Mazda joins compact SUV market with new CX-3

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Mazda's CX-3 is being launched into a very competitive segment

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Mazda has used the Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil its entry in the ever-growing compact SUV segment. The CX3 slots in below the CX-5 in Mazda's lineup, and will take on Nissan's Juke, Ford's EcoSport and Subaru's XV Crosstrek in the battle for buyers.

The CX-3 features Mazda's KODO design language and will be powered by a range of Skyactiv engines, including the company's new 1.5-liter diesel, which has been designed to minimize losses to friction. It also features a very low compression ratio (14:8:1), and extra work has been done to deal with the cooling losses associated with small engines.

In the new Mazda2, the engine will produce 77 kW (105 hp) at 4,000 rpm and 250 Nm (184 lb.ft) of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm, although Mazda has not revealed how much power it will produce in the CX-3. Whatever power it does make will be channeled through all four wheels. A 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G petrol engine will also be among the range of engines available.

Inside, the Japanese brand's "Mazda Connect" (known as MZD Connect in some parts of the world) will feature, while the new 2's round air vents and horizontal lines are present in the CX-3's interior. The Ford EcoSport's interior doesn't feature nearly the same design flair as the Mazda's, although it is available with the "SYNC AppLink" system, which allows owners to stream media from Spotify, Pandora and MLB At Bat.

Also present in the CX-3 package will be Mazda's i-Activsense safety package, which includes an adaptive front-lighting system, radar cruise control, rear vehicle monitoring, and lane departure and forward obstruction warning systems.

Mazda will roll out the CX-3 globally starting with Japan in spring 2015 with the company saying it will become a core model in its lineup. There's no word on pricing yet, but expect to pay a premium over the similarly sized Mazda2 for the CX-3's raised ride height and all-wheel drive.

Source: Mazda

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