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Mazda Enters the Growing Compact SUV Segment with All-New 2016 CX-3

Mazda Enters the Growing Compact SUV Segment with All-New 2016 CX-3

By Jeff Youngs,

Not long ago, full-size body-on-frame SUVs were all the rage, offering room for 3 rows of passengers, social status, and substantial capabilities that were seldom, if ever, put to the test. Today, models like the Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition still have their place, but the spotlight now shines on a burgeoning class of compact unibody crossovers, one of which is the new 2016 Mazda CX-3.

As its name suggests, the CX-3 slots in beneath the CX-5 in Mazda's lineup and, compared with its relatively big brother, is 10 in. shorter in length, 3 in. narrower, and rides on a wheelbase that's about 5 in. shorter. Maximum cargo volume for the CX-5 is 64.8 cu. ft., so expect less from the CX-3. That may also be the case under the hood; Mazda has announced that the 2016 CX-3 will utilize the same 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine employed by the CX-5, though whether or not it will deliver the same 155 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque has yet to be divulged. We do know that a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive will be standard, with a newly developed all-wheel-drive system available as an option. Most other mechanical bits mirror those of the CX-5; however, the CX-3 features a torsion-beam rear suspension in lieu of the CX-5's independent multi-link setup.

During the official debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, a great deal of emphasis was placed on the 2016 CX-3's design language, which Mazda refers to as Kodo. Other details were much harder to come by, including trim levels and standard features, exact specifications, and pricing, all of which should become widely known before the crossover goes on sale in mid 2015. That said, a few tidbits of information were released, including mention of a Ceramic Metallic paint color that changes color under certain lighting conditions, unique 18-in. alloy wheels, use of soft-touch interior materials, and the option of having seats wrapped in leather and suede upholstery. The Mazda Connect infotainment system will also be on the menu, providing Bluetooth connectivity, text-message reader, and Aha Internet radio service.

On the safety front, Mazda reported that the new CX-3 will be available with the company's i-Activesense suite of technologies, which include intelligent cruise control, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, blind-spot monitoring system, rearview camera, and adaptive headlights.

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