What Is It?
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 joins a growing list of subcompact crossover SUVs that will be hitting the market within the next year. Details and specifications are light at this point, but from what we have seen so far, the CX-3 is a handsome little SUV with an equally stylish cabin.
What's New About This Model?
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is an all-new subcompact crossover SUV.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Mazda says the CX-3 will go on sale in the summer of 2015 in the U.S. Sales in other markets around the world start in the spring.
How Big Is It?
The CX-3 is 11 inches shorter in length (168.3 inches) compared to its big brother the CX-5. It also rides on a wheelbase that is 5.2 inches shorter (101.2 inches) than the CX-5. This should result in less cargo space and most likely less rear-seat legroom as well, but interior dimensions were not released. It is similarly sized to most subcompact competitors.
What Is the Interior Like?
The CX-3 presents an evolution of the stylishly subdued cabin found in the Mazda 3, and bears a certain resemblance to Audi's recent interior design (see the A3 and next-generation TT). In both cases, that's high praise. The CX-3 moves beyond the Mazda 3, at least in the upper trim level shown in photos, with stitched and padded leather-like vinyl applied to the dash, doors and center console where your leg rests. Contrasting tones of red, white and black provide a shot of color and pizzazz that is a welcome change from the rather drab and monochromatic cabins in Mazda's CX-5 and 6 family sedan.
The uncluttered cabin design can be credited to Mazda's Human-Machine Interface (HMI) that has so impressed us in our long-term Mazda 3. Combining a high-mounted touchscreen and a multipurpose controller, it essentially blends the two most popular types of electronics interfaces into one, allowing the user to achieve their electronics-related task the way they'd prefer. The CX-3 will also be available with Bluetooth connectivity and the Mazda Connect smartphone integration technology that includes Aha Internet radio control and text message reception.
What Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
The CX-3 will feature Mazda's 2.0-liter "Skyactiv-G" four-cylinder engine. Again, exact specifications were not released, but this engine in the CX-5 and Mazda 3 produces 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. If this is what the CX-3 produces, then it would be more than many competitors. Plus, one would assume that it would return better mileage than the heavier CX-5, which is rated at 29 mpg combined.
A six-speed automatic will be the only transmission available. Front-wheel drive is standard and a new generation of Mazda's all-wheel-drive system will be optional.
Other markets will have the option of Mazda's Skyactiv-D diesel four-cylinder, but it won't be making it to the United States.
How Much Does It Cost?
Pricing was not announced, but expect a base price of just under $20,000, with loaded versions coming in around $30,000.
What Competing Models Should You Also Consider?
Chevrolet Trax: Chevy's Korean-made subcompact crossover doesn't offer the styling verve of the CX-3, and likely won't match its driving dynamics either. Its cabin quality and features availability should be similar, though. It goes on sale early next year.
Honda HR-V: Another all-new subcompact SUV, the HR-V looks like the CX-3's biggest competitor. Blessed with generous passenger and cargo space, it is likely to be the most practical member of this growing segment.
Nissan Juke: Those interested in the CX-3's sporting credentials may also want to consider the Juke due to its responsive handling and powerful turbocharged engine. It definitely puts more of an emphasis on "sport" than "utility."
Should You Wait for It?
If you've had your eye on the Mazda CX-5 but felt it was needlessly large for your lifestyle or too expensive for your checking account, the CX-3 should be the perfect alternative. It can also be considered a high-riding alternative to the excellent Mazda 3. In general, however, if such a subcompact SUV sounds like your type of future transport, waiting is an absolute must, as most members of this fledgling class are still months away.