THE MAZDA CX-3 will be shown at the 2014 Los Angeles motor show and will pose a genuine threat to the Holden Trax and the Nissan Juke. Despite the name, the CX-3 is not based on the Mazda 3 but instead rides on the same underpinnings as the new Mazda 2 hatch that arrives in Australian showrooms this November.
Sitting below the soon to be facelifted CX-5 in the Mazda line-up, the 4.25m-long crossover will use the same 1.5-litre SkyActiv four-cylinder engine as the diminutive 2 hatch for front-wheel drive models, albeit mounted longitudinally, with a larger 2.0-litre four-cylinder delivering more grunt for higher-spec all-wheel drive versions. That also means a choice of six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with shift-paddles to choose from.
The CX-3 will have same 2750mm wheelbase as the new Mazda 2, which only has a 220-litre boot, but it’s likely that Mazda will have repackaged the rear of the CX-3 for maximum space and versatility. Rivals such as the Holden Trax boast a 356-litre boot, while the updated Nissan Juke has addressed poor packaging issues to liberate 103 litres of space for a 354-litre cargo bay. Saving space (and cost) for the Mazda will be a torsion-beam rear-end, with McPherson-type struts up front.
For the new Mazda, there will also be a full suite of safety and infotainment in the cabin, which if the Mazda 2 is anything to go by, should be plush for its class and well-executed, with a tablet-style touchscreen and safety gear offered including radar-cruise, lane change assist, blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.
Mazda Australia expects the CX-3 to outsell the 2, with it potentially being the brand’s second-best seller behind the 3 – the best-selling car in Australia for 2012, runner-up in 2013 and currently locked in a tussle with the Toyota Corolla for the Number One position this year.
The Mazda CX-3 should be in showrooms in late 2015, priced from around $21K.