LA show: 2015 Mazda CX-3 revealed

MAZDA has revealed its new five-door CX-3, which it hopes will change the booming compact SUV segment when it goes on sale in Australia around April 2015 against the likes of the Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax and Skoda Yeti.

Sharing its underpinnings with the Mazda 2 – including a 2570mm wheelbase, independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear-end – the higher riding SUV body promises more interior space and a bolder look than the city car on which it is based.

At 4275mm long and 1765mm wide, the Mazda CX-3 is bigger than the 2 (3900mm/1695mm) but shorter and narrower than the 3 (4460mm/1795mm for the hatch).

Key to the CX-3’s appeal is a higher riding body, which gives seats a higher hip point and occupants a better view across traffic.

At 1550mm high it’s taller than the 2 (1475mm) and 3 (1455mm), but lower than the CX-5 (1710mm).

It will be offered with either a 1.5-litre turbo diesel or the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol used in the 3.

Mazda is not confirming outputs of the engines yet, but they will be very close to the 77kW/250Nm for the 1.5 diesel available overseas and 114kW/200Nm for the 2.0 petrol.

Mazda is also expecting to cover a broad price scale with the CX-3 by offering the two engines in a manual or auto and various grades with two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options.

Expect pricing to range from about $22,000 to more than $30,000.

Lower-grade CX-3s will run on 16-inch wheels while more expensive versions get 18-inch alloys.

The CX-3 picks up the latest Kodo design theme employed on other Mazdas with a bold five-point grille surrounded by a metal-look finish that flows into distinctive headlights that include an “LED illumination line”. There are also bold wheel arches.

The interior, too, is in keeping with the theme first revealed in the 3 and also used in the 2 – and expected to be adapted to soon-to-be-updated versions of the 6 mid-sizer and CX-5 mid-size SUV. That includes the MZD Connect system that uses a central control knob.

Safety is taken care of with curtain airbags, while Mazda’s i-Activsense safety system will be offered on some models; it has features such as autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.

There’s also a new “Ceramic Metallic” colour designed to look like “a finely honed metallic surface” that changes in different light.

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