know yet, but Mazda claims, ”…the CX-3 development team focused on delivering a car that handled beautifully on city streets, highways and gently curving rural roads.”

Interior: The new CX-3 will offer a wide range of Mazda’s latest technologies, including the MZD Connect car connectivity system and i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety.

MZD Connect, utilising Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free phone operation, reception of short text messages, and internet radio (including Aha by HARMAN) makes it safer and easier to take advantage of functions such as internet connectivity and

The interior layout of controls, seven-inch screen display, commander control and instruments, is based on Mazda’s “heads-up cockpit” concept.

The driver’s eye-point is set at 1250mm, giving a wide field of view that is also helped by mounting the wing-mirrors on the body-panels.

The view out the rear is also assisted by the positioning of the c-pillars and rear belt-line.

The instrument binnacle features a stitched look, there are dark red accents throughout and piping on the seat trims where colour co-ordinated materials meet.

The seven-barred front grille is rimmed in Mazda’s now traditional ‘wing’ - the chromed element that runs from the headlights, under the grille

The headlamp layout puts the turn signals outside the main headlamp unit to create a narrower ‘squint’ at the front end.

Other Kodo style features include blacked-out D-pillars, a classic cab-back design and ‘heavier’ rear quarter styling.

The rear seats are positioned closer to the centre of the cabin than the front seats, making it easier to see out, and the hip-point is set taller than on the front seats. (Something younger passengers will enjoy.)

Seatbacks and seat cushions, as well as the shape and firmness of the seats, have been redesigned with vibration-absorbing urethane for more comfort and to hold better.

For improved quietness on-road, there is an extensive use of high-tensile steel and optimised cross-section shapes.

CX-3 Model-Range Specifications
(this may vary for Australian models)

Seating capacity: 5 persons
Overall length* x width x height: 4,275 X 1,765 X 1,550 mm
Wheelbase: 2,570 mm
Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.0 direct-injection petrol engine
Engine: SKYACTIV-D 1.5 Clean diesel engine
Transmissions: SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission; six-speed automatic
Front suspension: MacPherson struts
Rear suspension: Torsion beam axle
Steering: Rack & pinion
Brakes (front/rear): ventilated discs / solid discs
Tyres 215/50R18

MORE: Mazda CX-3 News | CX-5 | Mazda2
MORE: Compact SUVs

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