8 January 2015
Dave Moore | Stuff Motoring
Mazda has followed up on the success of its award-winning CX-5 C-segment SUV by entering a new model in the compact crossover SUV area, one of the fastest-growing vehicle segments in the current automotive market.
One of the big surprises with the new Mazda CX-3 is the presence of a new SkyActiv D diesel engine to accompany the expected 2.0-litre SkyActiv G petrol units.
The new diesel engine, which will also be used by the Mazda3 and Mazda2 models on some markets will be of 1.5-litres capacity and this makes the CX-5 unique among Japanese offerings in the compact SUV segment in offering both petrol and diesel powertrain choices.
Its biggest competitors in the New Zealand market, from Ford, Holden, Citroen and Peugeot, offer petrol-only, with just Kia and Hyundai listing diesel/petrol alternatives on their vehicle manifests.
Also, by offering the new CX-3 with what its maker calls its "new-generation AWD system" as well as front-drive, Mazda has another point of difference, especially when compared to the Ford EcoSport and Holden Trax as well as the French competitors, as these are strictly front-drive only prospects on our market.
The all-new crossover SUV is the fifth model in Mazda's line-up of new-generation vehicles to feature the full suite of the company's award-winning SkyActiv technology along with the latest take on the Mazda's established Kodo - Soul of Motion design language. With the global market launch set for Japan in northern hemisphere spring next year, the CX-3 is set to become a core member of Mazda's model line-up.
European models and CX-3s for other export markets will have a choice of three engines: two versions of the petrol SkyActiv-G 2.0-litre unit, already found in the CX-5, Mzda3 and Mazda6 models, but with two power variantions, and a new clean SkyActiv-D 1.5-litre turbodiesel. The rest of the new model's powertrains will see six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic and SkyActiv-MT manual transmissions offered with either in front-wheel drive format or with Mazda's new-generation all-wheel drive system.
The Mazda CX-3 will also feature Mazda's latest i-ActivSense active safety systems as well as advanced passive protection from its stiff, but lightweight SkyActiv-Body. Suited to the needs of a modern market, it also offers a generous infotainment package including the MZD Connect in-car connectivity system instroduced this year on the Mazda3.